New Brunswick’s political leaders spent their first weekend on the campaign trail touring various communities and making a series of promises.
Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward was in the northeastern town of Caraquet to announce a plan to boost the wages of seasonal workers.
The four-year pilot project would top-up salaries of seasonal workers by $2 per hour for up to 14 weeks.
“Our plan for strengthening seasonal industries will help 2,500 seasonal workers earn better wages, and it will stabilize the workforce for rural employers and industries that are the backbone of our communities,” Alward said in a statement.
During his first term, Alward faced criticism over how he handled the provincial response to federal changes to the Employment Insurance program.
Under the new rules, those who frequently claim EI need to do more to prove they're actively seeking work. Repeat claimants may also have to accept jobs that could pay 30 per cent less than their normal wages and be located an hour's drive from home away.
New Brunswick, which has a lot of seasonal industries, is traditionally one of the most heavily dependent provinces on the EI program.
Liberals want to expand moose hunt
The Liberals used the weekend to woo voters with the high-profile appearance of federal leader Justin Trudeau, who campaigned with Brian Gallant on Saturday.
Trudeau appeared with Gallant at several campaign stops around the province.
On Sunday, Gallant unveiled a promise targeted at rural voters and hunters. The Liberals vowed to increase the number of people who can participate in the annual moose hunt.
The Liberals want to return to the traditional three-day moose hunting season, but increase the number of licences awarded in the annual lottery.
“Many New Brunswickers have entered the draw year after year and many are disappointed when they aren’t awarded a licence,” Gallant said in a statement.
“We want to maximize the number of people who are able to participate in the annual moose hunt.”
The Liberal leader said the number of extra moose hunting licences will be based on the results of the 2014 hunt.
NDP promise pension changes
NDP Leader Dominic Cardy was in Fredericton on Saturday where he announced his party would introduce a bill to end the shared-risk pension deal for existing retirees.
“We have said that a contract is a contract is a contract and this piece of legislation shows we say what we mean and mean what we say,” Cardy said in a statement.
The Alward government switched the public pension plan to a shared-risk pension plan.
The shared-risk model includes increased contribution levels and higher age of retirement phased in slowly. Retirees maintain it's not fair to change their benefits retroactively.
In June, the New Brunswick Pension Coalition launched a lawsuit over the pension changes, alleging the Alward government breached the charter rights of 13,000 pensioners.
Cardy called the pension changes “an attack on seniors and lower income citizens.”
New Brunswickers go to the polls on Sept. 22.