N.B. parties pitch election promises on Labour Day
Liberals, PCs, NDP leaders gear up for Sept. 27 vote
New Brunswick's three main political parties crisscrossed New Brunswick on Labour Day, trumpeting a raft of new policy ideas.
The Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democratic Party each announced a handful of new policies on Monday as they geared up for the Sept. 27 election.
Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward committed to a task force to address any problems with private and public sector pension plans.
Alward said the task force would be overseen by the finance minister and it would ensure tough new laws governing both public and private pension plans. He said private sector pension problems cannot wait for a solution.
"Moving now to ensure that pension incomes are secure will be very important to our provincial economy and the well-being of our seniors and aging population," said Alward said in a statement.
Seniors issues a Liberal target
Liberal Leader Shawn Graham and his made three policy commitments in both the northern and southern parts of the province.
Graham announced mining companies would get a three-year break on royalty payments for new mines, a $8-million energy efficiency program to help small- and medium-sized businesses.
Graham also said in a statement that "helping seniors is a major part of the Liberal plan for New Brunswick's future."
The Liberal leader announced in Caraquet that in a second mandate, the government would triple the number of seniors resources centres to 18 across the province, introduced a "seniors' bill of rights" and create positions called "seniors navigator" at Service New Brunswick outlets.
"Our seniors have worked hard," he said. "They've built this province. We will make sure that a Liberal government is there for them."
The bill of rights would "ensure seniors are always treated with respect and dignity," according to the Liberals.
Along with the point person at Service New Brunswick outlets to help seniors, the Liberals would also set up a toll-free number for them to receive help from the government agency.
Pay equity plan pitched
The NDP also used a Labour Day speech to launch a broadside against the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives for stalling progress on private-sector pay equity.
NDP Leader Roger Duguay said he would advance a Quebec-style pay equity bill.
Duguay said his party supports a pay equity act that would require businesses with more than 10 employees to put in place a pay equity plan within four years.
Businesses would be blocked from dropping wages to achieve pay equity under the NDP plan.
The pay equity law would also be monitored and enforced by a pay equity commission.
Duguay took aim at a former PC government policy on the weekend when he committed the NDP to increasing the amount people can receive if they are injured in an automobile accident.
The NDP promised to triple the cap on compenstion claims for minor injuries in automobile accidents to $7,500 up from $2,500.
That insurance cap was put in place by the former Bernard Lord Progressive Conservatives to push down insurance premiums in 2003.
Nova Scotia's NDP government recently increased the compensation cap to $7,500.
New Brunswick voters go to the polls on Sept. 27. The last legislature ended with the Liberals holding 32 seats, the Progressive Conservatives 21 and two seats vacant.