This year’s maple syrup will soon be on offer at the Market. Fiddleheads won’t be far behind. Spring always brings with it a sense of anticipation, and for me that includes the Spring sitting of the Legislature which resumed sitting on March 22.Wesat for only two weeks, just long enough for the budget debate and for cabinet members to table15 bills.
Among these bills is a proposal to cap rent increases to 3.8 percent, retroactive to January 1 and only until the end of this year. Ironically, my bill to cap rent increases was defeated less than 12 months ago. It is good to see the Premier change his mind on rent caps, though my bill would have provided permanent protection for tenants, while enabling landlords to apply for increases above the cap if they can demonstrate their costs have risen beyond the capped amount. You can see my speech in response to the budget here.
This year I prepared my first State of the Province speech, available on Facebook and You Tube. if the Premier is commenting on the state of the province, I wanted to also give my view. You can watch my State of the Province here.
The Standing Committee on Climate Change held hearings on updating New Brunswick’s 2016 Climate Action Plan. The report on what we heard from witnesses has been tabled in the Legislature and can be found on the Legislative Assembly’s website. It contains the recommendations for updating the climate action that the committee members heard from the presenters. Our job was to pass on what we heard to the Climate Change Secretariat to assist them in drafting the 2022-2027 Climate Action Plan. A recurring recommendation made by municipalities, First Nations, and community developers was that the Electricity Act be amended to permit the use of NB Power’s wires to transmit electricity from community renewable energy projects to power their operations. It should be available by June.
I am hearing from many constituents concerned that public health measures intended to slow the spread of COVID were removed too quickly. There is a high rate of absenteeism among both staff and students as COVID moves through our schools. The same thing is happening at the Chalmers Hospital with outbreaks on multiple wards and many staff off work isolating. I support the call of pediatricians in the province and the New Brunswick Medical Society to re-instate masking requirements in our schools, a requirement still in place for the schools of the three other provinces in Atlantic Canada.
It was great to see so many people participate in my virtual community town hall on the future of the old Justice Building. I wanted to ensure we got out in front on the thinking about its future before the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure got too far down the road in their planning. I look forward to resuming in-person town halls once we get to the other side of this current wave of COVID.
I am arranging a briefing on the new flood projections in Fredericton for local MLAs and city councillors by the Environment Department’s Climate Change Secretariat. I will share what we learn in my next newsletter.
Fredericton is hosting the East Coast Music Awards from May 4 to May 8th. I will be introducing the nominees at the opening reception with Emma Chevarie, who operates the website Music Runs Through It. If you would like to volunteer at the festival, you can do so on-line at https://www.ecma.com/ecma-2022/volunteers.
To keep up on what I am working on in the Legislative Assembly,and to see what my caucus colleagues are doing, visit www.greencaucusvert.ca.If I can help, call the office at 455-0936 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Spring everyone!