Scroll through and click on the links below to view the most recent media relating to Megan's campaign and the Green Party of New Brunswick.
September 22, 2014
Party Leader congratulates all candidates and volunteers -- says it's beautiful to see democracy in action
On the eve of New Brunswick's general election, Green Party Leader David Coon released the following statement thanking and congratulating all candidates and campaign workers of all political stripes:
I appreciate the tremendous effort that everyone provided to all of the party campaigns, and I want to give an extra 'shout out' to all the candidates and their families.
We can sit back and wonder about the marvel of democracy, and be so thankful that we live in a democratic country as great as Canada. It's times like these when, for a short few weeks, we can see the democratic process in action - through the efforts of our citizens, our candidates and our hundreds and hundreds of volunteers.
Here in Fredericton South, I want to thank all the candidates. We had some feisty debates, and some fun moments together. That so many citizens are participating in tomorrow's election is such a beautiful, positive reflection of our healthy democracy,"
September 21, 2014
David Coon marches in support of climate justice
Green Party Leader David Coon said jobs can be created immediately if the party's plan for fighting climate change is adopted. He made the remarks in a speech to the People's Climate March here today.
"None of the other parties have addressed action on climate change directly in their platforms." Coon said. "We are the only party that proposes to create jobs by offering practical solutions that will immediately create green jobs and investment opportunities for New Brunswickers."
A Green government would focus on helping landowners and businesses upgrade their homes and buildings so they can slash their heating costs and save money. The Green Party leader said this would cut New Brunswick's carbon footprint unlike shale gas extracting.
The Fredericton march, organized by the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, was part of a mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people around the world who gathered in a show of support for climate justice.
September 19, 2014
First Nations Relations
Green Party Leader David Coon stood today on unceded land of the Maliseet, on the banks of the St. John River in Fredericton, to recognize and renew the Treaty Relationships of Peace and Friendship with the Native Peoples in New Brunswick.
"As I stand here beside the Wulustuk River on the traditional land of the Maliseet, I commit our Green Government to legislate the duty to consult with First Nations in compliance with Supreme Court decisions, and to establish the mechanisms for full, free and prior consent in resource development," Coon said. "We will renew the trust and sharing agreements which marked the original intent of the Treaties."
He said that would be just one part of the party's plan to make things right with First Nations by respecting the treaties with the Wabanaki Peoples, which include the Passamaquoddy, the Wolastoqiyik and the Mi'kmaq, as the legal basis for the relationship between the Province of New Brunswick and Native peoples.
Coon also indicated that a Green Cabinet would serve as an ally to the province's First Nations in the dealings with Ottawa.
First and foremost among those dealings, he emphasized the importance of supporting Native language programs by pressuring the federal government to finance native language immersion education in the schools.
Furthermore, a Green government would launch a public education program to build awareness of our historic and current treaty relationship with First Nations. It would establish citizen assemblies where aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in New Brunswick could work together to make recommendations on how our Peace and Friendship Treaties should be respected by our province.
He also spoke of the need for the aboriginal and non-aboriginal people to work together to protect the environment.
"Water is the source of all life, sustaining the great biodiversity and social diversity of New Brunswick," Coon said. "Our government will enact legislation to protect the water, because when we care for the water, we care for each other, and respect our Treaty obligations to each other."
September 18, 2014
A Green government says no to fracking and yes to a clean economy
Green Party Leader David Coon met with local landowners here today to reiterate his party's plan to ban shale gas exploitation as well as cancel all exploration and production licenses.
Standing with Sussex-Fundy-St. Martins Green Party Candidate Stephanie Coburn, Coon said New Brunswick is missing out on opportunities to create real, long-term jobs that provide families and communities with vital economies and a healthy environment.
"Why would we want short-term, dirty, dangerous jobs in the shale gas field when more jobs can be created in building our local forest and farming economy, clean energy, and building efficiency," Coon said. "These are long-term, clean, and safe jobs for our families and communities."
He praised the work of Aboriginal Peoples Acadians, and Anglophones of the province who continue to put their time and energy into raising awareness around the issue making sure New Brunswickers are aware of the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. Coon said the alternatives are, not only safer, but can be just as profitable.
He said New Brunswickers can profit from technical, manufacturing, and service jobs by transitioning just a portion of the province's energy needs to wind, water and the sun. He cited the Massachusetts experience where 15,000 jobs have been created in the last two years in the sector.
Coon said the Green Party shares the concerns of a number of groups including the New Brunswick College of Family Physicians, medical doctors at both the Moncton and Georges Dumont hospitals, New Brunswick Nurses Union, UNIFOR, CUPE, National Farmers Union, Association francophone des municipalites du Nouveau-Brunswick, Kent County Regional Service Commission--in short, a total of 80 municipal and governing bodies in NB that have called for a moratorium
September 17, 2014
Letters to the editor: Candidate shares environmental concerns and hopes for voters
by Megan Mitton
Will your voice be heard in this election?
I sure hope so, because we’re facing many problems and in order to find the best solutions, we need every voice to be heard. New Brunswick has economic, environmental and social challenges ahead of us and in order to successfully address these challenges, we need new political leadership.
Climate change is here and we can only expect its impacts to get worse, and the “Big Three”parties are refusing to take it seriously. This global issue requires local solutions. Not only do we need to prepare and adapt to the changes we’re already experiencing, like – unpredictable weather events and the Swan Pond not freezing over enough to skate – but we need to stop contributing to climate change. In the face of a catastrophic climate crisis, the only responsible thing to do is make evidence-based policy based on the science.
Scientists are telling us that we need to turn things around, immediately. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that it is critical that we dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The International Energy Agency has stated that no new fossil fuel infrastructure should be built, because this infrastructure will be used as long as it is profitable to do so, which will definitely be longer than we have to curb our GHG emissions in time to avoid disaster. We also need to maintain as much natural habitat, including trees, wetlands and forests, which help maintain biodiversity and capture carbon.
The Green Party is the only party with responsible policy because we are the only party that is opposed to the Energy East Pipeline, would scrap the current Forestry Strategy, and is calling for a permanent ban on unconventional shale gas exploration and exploitation. Even if these ideas were good for the economy, which they are not, they would be bad for our environment and climate. Without those two things, we cannot have an economy, let alone anything else.
We need more long-term thinking in politics, rather than short-term deals that benefit only a few. I share a vision of the future with New Brunswickers, which includes creating more jobs than would be possible in oil and gas production by investing in renewable energy, such as solar,wind and geothermal,in energy– efficient buildings and in strong local food systems that produce food for consumption in New Brunswick and are accessible to everyone, not just the wealthiest among us. Imagine a strong democracy where decisions that impact our communities are made locally, and where citizens feel represented. This is all within our grasp, if we work together, stand up for what we truly believe in and vote for what we want.
There are already many people in our communities working on this vision, and I invite you to join us. It is so inspiring to see students working for a more self-sufficient campus by producing food on the Mount Allison Farm. There are students working to help Mount Allison University divest from fossil fuels. There were students who travelled to Fredericton this past weekend to see Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada and David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, speak about the possibility of making history by electing Green MLAs in our province in this election, by participating in our democracy through voting, and spreading the word about what is possible. Some students are also travelling to New York City for the People’s Climate March, the biggest climate march in our history this Sunday, to demand action from governments on our climate crisis. If you are unable to make it to New York, please join me and many others in the Fall Fair Parade on Saturday, Sept. 20, as we march for causes we are passionate about: saying no to shale gas, saying yes to reproductive rights, and having our own Sackville version of the Climate March! (We will gather around 12 p.m. at the Drew Nursing Home, and the parade starts at 1 p.m.).
The student vote is going to decide the election in this riding. Imagine if all the students who are eligible took their right and responsibility to vote seriously and voted by the thousands. What a difference your ballots would make in the outcome of this election. You could make history!
I encourage you to vote at the Returning Office (53 Main Street) now through Saturday or at the Civic Centre on Monday, Sept. 22. I hope you’ll vote for a greener future and elect me as the first Green MLA in New Brunswick. But no matter how you decide to cast your ballot, I hope you’ll vote. This is about our present and our future. Your voice matters. Your vote matters.
Mitton is the Green Party Candidate for MLA in Memramcook-Tantramar.
September 18, 2014
You can watch a great one-on-one interview with David Coon online:
September 17, 2014
Prevention - A major driver in a Green health care system
Green Party Leader David Coon says prevention needs to be front and centre in the approach to health care and health care funding in the province.
"Preventative health care has to start early, so the Green Party will double Early Childhood Home Support programs to ensure we get in on the ground floor," Coon said. "Every dollar invested in our children during those early years will pay off in the long run, both economically and in our communities."
A Green government would follow Quebec's lead in banning advertising directed at children under 12. In addition, a health tax would be applied to junk food and the revenue used to pay for school food and wellness programs.
In an effort to combat some of the cancers too prevalent in New Brunswick, a Green government would strengthen pollution regulations, establish a phased–in ban on industrial releases of cancer-causing substances and enact an Environmental Bill of Rights.
It would also increase the capacity of Medical Officers of Health to better address New Brunswick's unique social and environmental determinants of health.
"Now more than ever before we need health experts to speak up and be heard concerning environmental health risks and remedies," Coon said.
Septembre 17, 2014
New Brunswick Election: NBASGA Looks between the Lines of the Electoral Debate
New Brunswickers who are looking for the facts about shale gas are not getting them from the current political debate. They are often being deliberately misled or else are confused by politicians who don’t understand the issues, themselves. And they are definitely missing out on critical information.
Read the media release online: http://www.noshalegasnb.ca/
September 16, 2014
Rebalancing the health care system in New Brunswick
Green Party Leader David Coon unveiled his party's plan to rebalance the health care system from the steps of the newly located Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre today.
"People tell me everyday the problem is access, getting access to the help they need to prevent and get on top of health problems," Coon said. "The Green Party will accelerate New Brunswick's investment in community health centres, establishing two new centres per year over four year at a total cost of $28 million to the capital budget."
He said the centres would have family doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers, physiotherapists, midwives and naturopaths. He added that the community health centre model is well accepted in the province but services urgently need to expand to offer more localized wellness programs for persons with chronic illness, seniors and their caregivers in rural communities.
In another bold initiative to improve access, Coon said the Green Party would follow the Mental Health Commission's advice and increase 'the proportion' of the health budget dedicated to mental health services.
"We have the type of expertise needed to make a difference, just not enough of it. People with mental illness are waiting for months to get the help they need," Coon said. "We need to shift our resources so people aren't losing years of their lives, years they can never get back".
The Green Party, he says, is committed to putting the person back in the driver's seat; helping people like Jonah Emery, a local mental health peer activist who lives with Bipolar disorder, access the help they need when they need it.
September 15, 2014
You can watch Megan's statement to voters in the Memramcook-Tantramar riding. Her address begins at 2:53. http://rogerstv.com/
September 15, 2014
Strong legislation and the courage to implement it is what is needed to ensure pay equity becomes a part of the way we do business in New Brunswick's public and private sectors, Green Party Leader David Coon said in Fredericton, today.
"Women in New Brunswick want and need better than promises and progress reports," Coon said. "Previous governments have been toying with women's rights for too long and it's time to stop studying pay equity and start implementing legislation to ensure that the private sector pays women a fair and equitable wage based on equal pay for different work of the same value."
Coon said that at a time when women earn only 89 cents compared with every dollar earned by a man, he is troubled by the slow rate of progress on the issue. He is particularly concerned with the 10 year phased in process allowed within the public sector pay equity legislation. Under this legislation pay equity for the public sector may well not be reached until 2022. Also the methodology used for wage comparisons has been heavily critiqued as unfairly disadvantaging many of the public sector's lowest female wage earners.
"We have a system in place that allows the government to set aside a fundamental human right for women while at the same time MLA salaries continue to rise unchecked," Coon said. "It's not a matter of whether or not we can afford to treat women as equals. Women are equal, and we can't afford not to recognize this as a fundamental underlying premise."
September 10, 2014
New Brunswick Votes, 2014
The Progressive Conservatives have held a majority in the New Brunswick legislature since winning the 2010 provincial election. Their platform, unveiled on Sept. 5 by party leader David Alward, details a continuation of current policies aiming to bring about economic expansion through the development of the province’s natural resources.
The Progressive Conservative platform revolves around $10-billion of private investment entering the New Brunswick economy, mostly in extractive industries. The biggest contributors are shale gas development at $2.2-billion, a liquefied natural gas export terminal at $3-billion, and the Energy East Pipeline at $2.41-billion.
“I want to be crystal clear that we are supportive of shale gas, and its potential as an industry to help us achieve our goals,” said Alward. “To not take advantage of this opportunity would be one of the most irresponsible things a government could do.”
In hopes of boosting resource development, the platform lays out a long-term investment plan for 50 percent of the royalties generated. The fund would be furnished with legislated investments and withdrawals, aiming to draw long-term public benefit from natural resources.
The remaining 50 percent of royalties would be split into halves: half would lower the province’s debt, and half would lower post-secondary education costs by investing in research, development, and innovation.
Aside from bolstering the public purse, the conservative’s development goals include low and stable energy prices, electrical security and reliability of the electrical system, environmental responsibility, and effective regulation.
The platform looks to pair the investment with policy that tries to help small and medium businesses. An initiative to lower property tax rates in the province by 33 percent over four years is currently in its second year. The platform promises that, at the end of four years, the reduction will translate into $49-million per year of savings for taxpayers and benefit 16,000 small businesses in New Brunswick by lowering the costs of commercial space.
The platform also promises to expand on their One-Job Pledge. The incentive pays an employer 70 percent of the wage up to $10 per hour, for a maximum of 40 hours per week. The subsidy would last one year and aims to keep graduates in the province.
The PCs would increase net government spending by $117 million over the next four years. 50 percent of the money will be going to the second phase of the New Brunswick Drug Plan, which began on May 1, 2014.
The platform concludes by predicting a surplus of $119 million if the measures detailed in the platform were to be carried out.
The release of the Liberal platform came alongside a promise by party leader Brian Gallant to create over 10,000 new jobs in the province by 2018. Released in Moncton on Monday, the Liberal platform was the last to come out during this election. The Liberal Party would go about fulfilling Gallant’s promise through a combination of tax reform, resource development and new infrastructure projects.
The main source of the new jobs would be a $900-million infrastructure investment fund, aiming for short-term job creation and economic stimulus over the course of six years. The fund would be directed to projects that would eventually translate into long-term growth.
Tax reform would pay for part of the expenditure. The platform proposes an increase in personal income tax for the richest one percent of residents and to cancel the property tax break for businesses brought in by the last government.
The Liberals also intend to reform small business taxes. Their platform includes plans to lower the small corporate income tax to 2.5 percent and to increase a tax credit for investors in small businesses. Additional support for small businesses will come from a four-year freeze on the fees small businesses must pay.
The changes to the handling of small business are a major part of the party’s long-term strategy for job creation and economic growth. Other elements of the strategy consist of investments in literacy, workforce skills and a fund to give unemployed 18-to29-year-olds training and work experience in New Brunswick.
The Liberal platform includes prescriptions for resource development in the province. The Liberals support the prospective Energy East pipeline, but will subject it to a thorough examination of its environmental impacts. The platform says the pipeline is a possible way to gain investment from Alberta-based companies. Other projects that would be supported include the construction of the proposed Saint John-based natural gas export terminal and mining development.
Instead of pursuing shale gas development immediately, the platform promises that the Liberals will instead impose a moratorium on fracking. The moratorium would remain in force until shale gas extraction can be carefully considered from scientific, economic, regulatory and public standpoints.
The party would hike the minimum wage, from $10.45 to $11 per hour.
The Liberal’s approach to post-secondary education attempts to bridge the gaps between high school, university and the workforce. They plan to develop a 10-year plan for all stages of education, which would ensure an easy transition from high school to university or college. It also hopes to align post-secondary training with skill sets desired by the private sector. This allows for students in targeted programs to be matched with careers in their prospective field.
The Liberals propose to eliminate consideration of the parental and spousal contributions to student loans, and provide student loan relief to new parents.
With candidates in all but two ridings, the Green Party is fielding their largest candidate showing ever. Their platform, released Sept. 3, calls for a move away from resource development, the platform puts a focus on sustainable local development.
The proposed economic changes mainly come through tax reform. Residents with personal income above $150,000 would be subject to a new tax rate of 21 percent while residents with personal income below $20,000 would pay no provincial income tax. The corporate tax would rise as well. The change from 12 to 16 percent would bring it into line with rates in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. A slew of theoretical taxes also target the resource sector and carbon dioxide producers.
The resource industry, in particular, receives a lot of attention throughout the document.
New provincial greenhouse gas reductions targets would be set and adjusted to through the restriction of development. A ban on shale gas development and cancel existing related licenses and leases would end fracking in New Brunswick. Fossil fuel infrastructure, such as the Energy East pipeline, would be denied permits, discouraging increases in the production.
The Greens would also back out of the controversial forestry agreements that have been made by the Alward government with the private sector.
The move away from the resource sector comes with a move to support economies on the local level. A New Brunswick first food purchasing policy for provincial institutions, Crown agencies, and departments would try to strengthen local food economies. A move to replace non-renewable energy sources along with a retrofit to reduce demand would seek to generate jobs in engineering, trades, and manufacturing.
To combat poverty in the province, the Green Party looks to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, raise social assistance rates, and eliminate barriers to the workforce.
The platform outlines a strategy around post-secondary education that takes a debt-first approach. It promises to make all provincial loans interest free, cap the student debt of New Brunswick residents at $20,000, and extend the repayment grace period on the debt from six months to one year.
“It’s unacceptable that we are charging students when businesses get interest free loans; householders can get interest free loans to insulate their attic,” said Green Party leader David Coon at a Sept. 5 campaign stop. “We are making money off students and that doesn’t make sense to me. It’s unethical.”
The Greens also propose democratic reform in the province. The key component of this proposal is a shift to proportional representation. Policies would transfer power away from the Premier’s office to the legislature while as well, limiting the ability of Members of the Legislative Assembly to transition into cooperate lobbying after their political career.
Released on Sept. 4, the platform for the New Brunswick NDP outlines, among other things, their plan to tackle the province’s fiscal debt. There are two key components to this plan: The first is to end corporate bailouts.
“We will end the over $150-million we spend annually on corporate bailouts in the form of grants and non-repayable loans,” states the NDP’s platform.
The second component is the introduction of the New Jobs Tax Credit. The credit would reward companies that create new jobs.
“New Brunswick economists predict that the NDP New Jobs Tax Credit will create between 15,000 and 20,000 jobs within four years,” says the platform.
The New Jobs Tax Credit is part of a series of tax credits that will try to strengthen different areas of the economy with tax incentives. Others include the Research and Development Tax Credit to promote business growth in the province and a tax credit for artists and patrons of artists.
Slashing cabinet positions is also part of the platform. It promises to reduce the size of the cabinet from 17 ministers to 10 while also cutting their expenses and promising no loss of work for lower-level employees.
The document claims the restructuring will save New Brunswick $25-million per year.
This restructure also includes democratic reform. An independent commission would be formed to develop a model of proportional representation. All government spending reports would be published online, and the voting age would be lowered to 16 for provincial and municipal elections.
The end goal is a debt-free New Brunswick, which the platform asserts is attainable by 2018. The platform states that $1.1 billion of the $12 billion debt would be paid off within the first year in office.
For post-secondary education, the party has promised a program to ensure graduates can pay off student loan debt in eight years, and has plans for a Student Protection Act. The act would ensure students’ academic and financial protection in the event of labour disruption at a university or community college.
The platform addresses potential environmental issues in a three-step process. If elected, the NDP would have the independent agency evaluate the potential issue for safety with regards to both human health and the environment. The potential issue is then subjected to a royalty and is assessed for financial viability. If both evaluations are passed, proceeding in the potential issue is voted on in legislature.
Potential issues that will be evaluated this way include shale gas development and the Energy East pipeline. During the process, the legality of the extractions will be assessed so as not to violate Aboriginal and treaty rights.
To learn more about the upcoming New Brunswick election, and everything you need to know before you go to the polls, read the full article online.
September 11, 2014
Democracy - A shared resource
Green Party Leader David Coon says that, if elected, his party will open up government with transparency laws that require all government contracts to be available on-line.
"The province has been ruled by corporate interests making back room deals with government for far too long," Coon said. "These, largely family owned interests put profit ahead of a green economy and a better future for our children."
Coon said the Green Party would place the onus on civil servants to provide information to the public when requested. It would also overhaul the Right to Information Act so it treats the business of government as the business of its citizens.
Among other reforms, the Green Party would pursue is the establishment of proportional representation based on the recommendations of New Brunswick's Commission on Legislative Democracy.
The party would also introduce a bill designed to create a job description for MLAs that would define their roles and responsibilities as representatives of their constituents and as legislators. It would see power and money transferred from the Premier's Office to the Legislature where it would provide MLAs with resources to hold public hearings so that laws and government policy would better serve the public interest.
"The Bill would challenge the out-dated party system by putting constituent concerns front and centre," Coon said. "Imagine, once an MLA is elected he or she actually has to come home to the riding a few times every year, not just in election years, and ask the voters what they think about key policy issues, like forestry and senior care. That is real representation. It is a change that could change everything and one I know voters in New Brunswick want."
September 10, 2014
Ensuring Children Reach Their Full Potential
Literacy, health promotion and the restoration of trades and skill-based programs are at the top of the list of priorities for the education system under a Green Party government, Party Leader David Coon announced today in Fredericton.
"The other parties like to talk about how important education is, yet New Brunswick students go hungry to class every day," Coon said. "Our ping pong governments like to tinker with the education system, but they never seem to go the full course."
The Green Party is committed to establishing a culture in the classroom that ensures children reach their full potential. For instance, it proposes to tax sugar laden soft drinks and sink the revenue back into the school system to fund food and wellness programs, so no child goes to school hungry.
It is also committed to the development of a family-centred literacy program in elementary schools. Coon said a Green government would give teachers a prominent role in the development and evolution of educational policy and how it is implemented.
"We have well-trained and highly skilled professionals who should have a hand in developing education policy," Coon said. "They are the ones on the ground who know best how to overcome the day-to-day challenges faced in the classroom."
A Green government would restore trades and skills-based curricula in middle and high schools, expand apprenticeship and co-op placement programs and expand school-based arts programs including visual, musical, folk and dramatic arts.
It would also introduce citizenship studies and outdoor education curriculum to promote healthy, active lifestyles and community engagement, and would support the full implementation of the provincial inclusion policy.
"My party has a different vision – one where every young person in the province has a chance to reach their full potential," Coon said. "I am certain this platform contains all of the right ingredients for healthy and thriving schools and universities."
September 10, 2014
Watch Atlantic CTV's interview with David Coon:
September 8, 2014
Green Party Leader Releases Fair Share Forestry Plan
Standing outside a once-shuttered sawmill that's getting back on its feet thanks to local investors and woodlot owners, Green Party Leader David Coon unveiled his plan to bring fairness to the harvesting of timber on Crown lands.
Joined by Andrew Clark, former president of the Federation of Woodlot Owners of New Brunswick and the Green Party candidate in the Carleton riding, Coon called for a new "Fair Share" approach to the utilization of the province's forest resources.
"Independent sawmills do not have fair access to wood on Crown lands because it is controlled by the big forestry companies, so those mills are constantly having to shut-down and lay-off their workers," Coon said. "Furthermore, First Nations are left out of the picture, and it is impossible for start-up companies to get access to forest resources under the current system," the Green Party leader said. "We are going to change this to create new local business opportunities and new local jobs, and to include First Nations."
Coon announced his party's plan to bring fairness to the forestry sector. If elected, the party will:
- Enact legislation immediately to cancel all contracts signed by the Alward Government with forestry companies, which guarantee a 25-year increase in wood supply and obligate the government to supply wood at competitive prices.
- Restore the status of private woodlots as the Primary Source of Supply for the big forestry companies.
- Replace the Crown Lands and Forests Act with a Crown Land and Forest Sustainability Act that takes the management of the Crown lands out of the hands of the big companies like J.D. Irving and Fornebu Lumber. Forest management services would instead be provided by cooperative, social or business enterprises under agreements with the Department of Natural Resources, First Nations, or municipalities, as appropriate.
- Provide for the creation of Community Forest Licences, as has been done in British Columbia, adjacent to and within First Nations and municipalities.
"The Crown lands should be a tremendous source of local green jobs and green business opportunities that strengthen our rural and First Nation economies. It is not, and the Green Party plan will make it so," Coon said.
September 4, 2014
Green Party Announces Plan to Fight Poverty in New Brunswick
Green Leader David Coon unveiled his party's anti-poverty platform today with the Green Party's Saint John Harbour candidate outside the West Side Food Bank at the Carleton Community Centre.
"It is unacceptable that we have 11,000 children and their families living in poverty on social assistance. Here in Saint John we have the highest poverty rate in all of Canada, tied only with Toronto. And across New Brunswick we have 24,000 people working at full-time jobs paid a minimum wage which keeps them in poverty. Today, we are announcing measures to put more money into the hands of the poor, so they can afford to live in dignity and provide for their children," said Coon. "And we are going to pay for it by ensuring corporations pay their fair share of income tax to generate $64 million in new revenue," he said.
To fight help people escape poverty, the Green Party will:
- Raise the social assistance rates for the almost 40,000 New Brunswickers who depend on this source of income by 10% in 2015 and another 5% in 2016.
- Eliminate the claw backs from social assistance, such as the premature withdrawal of prescription drug benefits for people earning up to $20,000.
- Replace the minimum wage with a living wage, phased in over four years so that anyone working full-time will earn enough to keep them out of poverty.
- Ensure that the minimum wage, and its replacement - the living wage, increases to match the rate of inflation.
- Ensure people with an income of $20,000 or less, pay no provincial income tax.
- Ensure people earning less than $25,000 and families of four earning less than $40,000 are exempted from paying annual premiums to the New Brunswick drug plan.
- Fund school food and wellness programs with a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.
- Support public health visits with at-risk new mothers, and provide on-going parenting support if necessary, with an additional $7.7 million per year.
- Expand the number of early childhood education centres within our elementary schools as part of a plan to provide non-profit, universally accessible, quality childcare.
"It is time we spend the money and make the structural changes needed to help lift people out of poverty," said Green Party leader David Coon. "As Nelson Mandela said, poverty is man-made and can be eradicated our actions. We want to take that action in New Brunswick," concluded Coon.
September 3, 2014
Green Party Platform Focused on Jobs, Democracy and Families
David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, released the party's election platform today outside the Legislative Assembly
The comprehensive, costed platform presents the Green Party's vision for a sustainable and fair New Brunswick. It commits to bringing about changes that would make politics more democratic and people-friendly, shake up the corporate control of our province, and create green jobs - based on making New Brunswick more economically self-reliant, less dependent on fossil fuels, rebuilding forestry, and commercialising the green technologies and processes being developed in our universities.
The platform offers the Green Party's commitments on poverty reduction, delivering preventative and accessible health care, ensuring children can reach their full potential in the school system, and rebuilding our relationship with First Nations.
"On the doorsteps and on the street, people tell me they are tired of the same old politics -- the broken promises, the back room deals and the old boys' club. Our platform is a breath of fresh air blowing across New Brunswick," says Coon.
"The other parties have a shopping list of promises that would commit New Brunswick to a future that looks just like the past. David Alward would tie us to sunset industries, extracting fossil fuels and clear cutting Crown forests. Brian Gallant would spend buckets of money to build more roads. It hasn't worked in the past. The people of New Brunswick deserve new ideas."
"This province has the talent, the values, and the means to change," says Coon. "The Green Party provides the political leadership and vision to make that change happen."
The Green Party platform sketches out some bold and innovative moves to build a sustainable and fairer future for the people of New Brunswick, including commitments to:
- Implement an import replacement strategy to encourage more local production of goods and services to create jobs in New Brunswick
- Assist homeowners and businesses to cut their energy costs by restoring and expanding the ability of Efficiency New Brunswick to provide incentives and assistance.
- Legislate a Renewable Energy Act to lessen New Brunswick's dependence on fossil fuels, supplying 100% of our electricity from renewable sources within 20 years. The Green Party will cancel shale gas exploration licenses and leases for shale gas extraction.
- Enact a new Crown Lands and Forests Sustainabilty Act and cancel the contracts signed by the Alward government with forestry companies that guarantee an unsustainable increase in wood supply and exclusive access to forest resources for the next 25 years.
- Index the minimum wage to the rate of inflation and replace it over four years with a living wage, so that anyone working full-time will earn enough to stay out of poverty.
- Finance school meal and wellness programs with a tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks raising $15 million per year.
- Accelerate the development of community health centres to provide collaborative care and rapid access, focusing on prevention, and ending the costly use of hospitals to provide primary health care.
- Ensure everyone pays their fair share to finance the public services we need by increasing the corporate income tax rate from 12% to 16%, the rate charged in Nova Scotia and PEI, to raise $68 million per year. Require government to post the income tax paid by corporations in New Brunswick.
- Establish border tolls on commercial traffic entering and leaving New Brunswick. The financial benefit to New Brunswick is unknown because the Department of Finance refused to provide its revenue projections.
- Shift power from the Premier's office back to the Legislature and to MLAs.
- Become an ally to First Nations in their dealings with Ottawa and legislate the duty to consult in compliance with Canada's Supreme Court.
September 3, 2014
"Green Party candidate says there’s opportunity for change in New Brunswick"
Mitton says she feels a sense of urgency to help New Brunswick make some changes for the better, pointing out it's time to 'vote for what we want.' She says the Green Party, with its evnviornmental, economic and social valuable, is a great option for voters this coming election.
You can read Megan's full interview with the Sackville Tribune Post available online at the link below.
September 2, 2014
Last week Demian Hammock had a chance to chat with Megan during his weekly radio program on CHMA 106.9 FM in Sackville NB. Megan touches on the economy, local food, environmental issues and many other topics. You can hear their conversation below (start: 4.00 mins; end: 31.15mins).
August 29, 2014
David Coon talks food security
August 28, 2014
Green Party Leader Commits to New Legislation to Create Jobs and Business Opportunities in the Food and Agriculture Sector
Leader David Coon joined local candidates in front of the Saint John Ale House where he released the Green Party's platform on Local Food.
Coon says that the Green Party, if elected, would work to introduce a new Local Food Security Act that would:
- Set targets and establish timelines to help New Brunswick become self-reliant in locally-produced food;
- Engage provincial institutions including schools, hospitals, seniors homes, Crown agencies and government offices in building a provincial food economy; and
- Provide direction for a local food labeling program so consumers can easily identify food produced and processed in New Brunswick.
Full details will be provided in the Green Party's platform to be launched on September 3.
"Our commitment to local isn't just about food that tastes better and is better for you -- 'though it is. Building a new, local food economy builds New Brunswick's economy. Our new legislation would have an immediate impact on job creation. Setting targets and timelines to achieve greater food self-reliance will open up new markets for our farmers and for our foodie entrepreneurs, and create jobs in this growing sector of our local economies," says Coon.
"The Green Party says yes to local farmers, yes to local food stores, yes to restaurants serving local food, and yes to processors using local ingredients.”