FREDERICTON, November 5 – The Leader of New Brunswick’s Green Party and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon announced in a press release earlier today his party’s firm call on Blaine Higgs’ government to establish rent controls to protect New Brunswickers against “unreasonable rent increases”.

In a bid to remind the incumbent government of his past efforts to strengthen New Brunswick’s Residential Tenancies Act, Green Party Leader David Coon noted that New Brunswick renters “have fewer legal protections than any other Canadians” when it comes to housing.

The New Brunswick Greens unsuccessfully attempted to pass a bill to strengthen legal housing protections in the province two years ago. Their efforts were thwarted by the relentless lobbying of several rental property developers, who managed to convince both the government and the opposition to vote the Green bill down.

Today, together with Megan Mitton, the Green critic for Service New Brunswick and MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar, the Green Party Leader is calling on Service New Brunswick Minister Mary Wilson to introduce legislation no later than this fall in order to protect New Brunswickers against unjustifiable rent increases and prevent potentially devastating consequences such as a surge in homelessness and deepening poverty and inequality.

“Housing is a HUMAN RIGHT”

– Megan Mitton, Green critic for Service New Brunswick and MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar

The issue of unreasonable rent increases and housing vulnerability stands among a variety of other equally pressing social justice issues that the New Brunswick Greens are calling Higgs’ government to address. A little over a month ago, Coon called on Higgs’ government to “treat the climate crisis as the emergency it is”. The Green Party Leader’s demands emerged as Higgs’ proposals to regulate industrial carbon emissions proved to come nowhere near close to stipulations within New Brunswick’s own Climate Change Act, which targets a 27% reduction in carbon emissions between 2020 and 2030. Higgs’ planned regulation stands in contrast to the provincial Climate Change Act as it sets to cut industrial emissions by a mere 10% instead of 27%.

2020 New Brunswick General Election

In the provincial election celebrated in New Brunswick last September, the New Brunswick Greens managed, for a third consecutive time, to increase their share of the vote. This prompted Coon’s party to proudly assert that “more New Brunswickers than ever are sharing [the] Green Party vision.”

Their modest electoral success in this year’s election appears to be indicative of a wider, highly promising pattern: in the recent election, the Greens managed to increase their share of the vote to 15.2%. This figure is up from 11.9% in the 2018 election, 6.6% in the 2014 election, and 4.6% in the 2010 election, the first general election in which the Green Party of New Brunswick ran. The party was only two years old when it first entered New Brunswick’s political scene, so its repeatedly improving performance is without a doubt a very favourable sign to the Greens.

This year’s electoral results were remarkably encouraging for David Coon’s party. Results showed that the Green Party made positive gains in just about every corner of the province. Furthermore, the New Brunswick Greens regained the 3 seats they had secured in 2018’s election, something the Greens interpret positively, for it suggests that the people are satisfied with their work.

Since the election, Green Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) have made a few public statements on issues concerning the province, including the need for stronger regulations on industrial carbon emissions and ensuring access to reproductive health services following the closure of Clinic 554, which has rendered abortions completely inaccessible in western New Brunswick and has diminished the provision of LGBTQ2+ health care in the province.

Another pressing issue that has been highlighted by the provincial Green Party is the situation of neglect and mismanagement facing New Brunswick’s long-term care sector. An investigation and subsequent report by the New Brunswick Nurses Union (NBNU) titled “The Forgotten Generation: An Urgent Call for Reform in New Brunswick’s Long-Term Care Sector” revealed many disturbing findings, sparking outrage among the Green Party. David Coon referred to the NBNU report on the state of nursing homes in the province as “a wake up call” for the Higgs government, declaring that just about every government has continuously “failed to provide even the bare minimum funding necessary for nursing homes to comply with provincial standards of care, inadequate as they are.”

The Premier of New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs, has indicated that the Legislative Assembly will resume sitting in mid-November. Until then, the Green MLAs continue to work on their legislative agenda for the fall while resuming their constituency work.

Sources: https://www.greenpartynb.ca/october_2020_newsletter; https://greencaucusvert.ca/green-party-leader-says-nb-nurses-union-report-on-nursing-homes-is-a-wake-up-call/

Natalia Ortiz Peñate

Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Natalia moved to Canada as a teenager to pursue a more diverse education and a brighter future. Based in Montréal since the fall of 2016, today she is a proud McGill University graduate with a BA in Political Science and International Development Studies. Over the course of her undergraduate studies at McGill, she developed a passion for human rights advocacy and sustainable development. Owing to her political science background, she is equally interested in notions of global governance and diplomacy, and has developed a particular interest in the fields of human rights protection, poverty alleviation, and international development, all within the framework of sustainability. In the near future, she aspires to continue her education and become professionally involved in global politics and international affairs in order to help bring the change she wants to see in the world.

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