New Brunswick Green Party leader David Coon says serving in the provincial legislature is like taking a cruise and getting an opportunity to go up on the bridge to see who’s steering the boat, only to find it empty and “discovering that everyone’s down in the boiler room playing poker with the high rollers.”
“It’s no wonder we’ve got problems,” he said during an election rally in Sackville on Thursday. “I think like some of you, I too have the feeling that there’s actually no one in charge, there’s really no one running the province.”
Coon outlined a long list of problems including overworked, burned-out hospital nurses, nursing home and home-care workers, and paramedics; ambulances that can take 45 minutes to respond to emergencies as well as long wait times for mental health services.
“The time it takes to get into seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist, if you can find one, is unsafe for many people,” Coon said.
He added that he spoke to the doctors in charge of emergency rooms in Moncton and Fredericton. “They both said the same thing to me, ‘David the waiting times are unsafe for some of our patients.'”
Coon pointed to other gaps: “Child protection, social welfare, affordable housing, it’s system critical,” he said.
“In a sense, there is no one running the province, the province is not being run for our benefit as it should be,” he added.
“From a democratic perspective, we’ve come to a pretty sorry place where the old-line parties are so preoccupied with their own political fortunes and so captured by the special interests of the few that they’ve lost track of the fact that their job is to actually provide good government and as a result, the Liberals and Tories have taken measures that have degraded the quality of our public services.”
Coon was in Sackville to support Megan Mitton, the town councillor who is once again carrying the Green banner in the Memramcook-Tantramar riding for the provincial election on September 24.
In her speech, Mitton highlighted a key theme of the Green campaign, relying more on local, community solutions.
“We need to build a more integrated health care system with decentralized health care programs to complement urgent care facilities,” she said. “We need local delivery and governance, such as through community health care clinics.”
Mitton, who says she has knocked on at least 200 doors so far from Sackville to Memramcook and Port Elgin, also mentioned the importance of buying local food.
“The other day I had the option to buy Belliveau Orchard apples from Memramcook or apples from New Zealand,” she said. “”We need to make sure institutions are buying local and healthy food for our children in schools, patients in hospitals and so on,” she added.
Mitton also called on New Brunswickers to move away from what she called “a scarcity mindset” and a “have-not mentality.”
“We live in a beautiful region with hard-working and creative people, and an abundance of natural resources,” she said. “The key is to manage them responsibly and ensure that the wealth is distributed more fairly.”
This was a truly superb Green Party rally for our outstanding candidate, Megan Mitton. This article reports accurately a number of things Ms. Mitton said, but she made one extremely important point which I wish to underscore, as it bears repeating here,and often. Ms. Mitton says that in the past people would say to her: “Oh, the Green Party…it’s a single issue party…the environment” . She went on to say yes, the environment is a huge issue, but it is hardly a SINGLE issue. Not any more. And New Brunswickers know that. She showed clearly how the environmental challenge due to climate change (which we are already living with) is linked to every single issue of importance to New Brunswickers. It was deeply unsettling to hear her so clearly link the environment and climate change to all of the challenges we face here in this province. But the way in which she views what we can collectively DO to address these challenges and to changethings was heartening and realistic. Her team approach, and her conviction that through listening and dialoguing consensus can be built, leading to actions that will bring change, was inspiring.
When I read the title of this article, I thought Hon. Coon was talking about Lebanon :). Seriously, as far as I am concerned, I am still unable to see much difference between the parties and their potential to drastically change things in NB. Perhaps this comment is not a negative one in the end? Perhaps all parties have something good about them OR have comparable limitations when in power? Or perhaps NB’s situation is more stable? I say this whilst saluting Mr. Coon’s own good performance. I also appreciate Councillor Megan’s ideas of investing in local talents, eating local food, and promoting local products, etc. Who can be against this? The Belliveau Orchard apples are indeed delicious (even if I am also in favour of having other choices as well).