News

“Industrial users must pay their fair share of property tax in Saint John”

“Industrial users must pay their fair share of property tax in Saint John”, said NB NDP leader Jennifer McKenzie today in response to the release this week of the “New deal for Saint John” initiative.  The Gallant government must respond to the real concerns of Saint John and other cities and must work with all municipalities to create a fair property tax system.

I agree with Cathy Rogers statement that the Equal Opportunity Program tax reforms of the 1960s gives the province the role to provincial government  to design and set property tax classifications in New Brunswick as a way to insure fairness across the province. But this is not an excuse for doing nothing.

This is a problem created by a series of unfortunate decisions of the Gallant government culminating when it arbitrarily put a freeze on 2018 property assessments to avoid the scandal caused by its political interference in the assessment process.

Canaport LNG’s assessment was reduced from $8.1 million to $2.6 million, or a $5.5 million reduction, when US firm Nationwide Consulting Company – a company that prides itself in persuading local authorities to reduce property taxes on behalf of industry – was hired by the province to assess the LNG property.

As I called for last month, we need  a real alternative to the property tax scheme in our province.  We need a commission to review the role property tax on people’s homes plays in the revenue of provincial and municipal levels. We must ask, what is a reasonable tax that home owners and industry should pay?

It has been well documented that industry has for years not paid its way and I  commend  Mayor Darling  and the Saint John Common Council for raising this important issue.

 

For media inquiries  please contact:

David Brown, 506 651-8203

info@nbndp.ca

 

The NB NDP is Hiring!

NB NDP Executive Director

The New Brunswick New Democratic Party is seeking an individual to fill the position of Executive Director.

The Executive Director is the senior administrative position in the NB NDP, reports to the Provincial Executive and is responsible for all operations and  on- going development of the Party.

The successful applicant must have excellent communication skills and be capable of playing a leadership role in a growing political organization. Applicant should have previous political and electoral  experience in the NDP.

Salary commensurate with experience.

Applications must be received at  the NB NDP at info@nbndp.ca with resume on or before 4:30 pm on Friday,  November 17, 2017.

All applications shall be confidential to the hiring committee of the NB NDP.

Extra Mural Program

Media release – September 6, 2017

Jennifer McKenzie, Leader of NBNDP asks Federal Minister to investigate transfer of Extra Mural Program

Since the Gallant government announcement on Friday of their intention to transfer the management of Extra Mural Program and Tele Health to Medavie Blue Cross, many New Brunswickers have expressed concern to me and their opposition to the privatisation of our health services. The extra –mural program, which has been operated by the Horizon and Vitalite health authorities for many years, has earned praise across the country for providing a high quality of health care to residents in their own homes. It is the wrong move to allow a private company to operate a key piece of community health care.

Today I wrote to our new Federal Minister of Health, Ginette Petitpas-Taylor and asked her to investigate whether this transfer violates the Canada Health Act. In providing funding for health care services to the provinces the federal government is responsible for insuring that these services conform to the five principles set out in that Act. One of these principles is that health care services funded by federal and provincial governments are to administered by public institutions on a not for profit basis. There is no way that this deal today meets the requirements of the Canada Health Act.

This agreement must not be allowed to stand and we will continue to fight against any privatisation of our cherished public health care system.

Labour Day Message

By Jennifer McKenzie, Leader , NBNDP

Today on Labour Day I want to join with all New Brunswickers to honour working men and women and the hard work and sacrifice they make every day for all of us. I also want to acknowledge the leadership provided by the labour movement here and across Canada in improving the lives of all workers. Working men and women through their unions in the past have fought for and continue to fight today for better wages and working conditions , safe workplaces and universal social programs such as Old Age security , Canada pension and Medicare. Today is a day to pause and reflect on these accomplishments and to renew our support for all workers and their just struggles for better workplaces

There is still much to do. Today in New Brunswick we have too many workers in precarious jobs, working two or three jobs to make ends meet. We have too many workers earning less than a living wage and women in the workplace still earning, particularly in the private sector, less than male workers in jobs of equal value.

Today I accept the challenge to fight for better labour laws to protect all workers in this province . Our collective bargaining and employment standards legislation are now seriously outdated . Our workers compensation legislation is no longer working for many workers injured on the job and we need to return to its basic values and purpose.

Of particular concern is the failure of the Gallant government to address the issue of workplace violence. As an example , registered nurses , licensed practical nurses and others working in hospitals and nursing homes have to put up with violence on a daily basis. Unions in the province have called for violence in the workplace to be specifically covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act so that employers must take measures to lessen the risk of workplace violence . This legislation exists across Canada and it is time we had it in New Brunswick!

Let us all work in solidarity with workers and the labour movement to continue to fight for workers rights today and every day of the year.

Red, Blue Have Gotten New Brunswick Nowhere

Commmentary by Rosaire L’Italien, Interim Leader of the NB NDP in the Daily Gleaner

This past weekend New Brunswickers everywhere were celebrating New Brunswick Day, and the values for which New Brunswick has become known around the country. Values like linguistic and cultural diversity, our tolerance and welcoming spirit, our mutual respect and social justice, and the great progress which we have achieved together.

 

There are many reasons to be a proud New Brunswicker, there is far more that unites us than divides us and, for that we can all be very proud. But we still have much work to do to build a better New Brunswick that works for everyone, not just the few at the top.

 

This has become clearer than ever in the wake of this year’s property tax assessment scandal. Thousands of everyday New Brunswickers saw their property taxes skyrocket with incorrect assessments and no adequate explanation. Meanwhile there are some large corporations who have the resources to focus on and fight rises in their tax assessments haven’t been reassessed since the 1970s. If they were reassessed at the same rate as the average New Brunswicker then this province would have a ton of new revenue.

 

This is a failure not of the average citizen, but of the leadership by our elected officials. Leadership is about taking responsibility and we haven’t seen our Premier and our Ministers answering for this. As a result we see large corporations gaming the system while the average mom and pop stores are being hosed.

 

By failing to fix the tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy and embracing these radical corporate tax giveaways, the Gallant Liberals are putting the private interests of the wealthy few ahead of everyday New Brunswickers who are struggling to get ahead. This significantly undermines the government’s ability to provide funding for urgent priorities such as healthcare, education, affordable public housing, public transit, infrastructure and other important public services.

 

The NDP has pledged to review all aspects of our broken, incomprehensible and unfair property tax system in a process that would include municipal organizations, cities, professional property assessor and appraiser associations and other stakeholders.

 

The property tax assessment is symbolic of how the Liberals and Conservatives have governed our province. For 131 years New Brunswick has voted for the red and the blue parties into government over and over and over again. The lack of leadership in both of these parties is not simply a bug in this current government, it is a feature of both of these political parties; they are both simply old and tired and desperately need new ideas to guide this province forward. Just look at where they have left us; New Brunswick has one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada, some of the lowest literacy rates, the highest obesity, the oldest and fastest shrinking population, and all the while seeing wages shrinking while beset by a rising cost of living.

 

Now we have a new problem in which an alarming report came out last week which said that NB’s jobless rate was going down, but not because there are a whole bunch of new jobs, but because people are exiting the work force, either by retiring or simply giving up on seeking employment. This is an alarming trend for the future of this province, which needs to be a priority.

 

We have seen some unacceptable treatment of our seniors who built this province, like last week the Manoir Notre-Dame seniors home restricting toilet paper use to people who live there. This is symbolic of the way that our seniors have been treated. We in the NDP recognize the value our seniors bring to our society and the unique contributions they can make. That’s why we will work with seniors to enhance and strengthen the role they play in our communities while ensuring they receive the care they need in later stages of life.

 

We can do better! We have a beautiful province that is blessed with loads of untapped natural resources, most significantly our people, which have the potential to turn us into a powerhouse if only they were properly nurtured and supported.

 

The Liberals and Conservatives focus on corporate bailouts and photo opportunities. They like that system because it gives them the chance to cut ribbons and make big promises – but the reality of their failures are all around us. It’s a system that works for Liberals and Conservatives but it doesn’t work for New Brunswickers.

 

It is time for change! After 131 years of Liberal and Conservative governments we have a pretty good sense of the direction of them, and feel that the NDP can do better. We have for years put up with the struggling economy and endless scandals under the Liberals and Conservatives. Instead of focussing on the priorities that matter to New Brunswickers, priorities such as health care, good jobs, education, fixing our roads – they have cut them.

 

New Brunswickers can count on the NDP to stand up for a better, more equal New Brunswick where no one is left behind. Let’s continue to work together to build a better country and a better future for our children and grandchildren.

 

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