Green Party keeps its 3 seats in New Brunswick Legislature
Green Party Leader David Coon wins for a third time in Fredericton South
Green Party Leader David Coon will be returning to his seat in the New Brunswick Legislature, along with the two members who sat with him in the last house, Megan Mitton and Kevin Arseneau.
Coon won the riding for the third time, finishing about 1,400 votes ahead of Progressive Conservative Brian MacKinnon, about 54 per cent, said he was grateful voters in Fredericton South had confidence in him.
"Now, I'm ready to get back to work for them," Coon said at Green Party headquarters in downtown Fredericton.
WATCH | Green Party Leader David Coon says his party is ready to work alongside Premier Blaine Higgs
Although the Green Party had hoped for breakthrough elsewhere and for another minority government, Coon was still pleased with the outcome. The party's share of the popular vote grew to 15.2 per cent from 11.2 in 2018.
Coon said he's looking forward to continuing work with Premier Blaine Higgs, who won a majority government, on the all-party cabinet committee that has been dealing with the pandemic response.
"As we go into fall with kids in school … we've got to be really on the mark," he said.
Although he's lost leverage he had when Higgs led a minority governnent, Coon said he will also keep pressing for food security, improved health care and access to mental health care.
Arseneau won again for the Greens in Kent North, with about 47 per cent of the vote, and Mitton won again in Memramcook-Tantramar, with more than 40 per cent of the vote. Last election, she won by only 11 votes.
WATCH | Green Party Leader David Coon re-elected in Fredericton South
Initially, Coon had said he was looking to more than double the Green seats in the legislature. The party had high hopes of winning Restigouche West, but it was taken by Liberal candidate Gilles LePage with 4,232 votes. Green Party candidate Charles Thériault came in second with 1,276 votes.
Still, Coon was happy with progress the party made, pointing in particular to the Moncton area and northern New Brunswick.
"That's a huge breakthrough for Greens in this province," he said.
In Coon's Fredericton South riding, Liberal candidate Nicole Picot was third with 674 votes,followed by the People's Alliance Wendell Betts with 195, and NDP candidate Geoffrey Noseworthy 88.
The Greens were the only party to promise a gender-balanced slate, with 25 female candidates.
Will continue push for racism inquiry
Green Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin who was also at the party's headquarters, was optimistic about the party's future and representing them at a federal level.
Atwin said she is also disappointed in Higgs's stance on an inquiry into systemic racism following the deaths of Chantel Moore, 26, and Rodney Levi, 48, who were shot and killed by police in New Brunswick eight days apart.
Coon said he will continue to push for a provincial inquiry, but Higgs has resisted one.
Green party promises
During his campaign, Coon promised everything from action on climate change, to increases in minimum wage, and sweeping tax, education and municipal reform.
David Coon after winning his riding: “Now we’ll need to get back to work.” Now he’s setting up for a live interview with <a href="https://twitter.com/HarryForestell?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HarryForestell</a> <a href="https://t.co/YwllClXmZn">pic.twitter.com/YwllClXmZn</a>—@HadeelBIbrahim
The party's plan covered a range of traditional Green issues, including a call to ban all new sources of climate-changing fossil fuels, including shale gas.
But he wanted to let schools manage their own budgets and to abolish government funding to companies that use tax havens to avoid paying taxes in New Brunswick.
During the campaign, Coon said his party would "spend money where it matters, not where it doesn't."