New Brunswick

We asked, you answered: Here are the top election issues for New Brunswickers

Climate change, taxes and health care were among the top recurring responses when CBC New Brunswick asked readers, “What federal election issue concerns you most as a New Brunswicker?”

Climate change, taxes, health care were the most common answers

The federal election is scheduled for Oct. 21. (CBC Archives)

Climate change, taxes and housing were among the top recurring responses when CBC New Brunswick asked readers, "What federal election issue concerns you most as a New Brunswicker?"

This extremely scientific poll conducted through our Facebook page garnered nearly 500 comments — and the vast majority weren't mean! — so big thanks to everyone who participated. 

Still want to have your say or ask a question? Be sure to check out our Facebook Live with experts on Tuesday at noon. You can send comments and questions right here.

You can check out all the answers in the post below:

The environment is top of mind

It's fair to say there really isn't an election-defining issue that's come about halfway through the campaign — in fact, we've already said that — but issues surrounding the environment, both at a national and provincial level, were the most common responses. 

Climate change was mentioned 83 times (plus there was also one commenter concerned with the state of New Brunswick's forests).

And it's no surprise. 

A recent Abacus Data poll indicated 55 per cent of Atlantic Canadians consider climate change an urgent issue, while 40 per cent described it as important. Just five per cent said it's not important, according to the poll.

While nearly all climate-related responses sounded the alarm about our warming planet, there were a handful that were critical of the carbon tax (though that's an affordability concern for some). 

Of the six major parties, two would scrap the Liberal-imposed carbon tax: the Conservatives and the People's Party of Canada. 

Here's a taste of what you had to say:

"What concerns me is that so much money is caught up in oil and gas that it will be very hard to transition off of it in time. But, the benefits of transitioning our energy grid to green energy would be huge. We could produce our own energy here in NB instead of shipping in Saudi oil."  - Addison F.

"Providing help for homeowners to install heat pumps and more efficient windows etc." - Ted S.

"Environment first. I have grandchildren." - Ann R.

"Climate change is #1 with a bullet. We here in NB could start serious transitioning to a green economy AND create jobs … That is, of course, unless the new federal government stays the course and ups their game." - Janet M.

"Floods. People everywhere suffer because of climate change. Now flooding in Fredericton and Rothesay are going to be the new norm. Along with everywhere in between." - Jon C.

The T-word 

Taxes was a common issue with 20 mentions in the responses, but the commenters weren't all singing the same tune. Some respondents decried new taxes under the Trudeau Liberals, while others argued for tax reform to target Canada's wealthiest.

But issues of affordability — be it housing, child care, student debt, unemployment, wages, even a nod to soaring insurance rates — were present in many responses. 

"Any more taxes for this province the only people that will be left is the elderly and the trees." - Marc M.

"Child care fees is number one for my family. I'd rather see it capped then receive the child tax benefit." - Tommy H.

"Cost of living and the low wages along with how are New Brunswick people going to pay for all these new taxes." - Ben C.

"The environment and tax loopholes allowing billionaires to avoid taxation." - Richard S.

The economy and population growth

The words "the economy" popped up only seven times, but there were several other comments focused on economic issues like job creation and boosting the province's sluggish economic growth.

There were also a handful of calls to address labour shortages through immigration. 

"Immigration and retention of Immigrants in New Brunswick are huge issues, as is prosperity. The province is facing so many challenges!" - Michael W.

"We need a real, solid plan to bring immigration to this province. We are turning into a glorified seniors home and desperately need people to want to immigrate here." - Steve P.

The provincial jurisdictions

Sure, this is a federal campaign, but New Brunswick's leaders might want to pay attention. Our poll (have I mentioned how very scientific it is?) saw a large number of pressing issues that primarily fall under the province's purview, like education.

In terms of number of mentions, health care was second only to climate change. New Brunswick's doctor shortage, wait times, seniors care, mental health services and ambulance services were all recurring themes. 

That said, many commenters called on the feds for more help in covering costs, from increased health transfers to universal pharmacare.

Each party has specific policies that touch on those issues — check them out here.

"Aside from universal pharmacare, which any new government *must* bring in, there needs to be a smarter solution to our current health care system. I know the province is investing in technology to meet some of our needs, but the federal government can make a big difference to that end." - Jason R.

"Health care and senior care. Seniors waiting in hospitals for placement in nursing homes is ridiculous and cruel." - Pat D.

The government's books

The most common followup question during campaign announcements has got to be: "And how will you pay for that?" Well, New Brunswickers think the same way, with many expressing concern for government spending, annual deficits and the federal debt (which sits at almost $696 billion, according to 

"The national debt, although basically nobody in this campaign cares about that." - Chris E.

"Government deficits, leaving limited options to battle an economic downturn, which many experts are expecting." - Win K.

"Fiscal responsibility (read, balance the budget)." - Stewart T.

The other issues

Many issues were mentioned just the once, including: candidate accountability, electoral reform, Indigenous matters, national defence, privacy breaches, racism and road safety.

While many commenters stayed true to the question and responded with a single issue, lots of answers looked like this:

"Income inequality, corporate welfare, tax inequality--loopholes for the wealthy and corporations, right to housing for all, green economy, environmental cleanup, global climate heating, electoral/political system reform--want elected MPs/parties to work together to create policies and solutions that support and serve the people--all people, adequately." - Sue M.

Maybe it's a sign that even without that one defining issue, New Brunswickers believe there's still a lot at stake.

If you want to compare the party platform, visit our handy new interactive tool. And have you tried the Vote Compass yet? It's a tool developed by political scientists for exploring how your views align with those of the parties.



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