Tax cuts and shale gas on the agenda of the Higgs government
New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor Brenda Murphy reads the Speech from the Throne, in Fredericton, October 25, 2022.
In the Speech from the Throne delivered Tuesday in Fredericton, the New Brunswick government announced that it will reduce personal income taxes as well as property taxes. He also clarified his intentions on several hot issues, including shale gas development, the review of the Official Languages Act and education.
In this speech read by Lieutenant-Governor Brenda Murphy, the government of Blaine Higgs presents its priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Here is an overview.
New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor Brenda Murphy arrives at the Legislative Assembly in Fredericton for the reading of the Speech from the Throne on Tuesday.
Fredericton announces plans to implement additional measures to reduce personal income taxes and property taxes. However, it does not currently quantify these measurements.
He congratulates himself on his budgetary rigor and indicates that it is the surpluses recorded over the last five years that allow these tax cuts to be made.
“[The government] will implement additional tax reduction measures and [help] New Brunswickers resist inflationary pressures.
— A passage from the Speech from the Throne
Last month, the government announced a record budget surplus of $777 million for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
Blaine Higgs' government says it wants take action on shale gas.
He says New Brunswick's natural gas fields are an excellent, clean and reliable alternative to using coal.
Fredericton hopes that shale gas can one day be exported – including to Europe, currently struggling with an energy crisis – from the LNG terminal in Saint John.
Blaine Higgs has never made a secret of his interest in lifting the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. He reiterated it last spring.
This moratorium has been in effect since 2014 following popular discontent and demonstrations in Kent County.
Protests in Kent County in 2013 disrupted gas exploration work. (Archives)
In the Speech from the Throne, the provincial government said it looked forward to working with Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders on this file.
Pabineau Aboriginal community leader Terry Richarson was visibly skeptical of the hand extended by Blaine Higgs.
It's really hard to see that we have a government that is not able to talk with the indigenous communities to reach an agreement on the tax but that' x27;he's going to talk to us about a natural gas exploration deal, he said at a Throne Speech rally in Fredericton on Tuesday.
The revision of New Brunswick's Official Languages Act, eagerly awaited by many Francophone organizations, is mentioned only once in the Speech from the Throne.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Legislative Assembly in Fredericton Tuesday noon.
In a brief passage, the government says it recognizes the importance of New Brunswick as the only officially bilingual province and will provide a response during the session.
In In an open letter released Monday, the Société de l'Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick and 16 Francophone organizations urged the Prime Minister to speak out on his intentions regarding the review of the law, saying he had to important accountability to the population.
The government indicates that it intends to clarify the law that governs strikes, lockouts and the designation of essential workers in the education system in order to guarantee the continuity of learning.
Amendments will therefore be made to the Law on Labor Relations in the Public Service.
It is about finding a balance that is necessary for families and the population, who rely on schools, the education system and other services in the province.
The government of Blaine Higgs wants to introduce some changes in New Brunswick schools.
In addition, Fredericton is somewhat clarifying its intentions regarding the future of the French immersion program in English-language schools in New Brunswick.
He says he intends to institute changes at the system level that will foster an environment […] where the dichotomy is broken down and programs that can be implemented consistently in other regions of the province.
It promises a curriculum that will enable all students to learn French so that they will have the level of fluency sufficient to carry on a conversation upon graduation.
More , the provincial government indicates that it intends to amend the Education Act to modernize the governance of the Anglophone sector.
Ex-Minister of Education Dominic Cardy wanted to introduce a bill that sought to abolish boards of education when reforming the school governance structure.
Fredericton said Tuesday that over the coming year, [the government] will be looking at what changes need to be made within the Francophone sector.
The government also says that he will institute changes in health and education to respond to unprecedented population growth in the province.
This will include a new law to allow more services to be offered in community clinics rather than overwhelmed hospitals, as well as new financial incentives for property developers to build more housing.
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