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The New Brunswick Opposition Liberals unveiled a report on Jan. 17, 2024, highlighting 106 recommendations from a series of recent roundtables. Image: Zoom video capture

Liberals make recommendations on priority issues

By Brad Perry Jan 18, 2024 | 5:27 AM

The Opposition Liberals in New Brunswick are pressing the government to take action in six key areas.

They released a report Wednesday highlighting 106 recommendations from a series of recent roundtables.

“In short, our team is listening. We are bringing people together who are on the front lines of the issues New Brunswickers care about most,” Liberal leader Susan Holt told reporters.

“For us, this was really an exercise in making sure that our team has our finger on the pulse, that we’re listening to the people who are on the frontlines, that we’re bringing people together and that we’re taking action.”

Focus areas for the roundtables included health, education, housing, economic development, energy and the environment.

The Liberals said they chose those areas based on recent polling of the top concerns of New Brunswickers and input from caucus members.

Challenges identified in health included a lack of long-term planning and implementation, increased social pressures, primary care disincentives, scope of practice limitations, digital infrastructure, inclusion, and strained relationships with First Nations.

In education, the challenges included politics in education, the impact of social issues, long-term vision and planning, changing demographics in the classrooms, teacher shortages, and governance.

Housing challenges listed in the report were lack of affordability, lack of capacity, lack of provincial investment and long-term planning, and workforce challenges.

Challenges identified in economic development included a lack of a natural resources strategy, lacking infrastructure, impacts of local governance reform, and a lack of innovation investment.

In energy, the challenges included the lack of a long-term energy plan, setting the province apart, strained relations with First Nations, implications for small and medium enterprises, infrastructure and labour shortage, misalignment between NB Power and the Energy and Utilities Board, and a lack of energy education and awareness.

Environment challenges listed in the report were strained Indigenous relations, lack of capacity, gaps in engagement, lack of long-term planning, lack of provincial-federal alignment, affordability concerns, and growing disparity between industry, advocacy groups and New Brunswickers.

“We’re going to be developing motions to bring forward in the House. We’re going to be looking at how we can activate and push for the government to act out some of these recommendations,” said Holt.

Holt said the report has been shared with the ministers responsible for each area, and her team has offered to meet with them to discuss what they heard from New Brunswickers.

The Liberals plan to hold more roundtables on topics such as long-term care and property tax.

You can view the full report here.