Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Liberals Respond To Throne Speech

By Tara Clow Oct 27, 2022 | 1:57 PM

(Photo: New Brunswick Legislature)

The leader of the Official Opposition describes this week’s throne speech as a bad Etch A Sketch drawing, with a rough outline but no details whatsoever.

Rob McKee provided the Liberal party’s response to the speech in the legislature on Thursday.

McKee says this government needs to be open and transparent, which he says has proven to be challenging for them.

“It is not just the Opposition expressing the sentiment. It’s coming from public policy experts, from the media, and from the people of New Brunswick. The premier openly admits that he doesn’t keep notes on major decisions, so there’s a disconcerting lack of information that’s being provided,” McKee says.

He adds that leaders don’t let personal biases control decisions and real leaders don’t make decisions in isolation.

“Recent revelations on the premier’s unilateral and overreaching control over decision-making is very concerning and should serve as a red flag about his leadership,” he says.

McKee discussed the many challenges of healthcare, with emergency rooms being forced to close or reduce hours of operation, and a shortage of doctors, nurses and medical specialists on the rise.

He believes the government needs to restructure the delivery of healthcare and invest in the recruitment, retention and training of nurses and other healthcare professionals.

McKee also touched on French immersion, which has been a contentious issue as of late.

The provincial government plans to scrap French immersion and replace it with a new program to ensure all New Brunswick children can speak the language.

McKee says early French immersion has been proven as the best way to teach a second language.

“As Canada’s only bilingual province, we should have the best French immersion program in Canada. The government can spin the results however they want, but the real data shows that the program works and is the best program for New Brunswickers,” he says.

“They said in their speech that they believe in making decisions based on evidence and relevant data. Is the program perfect? No. But can it be improved? Yes. Let’s not throw it out without trying to fix it.”

He also pointed out the Progressive Conservatives reopen this debate every couple of years, even after committing in 2018 to honouring the 10-year education plan, which expires in 2026.

“The flip-flopping doesn’t give me confidence then that they had a concrete plan and it doesn’t give me confidence now that they have one either,” McKee says.

“Stop tinkering with the system. That’s what the experts are saying and that’s what the auditor general is saying. What we really need is to resource a proven program with the tools it needs to make it accessible and inclusive to everyone.”

In his rebuttal, McKee also said distraction is the last thing education needs right now after the disruption of the last two years due to the pandemic.

He says the government is not listening to the people who are in the classrooms that are calling for stability.

The Liberals also feel the Higgs government is not addressing the issue of affordable housing, he says.

McKee says paying down debt is important, but it can’t be an obsession that prevents helping those in need and tackling issues dragging us down.

“Single parents, seniors and others on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, and students are being hit with rent increases that they can’t afford to pay. Homelessness is growing at a disturbing rate. We are hearing stories of people who are sleeping in tents and cars and in doorways, trying desperately to keep warm. Winter is almost here and more and more people will be on the street,” McKee expressed.

The Liberals feel recent investments in affordable housing fall significantly short of what is needed to meet the needs.

McKee says solutions from the Higgs government also lack courage and creativity.

“We don’t only need investment but we also need a creative and bold approach. The rent is too high. Property taxes are too high. If you have a high paying stable job, the cost of having a roof over your head has become a huge financial burden at best. But if you’re earning anywhere near minimum wage, the cost is suffocating,” says McKee.

He feels there needs to be a bold vision for New Brunswick where everyone has an affordable and caring place to call home.


Leave a Reply