2020 New Brunswick election promise tracker: Here’s what the parties have pledged to do

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WATCH: Vetting processes are under intense scrutiny after both the Liberals and Conservatives turfed candidates over offensive social media posts. – Sep 8, 2020

As the New Brunswick election draws to a close Global News has kept track of the promises each party has made along the campaign trail.

We’ve heard from the Liberals, the Progressive Conservatives, the Green Party, the People’s Alliance and the New Democrats.

They’ve put forward proposals on how they would approach the recovery of the province after COVID-19, whether they would fund Clinic 554 and if they would launch a public inquiry into systemic racism in the province’s law enforcement and justice systems.

To help make sense of it all, Global News is tracking what’s been promised by the leaders of the most popular parties.

Some parties made announcements on specific days while others released their commitments online in platform documents.

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Skip to promises made by the:

Progressive Conservatives

Platform highlights

The Platform document was released Sept. 10, touting Higgs’ “experienced leadership” that will make a difference.

Sept. 10:

  • New Brunswick food basket promoted
  • PC Leader Blaine Higgs says his government, if re-elected, would be willing to defend its decision to not fund abortions outside of hospitals. Critics and the federal government say the decision violates the Canada Health Act
  • Commits to build a cybsecurity cluster to attract foreign investment

Sept. 5:

  • PCs announce free high-dose vaccines for seniors, 65 and older, available by Oct. 1; the province has already procured the vaccine
  • PC Leader Higgs announces his government will establish a working group between the Province and the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association, to identify new ways the two can work together to improve access to health care for all citizens

Sept. 4:

  • Higgs pledges to continue his government’s five-year action plan on population growth if re-elected; the goal would be to work with post-secondary institutions and professional associates to attract professionals, skilled workers and keep young people in the province
  • Commitment made to 2 per cent annual increase in French-speaking immigrants to reach a total of 33 per cent by 2024, to support the growth of Francophone culture in the province; it would be an increase over the government’s current commitment to achieving an annual population growth of 10,000 people by 2027 and a 75 per cent retention rate over the next 5 years

Sept. 2:

  • PCs commit to raising salaries of trained early childhood educators from $16 to $19 by 2023
  • School food program is made available in every school in NB for the 2021-22 school year; $200,000 pilot program is currently being tested at 10 schools across the province
  • Commits to modernizing the province’s curriculum by expanding the use of technology in classrooms and providing classes on Indigenous and Black histories

Sept. 1:

  • Promise to expand the glass recycling pilot program in Oromocto to other small communities to further eliminate glass waste from landfills
  • Set a long-term goal to eliminate single-use plastic bags and bottles entirely
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Aug. 31:

  • Higgs announces three initiatives to push small modular nuclear reactor technology as a means of future energy production in the province
  • Promise to partner with Saskatchewan and Ontario to co-develop small modular nuclear reactor technology
  • Promise to try to attract highly skilled professionals to the region to grow the infrastructure for small modular nuclear reactor technology
  • Commit to have the Université de Moncton complete an economic impact assessment on small modular nuclear reactor technology

Aug 28:

  • Higgs announces the PC government would enhance conservation in the province and protect N.B.’s woods and waterways by doubling conserved and protected areas in the province by year’s end, from 4.6 per cent of total land to an even 10 per cent
  • Additionally, he would encourage conservatism in new generations through online education and securing better control over waterways by taking over federal jurisdiction in certain areas. Continue to support the Veloroute Signature Trail on the Acadian Peninsula by sticking to the remaining $600-thousand funding already promised

Aug. 27:

  • PCs would maintain their spring budget commitment to increase health-care spending by 3.9 per cent to $2.9 billion with a focus on mental health support, free flu shots for New Brunswickers, a new immunization registry, additional nurse practitioners and recruiting doctors for rural areas
  • Virtual health will be expanded to prevent long-distance travel to reach specialists

Aug. 26:

  • PCs would create a dedicated RCMP task force of 13 officers, working fulltime to stop drug trafficking with a focus on crystal meth, at a cost of $2 million annually

Aug. 25:

  • PCs continue with the 10-year housing action plan started in 2019 to address homelessness and affordable housing; $62 million to be invested in the first 3 years

Aug. 24:

  • Reduce wait times for hip replacements and knee surgeries province-wide by increasing capacity with a dedicated operating room at St. Joseph’s Hospital by the end of 2020

Aug. 22:

Aug. 21:

  • Would extend rural internet to increase rural broadband speeds in over 70,000 households; the plan would create a province-wide 5G network, as announced previously in January
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Aug. 20:

  • Address food security by strengthening local growing, buying and exports by investing in year-round farming technologies, promotion of local food and the NB Food Basket, and creating programs designed to support greater workforce development, such as encouraging farming and increasing immigration through the pilot project to attract farmers

Aug. 19: 

  • Continue to implement the Economic Recovery and Growth Action Plan to help businesses compete now and after the pandemic, including three new initiatives
  • Opportunities New Brunswick would support businesses transitioning to the digital economy so they can adapt to more online sales, marketing and social media promotion

Aug. 18:

  • Continue to implement the Mental Health and Addiction Action Plan that has been developed this year, including walk-in clinics for same-day counselling, improving virtual counselling services and better training for mental health professionals
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The Liberals

Platform Highlights

The Liberal platform was released Sept. 4, proposing changes on a short-term basis, within the first 30 days of a Kevin Vickers government taking power, as well as on a long-term basis:

  • Within the first 30 days, the Liberals pledge to create a COVID-19 economic recovery task force to put in place a short, medium, and long-term action plan; a report would be completed within 30 days
  • Within 30 days the Liberals promise to keep the COVID-19 all-party cabinet committee that has operated throughout the pandemic
  • Within 30 days the Liberals pledges to initiate a public inquiry into systemic racism toward Indigenous people in the province’s law enforcement and justice systems; the province’s Indigenous communities have called for a public inquiry after the three high profile deaths of indigenous peoples: Chantel Moore, Rodney Levi, Brady Francis
  • Within 30 days the Liberals commit to implementing the $300 million in the Government of Canada and New Brunswick Housing agreement
  • Within 30 days appoint a task force on homelessness to help support plans already developed by local communities
  • The Liberals commit to partnering with the federal government to secure nuclear small modular reactors as a future energy source for New Brunswick
  • Establish a target of increasing New Brunswick’s population by 100,000 by 2030
  • Work with the federal government to increase the province’s quota of skilled immigrants
  • Commits to bringing high-speed internet to all regions of the province; no timeline for the project provided
  • Promises to continue to develop the cybersecurity and IT sectors
  • Pledges to ensure gender, language and regional representation on agencies, boards and commissions
  • Will create a standing committee on official languages to protect and enhance the province’s bilingual status
  • Commits to phasing out glyphosate spraying on Crown land over four years
  • Would accept federal funding for public transit to provide reliable transportation options for rural communities
  • Promises to expand the mental health court throughout the province, and make the mobile crisis intervention units active 24 hours a day, province-wide
  • Create a new eHealth strategy
  • Eliminate the provincial share of interest rates on student loans
  • The platform is not costed

Sept. 2:

  • During the first debate of the election, Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers pledges to balance the budget by 2023
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Aug 28:

  • Commits to immediately negotiate a contract with the nurses union aimed at retaining health-care professionals

Aug 25:

  • Liberal party pledges to direct New Brunswick’s health authorities to not close rural hospitals and not eliminate emergency room services

Aug 24:

  • Liberals announce a plan, within the first 30 days of taking power, to enter talks with the federal government about federal funds for the province’s infrastructure; Ottawa has budgeted $673 million to be invested in New Brunswick infrastructure over 10 years — the Liberal party alleges 78 per cent of these funds remain unallocated

Aug. 21:

  • Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers pledges to immediately increase the budget of the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries by $5 million, which would go directly to cost-shared programs for producers
  • Liberals would reverse budget cuts to the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture implemented by the PC government
  • Commits to continue the development and promotion of New Brunswick’s five scenic drives and the signature trails program, as well as invest in and improve the tourist information centres in order to help the tourism industry through the coronavirus pandemic
  • Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers told Global News his party is “committed to maintaining funding for Clinic 554” and repealing Regulation 84-20, which bans the funding of abortions outside of hospitals
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People’s Alliance

Platform highlights

  • The People’s Alliance would end the two language duality in the province’s health-care system and invest the saved funds in improving primary care
  • Advocate for another minority government with the People’s Alliance stressing that “minority governments work” by keeping the government in power in check
  • The party is committed to banning the use of glyphosate on Crown Lands and revising the forestry act to provide fairer access to natural resources
  • Promises to end corporate welfare and demand accountability for loans and grants to big business
  • Would maintain the status quo of Regulation 84-20, which bans the funding of abortions outside of hospitals
  • Reuses the party’s 2018 platform which includes promises to privatize NB Liquor and Cannabis NB, enacting a one-time-only vehicle registration, and creation of “common sense” language policies that “promote fairness”

Sept. 9:

  • The People’s Alliance pledges to pay for a portion of training costs for volunteer fire departments and to increase online training
  • They pledge to reclassify paramedics as “medical professionals”; Paramedics are currently classified as unskilled labourers, being represented under the Canadian Union of Public Employees –the reclassification would give them representation under the New Brunswick Union

Sept. 8:

  • The party will eliminate the small business tax to help tourism operators and other small businesses
  • Will work with WorkSafe NB and employers to ensure premiums are fair to both stakeholders and eliminate regulations to simplify the application processes

Sept. 5:

  • People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin pledged the party will put food programs in every school in the province
  • The party would also reform and streamline the New Brunswick Daycare Assistance Program for school-aged children and provide sustained funding for poverty reduction programs, all in an effort to ease child poverty in the province

Sept. 3:

  • The party pledges it will provide a percentage of the $2,000 educational training costs for personal care assistants in the form of a rebate, the goal being to support seniors’ ability to remain at home

Sept. 2:

  • The People’s Alliance promises to the province’s agricultural sector to ensure and strengthen the local food supply in New Brunswick
  • Would ensure temporary foreign workers are allowed to move permanently to the province to live and work
  • The party would also invest in agricultural infrastructure so farmers are able to produce more food for local buyers, lessening the province’s reliance on imports

Aug. 26:

  • Party promises to more than double benefits from the Home Energy Assistance Program, from $100 for low-income families to $250

Aug. 25:

  • Kris Austin pledges to bring an addiction treatment facility to Miramichi

Aug. 24:

  • Party commits to expanding and funding virtual healthcare
  • Pledge to continue the expansion of mental health services in the province to continue after the coronavirus pandemic
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Green Party

Platform highlights

The Green Party released its platform on Sept. 3

Sept. 12:

Sept. 8:

  • Green Party Leader David Coon commits to immediately increasing funding of the Chief Medical Officer’s office, as well as the regional offices around the province, to help get N.B. through the pandemic.

Sept. 7:

  • Pledges to increase the province’s minimum wage to $15/hour and guarantee paid sick leave, vacation and paid overtime for all workers under the Employment Standards Act

Sept. 1:

  • The party commits to increasing the local supply of renewable power, heat and transportation fuels and aiming to have 100 per cent of electricity generated by renewable sources by 2035; the province would require New Brunswick Power to meet the goal
  • The Green Party says it would implement an “import replacement strategy” to replace imported goods with more locally sourced products
  • Implement a policy to postpone and, in some cases, forgive property taxes for small and medium-sized businesses so as to help them survive during the pandemic
  • Create a new department for Rural Affairs and Community Development that would be responsible for developing and implementing regional development policy, such as universal high-speed internet access, as well as supporting renewable energy production and the protection and development of agricultural land

Aug. 31:

  • David Coon announces that a Green Party government would immediately end the practice of indiscriminate clearcutting and the spraying of herbicides, such as glyphosate, on Crown lands and under power lines

Aug. 29:

  • Promises to launch an immediate inquiry into systemic racism the province’s law enforcement and justice system
  • Would also make changes to the Crown and Forests Act that would ensure private woodlots would return to being the primary source of wood supply for New Brunswick mills
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New Democratic Party

Platform highlights

  • Promises to raise minimum wage to $15/hour for all workers and introduce paid sick days for all employees
  • Create 24,000 spaces before and after school child-care programs for children between the ages of 3 and 12
  • Create a universal provincial pharmacare program that would extend prescription drug coverage to all; would encourage the federal government to create a federal plan
  • Eliminate tuition fees at all NBCC/CCNB and reduce undergraduate tuition by 25 per cent at all public universities
  • Will introduce a carbon reduction program that puts a price on carbon and invests the funds into green energy and infrastructure projects such as electric public transportation, and rebates for low and middle-income workers
  • Would create a Property Tax Commission to review how property taxes are collected and the fairest way to distribute property tax revenue
  • Commits to adopt a 16 per cent corporate tax rate increase, an increase on the financial corporation capital tax by 2 per cent and a reintroduction of  the large corporation capital tax
  • Creation of a green innovation fund for New Brunswick researchers and engineers to develop “made in New Brunswick” green tech within public and academic institutions in the province
  • Set a land conservation target of at least 17 per cent
  • A commitment to ending glyphosate spraying and improving forestry practices
  • Creation of a public investment bank with a focus on economic growth and on closing the capital gap for small and medium-sized enterprises; the project would be financed through a $130 million investment through cuts from Opportunities New Brunswick and regional development programs
  • Prioritize the completion of a limited-access highway from Janeville to Bertrand; would cost $82 million to be allocated from the existing annual capital budget
  • Strengthen the Woodlot Owners Marketing Board’s ability to address the bargaining imbalance between the large forestry companies and private woodlot owners, as well as ensuring sustainable logging practices are implemented
  • Require all public institutions like hospitals and schools to adopt a “Buy New Brunswick” food policy
  • Aim to address the province’s food insecurity by encouraging agriculture and more local food purchases
  • Would return the Extra Mural Program, Tele-Care and Ambulance NB to government-run programs; the NDP would expand Tele-Care to increase the number of virtual referrals and health care services
  • The NDP would commit to creating a new government agency called Home Care Services to provide affordable home support services to seniors and others requiring support in their homes
  • Would repeal Regulation 84-20 and publicly fund Clinic 554 in Fredericton
  • Pledge to hire 100 new nurse practitioners in four years
  • Recruit 20 new family doctors and expand the medical program at the University of New Brunswick to train more doctors
  • Set a goal of lowering specialist wait times to the national average by 2030
  • Would reintroduce culinary arts, auto repairs, financial management and other life skill courses to primary and secondary school
  • Commit to adopting a “housing first” strategy to end homelessness, and expand municipal powers over social housing, prioritizing public management of social housing and curbing subsidies and grants for landlords who provide substandard housing
  • Would immediately raise all social assistance rates immediately by 10 per cent
  • Committed to ensuring equitable treatment of both linguistic communities in the implementation of all cultural policy
  • Reform and improve sexual education in the province’s schools to reduce teen pregnancy and STDs while increasing awareness of gender and sexual diversity and teaching the importance of consent
  • Expand oversight of police and correctional facilities with an emphasis on a system that reduces recidivism through rehabilitation
  • Would rename the Saint John River to the Wolastoq River, the body of water’s original name, as a measure of good faith to the province’s First Nations

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