Jennifer McKenzie Commentary on Throne Speech

The Gallant Liberals have an abysmal record on healthcare which includes capitulating into a deal with their federal counterparts that does not account for the fact that we are the oldest and fastest aging province in Canada. Likely to shield themselves from the effects of this as healthcare costs rise, they have privatized and continue to privatize parts of the healthcare system we hold dear, like Extra Mural and Tele-Care. Only an NDP government would be assured of keeping our healthcare system public.

Vague promises of working with the Medical Society to get more family doctors are much different from the very explicit promise he made in the last election that every New Brunswicker would have a family doctor by 2018. There’s two months left until 2018 and far too many New Brunswickers are still without a family doctor.

I applaud the decision to finally implement First Contract Legislation which has been an NDP policy for years, however, the implementation of this bill is now urgent because of the healthcare privatization initiatives that this government is implementing.

Violence in the Workplace Legislation is also urgent now due to government neglect of this issue. Too many women and men experience violence in the workplace and have to wait three days to qualify for compensation. As New Brunswick is one of the last provinces to implement this legislation, how can this government call itself a pro-worker government when it only gets around to implementing Violence in the Workplace Legislation in the last year of its mandate?

Of course, the NDP completely supports more investments in childcare. During the 2014 campaign the Gallant Liberals also proposed greater investments on childcare than this throne speech offered. In fact, Brian Gallant called it a “no-brainer” pledging 6,000 new childcare spaces and $62 million to help low income parents afford childcare. These throne speech promises pale in comparison to the Gallant Liberals’ own campaign promises, offering only a fraction of what they promised to do to get elected in the first place.