November 17, 2016
On 7 November 2016 David Coon delivered his response the the Speech from the Throne for the 3rd Session of the 58th Legislative Assembly. Below is the text in the language in which it was spoken:
Monsieur le Président, je suis très heureux de prendre la parole aujourd’hui pour réagir au discours du Trône au nom du troisième parti à la Chambre.
I want to acknowledge that we meet on the unceded territory of the Wolastoqey people and that our relationship is governed by treaties of peace and friendship recognized by the Constitution of Canada.
C’est un privilège de servir la population de Fredericton Sud au sein du parlement provincial et siéger comme chef du parti vert.
My Mother, Iris Page, is sitting in the public gallery today, and I want to thank her for all she did to lay down a strong foundation for the person I am today.
Mr. Speaker, it has been a 162 years since responsible government was achieved in New Brunswick. It’s called responsible government, because the Executive Council – the Cabinet – is responsible to the representatives of the people, the private members of this Legislature. And through us – responsible to the people. It was around Charles Fisher, that Albert Smith from Westmorland County, William Steeves from Hillsborough , Leonard Tilley from Gagetown, William Ritchie from Saint John, Charlotte County’s James Brown and Miramichi lawyer John Mercer Johnson gathered to defeat what amounted to a Family Compact government. The Smashers, as they were known, brought responsible government to New Brunswick and they brought transformational growth to our economy.
Monsieur le Président, nous avons besoin de rétablir le gouvernement responsable, y redonner sa place et encore une fois amèner d’importantes croissances transformationnelles à notre province.
Over the years, the ability of MLAs to hold the Cabinet accountable has been eroded by the exercise of overly strict party discipline and the concentration of power in the Office of the Premier. This has undermined the point of responsible government. That is why I want to see the roles and responsibilities of private members clearly articulated through our rules of order in this session. I encourage the government to relax its use of the three-line whip so that members on the government side can exercise their agency, and fulfill their responsibilities as private members.
Mr. Speaker, I support many of the important social, economic and governance goals the government has presented in its Throne Speech.
• To create a better-educated population
• To reduce poverty
• To improve how seniors are treated and cared for
• To ensure New Brunswickers have access to mental health services
• To address the root causes of obesity
• To build the first truly digital government in North America
• To transition to a low carbon economy
Monsieur le président, j’appuie ces objectifs. Il est primordial que nous les atteignions en temps opportun et il est impératif que nous commencions immédiatement.
Toutefois, le discours du trône omet de donner des indices sur la voie que le gouvernement a l’intention de prendre pour atteindre ces objectifs. Il y a trop de promesses d’exploration et trop peu de mesures concrètes.