The state of our province is dependent on the well-being of our people, the health of our communities and the integrity of our environment, says Green Party leader David Coon, the MLA for Fredericton-South. According to Coon, the Premier’s State of the Province address must speak to how he intends to help New Brunswickers get through the pandemic, while confronting inequality and the degradation of our environment.
“It is imperative that people have access to paid sick leave and lodgings for self-isolation in order to follow public health rules,” said the Green Party leader. “And rent increases must be capped so people don’t find themselves forced to hunt for a new apartment in a tight rental market during the pandemic.”
Coon says the lack of targeted support for those small businesses hit the hardest by the pandemic, such as restaurants and bars, is causing their owners to fear they won’t survive to see the other side, while the care sector is struggling to recruit workers when the pay is poor and the working conditions are atrocious.
“The Atlantic bubble reminded us that we are a unique region with common problems that would be best addressed cooperatively, such as transitioning to renewable energy, providing for public transportation, creating a local food supply, and implementing a basic income guarantee,” said Coon. “However, when we look to Nova Scotia and PEI, we see how far New Brunswick has to go to stop the degradation of its environment from the destruction of forest and freshwater habitats to persistent plastic pollution.”
The Green Party leader says the province cannot truly progress until systemic racism is stamped out and a respectful relationship is forged with the First Nations. “It is my sincere hope that in his State of the Province address, the Premier tells us how he intends to end racial injustice and seek reconciliation with the indigenous peoples,” said Coon.