New Brunswick

Election Day 7: Leaders make consumer, business, labour and health-related announcements

Day 7 of the New Brunswick election campaign saw party leaders make consumer, business, labour and health-related announcements.

Parties put in a busy day of campaigning across the province

Keith Leblanc, NDP candidate for Fundy-the-Isles-Saint John West, joined NDP Leader Jennifer McKenzie during her campaign announcement in Saint John Wednesday, pledging pay equity, fair wages and protection for workers if elected Sept. 24. (NDP)

Day 7 of the New Brunswick election campaign saw party leaders make consumer, business, labour and health-related announcements.

Liberal Party Leader Brian Gallant, started Wednesday morning campaigning in Sussex, then headed to Moncton, where he pledged a four-year NB Power rate freeze for homeowners and small businesses.

In the afternoon, Gallant and his campaign bus made their way to Baie-Sainte-Anne, Allardville and Campbellton.

Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs chose the francophone town of Lamèque to make his big election promise of the day — expanding the current One-Job Pledge wage incentive program from one job per employer to provide tax credits for an unlimited number of newly created jobs for small and medium-sized businesses.

He then headed to Cafe Tazza in Shippagan, followed by a noon-hour opening of the party's Tracadie headquarters.

Higgs was scheduled to make two stops in Tracadie: Dé​panneur CM at 3719 Rue Principale, followed by Dépanneur Rapide, just down the street.

Lateer, he was expected to be in Bertrand at Village Historique Acadien and then end the day with barbecue in Caraquet riding at the campaign headquarters for Kevin ​Haché.

'Put workers first'

NDP Leader Jennifer McKenzie announced her party, if elected next month, will "put workers first" and reform New Brunswick labour laws to ensure people have stable work, are paid a fair wage and are protected if they get sick.

An NDP government would "immediately" implement a pay equity process in the private and public sectors, starting with the community care sector, McKenzie said during her campaign stop in Saint John at Fallsview Park.

"We need a law for the private sector right now or else these discriminatory practices that affect half of New Brunswickers will continue," she said.

"There should no longer be discrimination of any kind in workplaces."

Pay equity would improve ability to recruit, retain staff

The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity welcomed the commitment of equal pay for work of equal value and said it hopes the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives will also include pay equity legislation for the private sector in their platforms.

Seven out of 10 women work in the private sector and are not covered by the current pay equity legislation, according to chair Frances LeBlanc.

"Pay equity is not only a human right, but legislation would also create economic advantages to employers in improving their compensation system and their ability to recruit and retain staff," LeBlanc said in a statement.

Party leaders continued to travel across the province Wednesday during the 2018 election campaign. (CBC)

McKenzie also pledged to increase minimum wage to $15 per hour, conduct a comprehensive review of employment standards for non-unionized workers and make several changes, including:

  • Put an end to split shifts and call-ins without pay.
  • Introduce paid sick days for all employees.
  • Remove employer requirements for a doctor's note for sick employees.

​In addition, the NDP would review collective bargaining laws, renew the mandate of WorkSafeNB and end the three-day waiting period for injured worker benefits, she said.

Later in the day, McKenzie was scheduled to attend a barbecue fundraiser for St. Joseph's Hospital, followed by canvassing in the riding of Saint John Harbour.

In the evening, McKenzie planned to be at O'Leary's Pub on Princess Street for a Saint John East fundraiser.

Add nurse practitioners, community health care

Green Party leader David Coon launched his party's platform plank on "community-driven health care" at 10 a.m. at the Sackville Memorial Hospital.

It includes giving hospitals the authority to make decisions about how best to provide timely access and care to patients, eliminating the government-imposed caps on Medicare billing numbers so more doctors can open practices, adding 40 nurse practitioner positions, opening eight new community health-care centres staffed by collaborative teams, and integrating midwives across the province.

Coon was joined at the announcement by Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Megan Mitton, who is running in the riding of Memramcook-Tantramar.

Coon and May were then scheduled to host a volunteer appreciation event in Fredericton later in the day and a social gathering in the evening at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

People's Alliance of New Brunswick Leader Kris Austin met with the Golden Club of Fredericton in the morning and canvassed the Fredericton-Grand Lake riding throughout the day.

At 6 p.m., he was scheduled to co-host a town hall meeting in Oromocto with candidate, Craig Rector.

Voters head to the polls on Sept. 24.