MLA Megan Mitton calls on province to summon political will for big changes

MLA Megan Mitton and Sackville Mayor John Higham at 2020 New Year’s levee

Megan Mitton says one of the things she learned during her first year in the New Brunswick legislature is that there isn’t much political will to make changes.

“There’s really a lot that needs to be done,” the MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar said during an interview at the mayor’s New Year’s Day levee last week at Sackville Town Hall.

“There’s all kinds of things that need to happen,” she emphasized, “everything from making sure that the extremely rich are paying their fair share, to making sure that we are properly funding nursing seats in our province to help address the nursing shortage, to passing a ban on conversion therapy.”

Mitton explained that conversion therapy is the “disproven and harmful practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity usually through psychological means.”

She says she raised the issue in the legislature a couple of times, but after meeting with people in the LGBTQ community, is now drafting her own bill and plans to work with members of the other political parties to get it passed.

“This is something that wouldn’t even cost the government money, but is about protecting human rights,” she said, adding that other provinces, including Nova Scotia, have already banned conversion therapy.

Clinic 554

Mitton questions Premier Higgs in December about provincial funding for Clinic 554

Mitton has also been pushing the provincial government — so far, without success — to pay for abortions and other medical services, such as care for HIV patients, at Clinic 554, a privately run facility in Fredericton that has announced it may have to close if it can’t get provincial funding.

Successive New Brunswick governments have maintained the policy of funding abortions at three public hospitals, one in Bathurst and two in Moncton.

“The best practice is to provide this service in a community-care setting,” Mitton says.

She argues the province’s refusal to fund abortions outside of hospitals violates the Canada Health Act and forces many women to travel long distances.

“Transportation to get to medical services is a challenge anyway for a lot of people,” she says. “There’s also the timeliness factor for being able to access surgical abortions.”

Green bills

The NB Green caucus. Party leader David Coon (centre) with Kevin Arseneau and Megan Mitton

Mitton referred specifically to a couple of bills the three-member Green caucus introduced during the fall sitting of the legislature.

One, to amend the Crown Lands and Forests Act, would ban spraying the herbicide glyphosate on Crown forests while also requiring mills to buy more wood from private woodlot owners.

Another, to amend the Family Income Security Act, would allow the provincial minister of social development to work with the federal government to ensure a basic income guarantee for all New Brunswickers.

“Poverty is really such a huge issue in New Brunswick especially for seniors, especially for children,” Mitton says, “and if we aren’t willing to figure out ways to take care of everyone, to make sure they have what they need, then we’re really failing as a society and as a government.”

Mitton explains that the Green bill would replace social assistance rates with income guarantees and require the government to review them regularly.

She points out that current social assistance rates haven’t increased since 2014.

“It’s not enough to live on,” she says. “It’s $537 a month for a single person and it’s very hard to imagine how to find housing and food and heat with that amount and there are strict rules around not being able to even share your residence,” she adds.

“It’s not designed to really lift people out of poverty.”

Sackville & climate change

Earlier, Mitton told about 60 people at the mayor’s New Year’s Day levee she’s proud to represent Sackville and its surrounding communities in the provincial legislature.

“Sackville is always a leader,” she said.

“One thing I want to really highlight is the mayor and council’s leadership bringing together a round table on climate change,” Mitton added.

“That’s one of the defining issues and challenges that we face and I’m very proud that our town is innovating and finding ways to address that.”

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5 Responses to MLA Megan Mitton calls on province to summon political will for big changes

  1. Sally Cunliffe says:

    ” to passing a ban on conversion therapy…. ”
    Really? As a pro-life Catholic I really could not disagree more strongly with Megan on this…
    Sweetie.. you cannot speak for everyone in Tantramar.. that’s not your job honey.
    I would respectfully ask you to leave the children alone and stop trying to make them over in your image of what they should be. If parents want help to counsel their children that is not your business to interfere… nor is it your job to socially engineer the voters to think as you do.
    Just do your job and listen to the voters.. all of them.. thanks.

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    • Les Hicks says:

      Sally, when you refer to your elected MLA as Sweetie, and honey, that is not respectful, but disparaging. This is one more example of your resorting to name calling when you disagree with someone else. Does a ‘pro life’ Catholic like yourself also support priests molesting children and having their crimes hidden by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? I would suggest that you ‘respectfully’ ask the leaders of your church to tell their priests to ‘leave the children alone’.

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      • Sally Cunliffe says:

        Les – ITS OKAY TO BE PRO-LIFE.
        Isn’t it interesting you were so triggered by “honey” and “sweetie” and “catholic” Les?
        I think it shows your weakness when you are triggered and offended on behalf of an MLA who does have a job working for the taxpayers and is always open to criticism of her advocacy.. I obviously did not vote for Megan Mitton but I am definitely not name calling here.. if anything I am asking why government should be meddling in family counselling and mental health issues. Megan is technically young enough to be my daughter and as a parent, I always have believed that lying to children is wrong. Hope that clears up your confusion here.
        p.s. promoting government abortions in a nation with no abortion laws is immoral.

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    • Les Hicks says:

      Sally, check out the following website : https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy.

      On it you will see the results of research conducted on Conversion (Reparative) Therapy and it’s harmful effects on minors, by organizations such as the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, which stated : “The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds no evidence to support the application of any “therapeutic intervention” operating under the premise that a specific sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression is pathological. Furthermore, based on the scientific evidence, the AACAP asserts that such “conversion therapies” (or other interventions imposed with the intent of promoting a particular sexual orientation and/or gender as a preferred outcome) lack scientific credibility and clinical utility. Additionally, there is evidence that such interventions are harmful. As a result, “conversion therapies” should not be part of any behavioral health treatment of children and adolescents.”

      You will see similar statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, World Psychiatric Association, etc, etc.

      So, who is actually lying to the children? I would suggest it is someone who bases their attitudes on their religious indoctrination instead of peer reviewed and accepted scientific research. It’s interesting to note how you ignore the scientific facts on conversion therapy the same way that you ignore the scientific facts about human induced climate change.

      You specifically mentioned your pro-life Catholic background as your basis for disagreeing with Megan Mitton’s position on Conversion Therapy, which is why I tried to point out the hypocrisy of you telling MLA Mitton to leave the children alone while at the same time ignoring the facts of the well known sexual abuse against children performed by priests of your church and the subsequent covering up of such offences by the church hiearchy. This was obviously lost on you. Then again, when you make your arguments, facts don’t seem to be of much importance to you.

      Finally, if you try to claim that you weren’t being disrespectful to MLA Mitton by referring to her as honey and sweetie, then one can only assume that you must be in a state of permanent denial. Remember, it’s not just a river in Egypt.

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  2. I’d rather my MLA Megan work with others in Fredericton to try to ban mandatory vaccines and to also see about getting the weekly oral fluoride rinse banned from all our New Brunswick public schools in 2020 because those would be productive efforts….. I’m aware that health/wellness is Megan’s focus in her life and her background [hopefully she does not more youtube videos] and perhaps she will make these two issues important to her in her capacity. Young mothers in New Brunswick need to work to uphold family rights, keep our schools safe and healthy places, and respect the parent’s right to choose. Nova Scotia advocate Dena Churchill has weighed in on our mandatory vaccines and thinks this is setting a dangerous precedent in Canada. Thanks Bruce for the up-to-date reporting here..

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