Local governance reform creates new opportunities for local autonomy

FREDERICTON – Green Caucus Local Government critic and MLA for Kent North Kevin Arseneau says that Minister Allain’s local governance reform brings about a much-needed change of providing all New Brunswickers with elected local officials. 

“As Greens, we have been saying for years that democratic reform is necessary,” said Arseneau. “All New Brunswickers should have elected local governments so that more decisions can be made at the community level while maintaining our rural identity in rural communities.”

However, Arseneau says that this must just be the first step in a longer process to empower communities with greater resources and the citizens that live in them with access to more participatory democracy, such as citizen assemblies to tackle the great issues of our time like climate change and local development.

“We need to move to a renewed democracy that is closer to the people and their communities,” said Arseneau. “The necessary resources must follow the responsibilities and aspirations of our local communities.”

Arseneau added that communities must be empowered to take on regional economic development.

“This is a great opportunity to develop locally-led renewable electricity projects, community woodlots and pastures,” said Arseneau. “To enable this, the government must put in place a structure to enable a nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations and other communities across the province.”