September 29, 2020
Statement from Green Party Leader David Coon on the new cabinet
FREDERICTON – David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, released the following statement following the swearing-in of the new provincial cabinet:
“I want to congratulate all of the government MLAs who have joined or re-joined the provincial cabinet on their appointments today. And I would like to recognize the Premier’s decision to include more women than have ever served in a provincial cabinet before.
My caucus and I look forward to working with the members of cabinet areas where we share common ground to improve the well-being of New Brunswickers, their communities, and the natural environment upon which we utterly depend.
As part of the cabinet announcements today, the Premier has re-organized a number of government departments.
The decision to separate Local Government from Environment and give the Minister responsibility for Local Governance Reform has the potential to strengthen local democracy and self-determination, should that be the mandate the Premier has in mind.
This decision also returned the Department of Environment to a stand-alone department, but this must not result in a reduction in its staff and capacity to function as an effective regulatory agency, and to implement the provincial action strategies on climate, water quality, and waste reduction. Restoring a stand-alone Deputy Minister to the Department of Environment will be crucial to ensuring its effectiveness.
I was dismayed to see the Premier eliminate a dedicated Minister with responsibility for Indigenous Affairs when there is so much work to be done to build a relationship that respects indigenous, treaty and land rights, while rooting out systemic racism.
With the major challenges we face to ensure New Brunswickers have access to the health care services, I look forward to working with the new Minister of Health Dorothy Shephard with whom I have developed a strong working relationship while she was Minister of Social Development.
I will continue as a member of the COVID Cabinet Committee, as it resumes its regular work on Thursday. We have much work to do in order to help keep New Brunswickers safe, secure and healthy as we navigate through the pandemic.”