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MLA Report – 2023

by Lindsay.Demerchant

Spring is just around the corner.  In fact, we return to the Legislative Assembly on the first day of Spring. The Minister of Finance will table his budget on March 21st and I will give my speech in response Friday March 24, just before noon.

I had the opportunity to tour the new ICU at the Chalmers hospital several days before it opened.  What a wonderful improvement over the old ICU for patients, family members and the health team.  Congratulations to all involved.  The next step will be the opening of the new hospital wing with its state-of-the-art operating rooms and new labour and delivery facilities, along with a new neo-natal ICU.

Given the need for restructuring our health care system, I have been making the rounds to hear from the New Brunswick Medical Society, the Nurse Practitioners Association, Nurses Union, and Paramedics Association.  I had a wonderful meeting with Doctors Russ King, Steve Hart, and Robert Tingley to discuss their proposals, which include a rapid transition to collaborative care practices to alleviate the doctor shortage and the establishment of urgent care clinics in our hospital to take all the non-emergency patients out of the ER for care.  An essential element of these reforms would be to broaden the way nurse practitioners are paid by the health care system so they can become integral members of the collaborative care teams.

I know many who live on the western side of the riding have been wondering when steps will be taken to demolish the old Craig Auto and clean up the site.  I have been pursuing this for some years and am happy to report that an agreement has been reached between the Province and the City.  Details will be announced shortly.

On the eastern end of the riding there is an ongoing safety problem on Liverpool Street when people unfamiliar with Skyline Acres exit the Vanier Highway.  It is a 90 degree turn, so vehicles which exit at high speed may cause collisions on Liverpool Street or lose control and crash into residents yards. Between 2015 and 2019 there were three collisions on Liverpool, as well as one in 2022. No stats are available for 2020-2021.  This clearly dangerous situation requires improved signage and lighting along the Vanier Highway approach. I have been working with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to make this exit safer for everyone.

Fredericton continues to welcome newcomers from all over the world.  It has become clear that once the Multicultural Association of Fredericton has carried out its impressive work to help settle newcomers, there is need for ongoing support to help with integration into the community.  I have been working with several groups to facilitate this support, including Centre Communautaire Sainte-Anne, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year.

I want to highlight recent progress I have made at the Legislature.  Last year I was able to secure unanimous consent to declare September 30th Truth and Reconciliation Day.  Just before we adjourned for Christmas, my bill to provide paid sick leave for all who do not have it, came up for Second Reading.  It was referred to Law Amendments Committee to hear from interested groups that represent low-income workers, public health workers, and small businesses. The Committee recommended that, the Department of Post-Secondary Education, conduct a comprehensive consultation before the next steps are taken.

To keep up on my work in the Legislative Assembly, and to see what my caucus colleagues are doing, visit www.greencaucusvert.ca. If you need my help with anything, I can be reached at the office at 506-455-0936 or email me at david.coon@gnb.ca.

Happy Spring!