Throne speech highlights / Third Session of 54th Legislative Assembly (00/11/14)
Nov. 14, 2000
FREDERICTON (CNB) - - A more accountable, better-managed government, a new era of co-operative community involvement in health care, education and community economic development, a new taxation system and continued lower taxes are the main themes of the speech from the throne, delivered today at the Legislative Assembly by Lt.-Gov. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell.
The speech from the throne, which officially opened the Third Session of the 54th Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, focuses on managing smarter and creating greater accountability in government operations, bringing more decision-making on health care, education and community economic development back to communities, lower taxes and a fairer taxation system as well as introducing a new comprehensive energy policy and economic growth agenda.
Lt.-Gov. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell inspects the guard in front of the Legislative
prior to delivering the throne speech.
(Download 150 dpi image) | Audio Video
"This speech from the throne sets out a strong, focused and action-oriented agenda for New Brunswick based on the clear public priorities of New Brunswickers," Trenholme Counsell said.
"This is a 21st century agenda to create a more competitive and compassionate New Brunswick: a better place to live, work, and raise a family."
Following are highlights of the speech:
Honouring New Brunswickers
- A new provincial honour called the Order of New Brunswick will be created. The honour will recognize distinguished New Brunswickers each year who have made a significant contribution through their leadership and personal activity to the province.
Keeping the Vision
- A comprehensive accomplishments report entitled A Progress Report to New Brunswickers will be released, demonstrating the government commitment to more open and accountable
- A strategic goals and outcomes paper will be released for the first time. The paper will outline government-wide goals and outcomes of government policies, programs, and activities.
Empowering People and Communities
- New district education councils will be created to move education decision-making closer to communities, parents and students.
- New regional health authorities will be created next year to ensure stronger local and regional input into the health care system.
- New community economic development agencies will be established next year to ensure economic development strategies reflect local and community strengths and opportunities.
- A video lottery terminal (VLT) referendum bill will be introduced to give New Brunswickers a voice on the future of VLTs. The referendum will be held at the time of the next municipal elections in May 2001.
- A special one-time payment will be offered to the surviving spouses of workers whose workers' compensation survivors benefits were discontinued upon remarriage.
- A new tort of invasion of privacy will be created to provide greater protection for individual New Brunswickers.
- More public input and greater openness in the way judges salaries and benefits are determined will occur through amendments to the Provincial Court Act respecting the Judicial Remuneration Commission.
- Minimum employment standards will be improved through amendments to the Employment Standards Act.
Creating Jobs and Wealth
- Personal income taxes will be lowered for the second year in a row in the forthcoming budget.
- A comprehensive economic growth agenda for New Brunswick will be released.
- A key focus of the agenda is electronic New Brunswick (eNB), focusing on the e-economy; covering e-business, e-learning and e-government.
- A new Electronic Transactions Act will assist in the development of e-commerce by enhancing the use of electronic transactions and documents.
- To ensure New Brunswick is at the forefront of the new e-economy, a Premier's Roundtable on eNB and Innovation will be formed.
- A comprehensive, sustainable energy policy will be released.
- Rejuvenated trade activities will focus on key strategic markets in Asia, Europe, New England, and the southern United States.
Sustaining Our Health Care System
- Health care renewal steps already under way include:
- New regional health authorities will enhance local input into health care decision-making, and allow for more effective and efficient delivery of health services. Integrated health services will follow the patient, not the other way around.
- A longer-term blueprint for health care renewal and sustainability will be released early next year. This plan, being developed by the Premier's Health Quality Council, will set a clear direction for renewal to improve accessibility to health care services while delivering those services in a more effective and efficient way.
- Clean and safe water will remain a top environmental priority and will be enhanced through new regulations to protect municipal groundwater supplies and regional watersheds. Seventy per cent of funding through the Canada/New Brunswick Infrastructure Agreement will be dedicated to 'green' infrastructure, including improving municipal water and sewerage systems.
- A New Brunswick Early Childhood Development Agenda will be tabled with commitments to invest more in prenatal care, child care and supports for families and communities.
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act will toughen penalties for those convicted of impaired driving.
- A spring budget will keep the government commitment once again to invest more in health care and education and to continue to lower taxes.
- A separate capital budget will be tabled this fall setting out capital investment commitments in highways, schools, community colleges, health care, and other infrastructure priorities.
- A new Income Tax Act will be introduced this fall, establishing a tax on taxable income system for New Brunswickers.
- A number of the measures set out in the report of the Premier's Red Tape Reduction Committee will be implemented.
- A more comprehensive consultative approach to provincial/municipal relations is under way. This will lead to a new funding and governance relationship with municipalities and local service districts.
- The All-Terrain Vehicle Act will be amended to provide for the introduction of mandatory snowmobile trail permits.
- An All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Task Force will be established to encourage safe and environmentally responsible use of ATVs.
- The legislative framework of the province will continue to be modernized. Unnecessary and unproclaimed legislation will be removed from the statute books and existing acts will be updated, consolidated and revised.
- A report on the ABC review of agencies, boards, and commissions will be tabled.
Fighting for New Brunswick Interests
- A public discussion paper on the Equalization Program and the fiscal imbalance of Canada will be issued.
- MLAs will be asked to unanimously approve a motion supporting a strengthened equalization program.
- Greater regional co-operation will be pursued by working with the private sector to reduce barriers to growth in Atlantic Canada.
- New Brunswick will host an Innovators Forum next year with knowledge industry leaders from New England and Eastern Canada to enhance economic co-operation and collaboration in this sector.
EDITOR'S NOTE -- The complete text of the speech from the throne is available on the Internet at: http://www.gnb.ca/legis/busi/54/throne00-e.htm. Copies are also available by contacting Communications New Brunswick, Editorial and Web Services at 506-453-2240; fax, 506-453-5329; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. MEDIA CONTACT: Amanda Harpelle, director of communications, Office of the Premier, 506-453-2144.