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Susan Holt is leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Party. Image: Submitted

N.B. Liberals set priorities for upcoming Legislative sessions

By Tara Clow Mar 1, 2023 | 4:13 AM

New Brunswick’s Liberal leader says there are five areas that they’ll be focussing on when they return to the Legislature in March.

Susan Holt outlined their priorities during a news conference last week.

“Healthcare continues to be a persistent issue in the province where New Brunswickers don’t have access to primary care. Those lucky enough to have doctors or nurse practitioners still struggle to get timely access to those people,” Holt says.

The Liberals plan to look for things in the budget and in the next session to show the provincial government is acting on the need for better access to healthcare.

She feels their recruitment of healthcare professionals isn’t urgent enough, “We are losing them quicker than they come in, so we are not seeing a decrease in the number of people who have access to care or a primary care provider. The action isn’t urgent enough and it’s not enough period.”

Holt adds, they’d also like to see the adoption of technology that would enable healthcare professionals to better serve New Brunswickers.

Another issue Holt says they’ve been hearing from New Brunswickers, is about the cost of living, “Rent seekers feel like they’re falling behind. You go to the grocery store, it’s no secret the prices are up. People are really looking at their bills and feeling the squeeze. We are looking for this budget to demonstrate a recognition of that need, a recognition of the challenge of cost of living that New Brunswickers are wrestling with.”

She wants to see some creative approaches to providing support to families that are struggling.

The provincial Liberals will also be looking for relief for the rising costs of energy and heating.

“The next top priority for us has been energy and the environment and specifically the lack of action on clean energy development and environmental progress. There’s been a lot of talk lately about our energy sources. Now that the carbon tax is going to be rebated to New Brunswickers, we’d really like to know in this budget, how this government is going to advance a more sustainable and cleaner energy for the province and a better plan to address climate, climate change for all of us,” Holt says.

The Liberals will be looking for tangible actions and signs that this budget will respond to the fact that New Brunswickers care very deeply about the province and its environment and how to produce energy.

“Education has also been a hot topic as of late. We’ve been talking to a lot of different teachers’ constituents, parents, experts, and the feedback from the French Immersion consultations was clear. It wasn’t a shouting session. It was great ideas from passionate individuals who said that our education system needs resources,” Holt expressed.

She says they’ll be looking at how to strengthen the education act to limit the amount of political interference in its governance, “That effort was shelved by the Premier in order to drive forward changes to French Immersion, so we would be interested in seeing that work revived. Since September we have been calling for stability in the education system.”

Holt adds they want to see the budget demonstrate that the government has been listening and hearing New Brunswickers when it comes to education.

The Liberal’s final priority for the upcoming session of the Legislature is the need for the government to take urgent action on affordable housing.

“The housing crisis is broad and affects many many New Brunswickers.  We want to see this budget indicate that the government recognizes the priority of affordable housing as an issue and is going to be advancing community-based solutions.   We need to take the housing conversation beyond just the private market and development and into local solutions,” Holt stated.


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