NB election: Jennifer McKenzie says NDP platform is greener than the Green’s

New Brunswick NDP leader Jennifer McKenzie (L) with local candidate Hélène Boudreau at Goya’s Pizza

The competition for votes between local New Democrats and Greens was evident in Sackville on Sunday as New Brunswick’s NDP leader expressed pride in her party’s platform commitment to a Carbon Reduction Fund.

“Our environmental plank is greener than the Green’s by a mile,” Jennifer McKenzie declared generating applause and cheers from a small group of NDP supporters at Goya’s Pizza on Main Street.

Later, during an interview, McKenzie acknowledged that her comment was “a little bit of rhetoric, I was speaking to a friendly crowd,” but she added that the NDP’s is “the only environmental plank from all the parties that is fully funded.”

The NDP Carbon Reduction Fund would tax pollution that contributes to climate change generating almost $400 million in revenues.

McKenzie said a third of the money would be returned to low and middle-income earners as a rebate, another third would be invested in job-creating, renewable energy projects, with the remaining funds dedicated to programs such as making homes more energy efficient.

“The environmental plank was one of the last ones that we put out and it was developed within the youth wing of the party,” the NDP leader said, adding that young New Democrats looked at various plans around the world before developing a made-in-New-Brunswick version.

Minimum wage

McKenzie also said that her party led the way when it promised a $15 per hour minimum wage in November of last year. (The Green election platform proposes to raise the current $11.25 minimum wage by $1 per year until it reaches $15.25.)

“We thought no other party would ever steal that plank,” McKenzie said, adding that the NDP were ahead of the Greens in proposing aid to post-secondary students including a 25 per cent reduction in tuition fees at publicly-funded universities. (To read what the Green platform says, click here.)

The NDP leader also expressed pride in her party’s promise of a universal pharmacare program that would cost the province $250 million per year. McKenzie says that ideally, the federal government would contribute another $250 million.

“We’re basically saying to the federal government, ‘look it’s time if you want to have some investment in seniors in this province, this would be the perfect way to do it,'” she said. “We would go ahead with it without the federal government, but the best-case scenario is the province is 50 per cent, the federal government is 50 per cent and we move forward as quickly as possible.”

Booze, fat and sugar

McKenzie also took aim at the Liberals and Conservatives for trying to woo voters with fewer restrictions on alcohol and junk food.

On Saturday, the Liberal leader Brian Gallant promised a number of measures to “modernize liquor laws” including allowing more convenience stores to sell beer, wine and liquor.

A few days earlier, Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs said a PC government would scrap the nutrition policy that, among other things, bans the sale of fatty or sugary foods in school cafeterias.

“I think it sounds a bit desperate,” McKenzie replied when asked about the Liberal and PC promises.

“They’re looking for a populist kind of dollar-a-beer policies and the NDP has been very careful to stay above that, to talk about the things that matter to people that will make a real difference in their lives and to talk about our platform as a whole and how it will transform our economy and transform our society to one that is greener and more progressive,” she said.

To read a 2015 report from New Brunswick’s chief medical officer on the health, social and economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption, click here.

To read a 2012 report from the chief medical officer on the costs of obesity in New Brunswick, click here.

To read an earlier Warktimes story about liquor stores vying for sales along the TransCanada Highway, click here.

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1 Response to NB election: Jennifer McKenzie says NDP platform is greener than the Green’s

  1. Rima Azar says:

    I would like to indirectly comment on this article and on Louis’ second comment (as I have already replied to his first comment), if I may.

    (1). I think highly of Ms. Boudreau, whether I will end up voting for her or for another candidate. It does not matter. My opinion will remain high. On one hand, I salute her tenacity in politics. On the other hand, I discovered something whilst trying to educate myself on our candidates by specifically trying to read older public information or older tweets, etc. (not just during the electoral campaign, although it is nice to observe their competing journey). I particularly liked a message tweeted by Ms. Boudreau, that reads as follows (sorry I forgot the precise words): Women for competence and not women for quota (or something like that). This message speaks a lot to me as I happen to share this point of view. What I liked about this message is that it was by a female politician from a party (at another level), which is at the other political spectrum, so to speak. Without being fond of the person with the message necessarily, I like when someone recognizes the value of words by someone else from a different party… for the value of a message, regardless of the source (I mean without boycotting those we do not like, etc.). For me, this shows openness and flexibility on her behalf. It is like when we go to a dentist who tells us— great job—talking about a tooth in our mouth that was fixed by another colleague, if you see what I mean. Not too many people know how to highlight the good word or work of others in life, I find. Anyhow, good luck to Ms. Boudreau.

    (2). As for our Green candidate, M. Mitton, I of course see what you mean Louis (+ tuxemal, and Azi before, at one point). Actions, and sometimes absence of actions, speak volumes. However, I would like to say that Ms. Mitton is not the only one who did not act, sadly. Plus, sometimes in life it is hard to spill the beans (to use your words, Louis) because of the group effect (or chairs’ effects, to use Azi earlier words about the Councilor’s chairs 😊). Seriously, and with all due respect to all, not everyone is as courageous as Councillor Bruce Phinney, I find. From what we read, we can see that he is no afraid of taking risks in his vote one issues, when he sees that this or that issue is simply unfair/not right… or not good for the community, etc. As you said, the legal saga began before Ms. Mitton arrived to Town Council. Perhaps she wanted to be accepted by her peers too much (lost track of citizens in the process?). Perhaps she has wished to change things deep inside of herself… but how can one person do this on her own? Who knows? Mind you, I am not defending Ms. Mitton just for the sake of defending her, here. I guess her skin must be thick enough by now (I hope for her as politics is tough). It is my hope that one day you will get an answer about your question on tax payers’ money (and you will think higher of her, as you said). It would be a good start for an opportunity to turn a page in the history of Sackville and open a new one in our town (learn something from all this waste of money and energy in order to keep moving forward and avoid repeating history one day). Regardless, I think that our Green candidate is also doing a good campaign thus far. Good luck to her as well.

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