Dear Members and Supporters:
I hope that this letter finds you, your family, and friends healthy and safe.
These are trying times, and there will be more to endure before we get to the other side of this pandemic. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must build dikes of courage to hold back floods of fear.”
This we know how to do. We’ve done it before, and we are doing exactly that now, whether you are sheltering at home, working at a check-out, driving truck or caring for the sick and vulnerable.
The fact virus has forced us to physically withdraw from community, makes this particularly challenging. It is so very hard not to get together with family, friends and neighbours in our kitchens, on our decks, or around the BBQ. It is part of what makes us who we are, but we cannot socialize in this way.
Passover, Easter and Ramadan are almost upon us. These are very special occasions for gathering with our extended families and members of our faith communities, but we must not gather together this year.
The intruder among us can only replicate itself, if it finds a host to do so. That’s you and me. It’s why we must stay apart for now, but this will not last.
It has become clear that the corona virus can be carried by people who have no visible symptoms, turning apparently healthy people unwittingly into trojan horses for the virus, enabling it to replicate and spread in close contact situations. Staying home and physical distancing denies the virus a host, and curtails its spread.
Washing our hands with soap and water after touching surfaces where the virus may have landed also halts its spread. Soap suds are like kryptonite to the corona virus. They literally dissolve its protective fat layer, destroying it.
Since Friday the 13th last month, I have been serving a member of the cabinet committee on COVID-19, along with the leaders of the other opposition parties, the Premier, and key members of the provincial cabinet. This is unprecedented in New Brunswick’s political history, and has meant adjusting the way I work as Green Party leader.
In order to effectively fight this virus, I agreed, along with the other two opposition leaders, to join the cabinet committee, and work with the Premier, ministers and senior public servants during this health crisis.
I want to assure you that I continually bring forward initiatives, which are implemented. I raise pressing issues, brought to me by others, that are addressed. I probe and poke at proposals that come forward to test their effectiveness and to expose unintended consequences.
Our caucus meets daily, to review concerns identified in their ridings, to discuss the adequacy of the government’s handling of the crisis, and to look at issues I need to raise at the cabinet committee.
Not all my work on this crisis takes place at the cabinet committee. Between committee meetings, I am regularly in touch with cabinet ministers, senior public servants, and the Premier to move important issues forward.
It is unprecedented and unforeseen, that I would ever be working inside a committee of cabinet, unless we elected sufficient Green MLAs to form government. However, at this moment in our history, as a party, and as a Province, it is where I can make the greatest contribution to safeguarding the well-being of all our people during this crisis. And as Greens, it is the well-being of people, and the communities to which we belong, that is at the heart of everything we do.
Stay safe. Stay strong. Reach out to me whenever you feel the need.
In solidarity with you and all those you love.
Green Party Leader