St. Stephen (September 2, 2020) – Fiscal responsibility and good governance will be a priority and a guiding principle for a Liberal government according to Leader Kevin Vickers.
“While the pandemic has had a negative impact on our finances, we believe it’s important to bring the books into balance as soon as possible,” Vickers said.
“To do this we will look for operational efficiencies while growing revenue through a more robust economy. A guiding principle will be to leverage our dollars with the federal government, municipalities and the private sector. We will introduce a balanced budget by no later than the third year of the mandate.
“The recovery is far from over, so the impact on revenues and costs for government associated with the pandemic are likely to extend beyond the current budget year,” added Vickers. “We will ensure that our economic recovery serves as an effective bridge to a balanced budget. We will not balance the books on the back of the most vulnerable people of the province, or our struggling businesses, like Mr. Higgs is doing.”
Budget surpluses will be applied to both the provincial debt and priority programs. “We will work together with New Brunswickers to grow our economy, protect the environment and offer and a sustainable health care system in all part of the province, including rural New Brunswick.”
On the governance side, Vickers pledged changes to ensure more diverse representation in the decision making process for government moving forward.
“It is important that our government’s agencies, boards and commissions reflect the face of our province, “Vickers said. “Considerable momentum gained in this area stalled under the Higgs government. A Liberal government will ensure gender, language and regional representation on our agencies, boards and commissions.
“The table should reflect the society it represents. Not only is this the right thing to do, it will also help us grow our economy and make fairer decisions. People coming from different backgrounds bring unique perspectives and help advance change and innovation.”
Vickers also noted that both First Nations and women have long been underrepresented in the government’s decision making process.
“For First Nations there is the need for the development of a strategy that addresses economic growth, social development and resource sharing,” Vickers said. “A Liberal government will work with First Nations on a strategic plan to establish a framework for positive growth.”
Vickers also pointed to evidence that shows the pandemic has had a different effect on women than men.
“I want to ensure women in New Brunswick are able to be full participants in our Province’s economic recovery. To this end I will establish a committee of Cabinet will be established to develop and implement policies that consider the unique challenges women face during the pandemic and beyond.”