Throne speech highlights / Third session of 56th Legislative Assembly (08/11/25)
Nov. 25, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Keeping commitments, carefully managing through the current economic downturn, and a renewed focus on and commitment to achieving self-sufficiency were the primary themes of today's speech from the throne that opened the third session of the 56th Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.
"This combination of reduced revenue growth and increased spending clearly represents a serious challenge for your government," said Lt.-Gov. Herménégilde Chiasson. "This
reality will, more than ever, require that your government remains focused on the most important priorities for all New Brunswickers. There is no question that difficult decisions
will be required going forward to keep expenditures under control and to focus on results that support government's self-sufficiency agenda."
The speech laid out a number of significant achievements during the government's first two years in office, as well as a new course for the coming year, with major programs and
initiatives in economic development, energy and education.
Among the achievements:
- government has completed 70 per cent of the commitments made in its Charter for Change platform;
- recent results of reading assessments show a seven percentage point increase among Grade 2 students across the province since 2006; 76 per cent of students met or exceeded the
standard for literacy proficiency this year, compared to 69 per cent in 2006;
- the New Brunswick Energy Hub is being created, with billions of dollars in energy projects underway and planned;
- 95 more doctors are working in New Brunswick than in October 2006 - the largest two-year increase in almost a decade - and more doctors are being recruited;
- government has kept commitments to low-income New Brunswickers, increasing the minimum wage by $1.05, investing in 590 affordable housing units, and improving dental
coverage for social assistance clients;
- a renewed long-term-care strategy, Be Independent. Longer, focuses on prevention and healthy aging to ensure that seniors can continue to live healthy and independent lives;
- in keeping with the commitment to build better roads, an agreement with the Government of Canada was signed to ensure that Route 1 will be fully twinned by 2014;
- government is committed to restoring the Petitcodiac River, and has invested $20 million in Phase 1 of the project, which is on track to open the causeway gates by 2010;
- a provincial multi-modal transportation strategy was recently released, fulfilling a Charter for Change commitment;
- a bilateral agreement was signed with Quebec in October to remove some of the barriers facing New Brunswick contractors;
- New Brunswick's population has increased for six straight quarters, and government is on track to achieve the goal of boosting the province's population by 6,000 by the end of
- a 10-year early childhood strategy for New Brunswick, Be Ready for Success, was developed in consultation with parents, educators and early childhood development experts.
"To ensure that even in tough economic times we are able to move forward on our self-sufficiency agenda, your government continues to focus on the three priority areas that are the
foundation of the self-sufficiency agenda: economic development, energy and education," Chiasson said.
In addition to introducing a capital budget that includes numerous important infrastructure investments, a thorough fiscal and economic update will be tabled to provide New
Brunswickers with a greater appreciation of the impacts of the economic downturn on the province.
"While not underestimating the impacts of the economic downturn here at home, or the uncertainty that this downturn has caused, your government assures New Brunswickers that
the foundation beneath our fiscal and economic house is strong," Chiasson said.
Among the highlights of the throne speech:
- a renewed language-of-work policy will be launched on April 1, 2009, to support the right of employees to work in either official language;
- a poverty reduction plan will be developed with the participation of individuals, community non-profit organizations and the business sector;
- a 10-year strategic plan for intelligent transportation systems will be introduced, fulfilling a further Charter for Change commitment to transportation;
- government is currently finalizing plans to provide 100 per cent high-speed Internet access across the province, and by year's end will propose a strategy to fulfil this
- an aggressive investment attraction strategy has been launched. Government remains committed to fostering innovation and exploring promising technology clusters such as
advanced learning, health and biosciences;
- a centre of excellence in advanced learning technologies is being developed to help attract outside investment, and further strengthen and take advantage of opportunities in this
- the New Brunswick Health Research and Innovation Council is being established, fulfilling Charter for Change commitments concerning health research investment, clinical
trials and the rural health institute;
- a series of measures will help put in place a stronger foundation for the forest industry when the North American forest sector rebounds. This includes a response to the Report of
the New Brunswick Task Force on Forest Diversity and Wood Supply;
- financial support programs for the agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries sectors will be transferred from Business New Brunswick to the departments most directly involved in
development activities in these sectors;
- an agriculture roundtable will be appointed to receive reports from the industry consultation process and develop a long-term plan for the sector;
- an aquaculture summit will be held to discuss the opportunities for the sector; a second action plan under the Fisheries Renewal Framework will be released early next year to
continue the renewal of this sector;
- a New Brunswick tourism strategy is being developed for completion in 2009 to ensure that tourism continues to realize its full economic potential;
- necessary support will be provided to ensure that Le Pays de la Sagouine can recover from its recent fire, and is able to welcome visitors during the 2009 tourism season;
- tax reform will be implemented in a manner that increases New Brunswick's competitiveness, helps create the economic opportunities necessary to bring New Brunswickers
home, and helps achieve the goal of self-sufficiency by 2026;
- a new energy policy will be ready for release in mid-2009;
- government affirms the commitment that the maximum average power rate increase for each of the next three years, through 2010, will not surpass three per cent;
- energy efficiency standards for both new and renovated commercial and residential construction are being developed; government is committed to creating new energy efficiency
codes for buildings and a new green building policy;
- new investments detailed in the Early Childhood Strategy Action Plan 2008-2009 are being made;
- new strategies and resources will be introduced to ensure greater achievement in literacy, numeracy and science. Parents will get clear information on how well their child's
school is doing in teaching reading, writing, math and science;
- one new community school per district will be established this year in both sectors, for a total of 14 new community schools. Stronger community partnerships will be cultivated
for trades and vocational education;
- a student code of conduct will be implemented to ensure that schools provide a feeling of security, respect for diversity, and freedom from bullying and intimidation;
- the $40-million, trilateral New Brunswick First Nations Enhanced Education Programs and Services agreement will be started this year to eliminate the student achievement gap
for Aboriginal students;
- the creation of a modern autonomous college system will be initiated, college course offerings will be substantially increased, and steps will be taken to allow the New Brunswick
Community College to become a full partner with universities in post-secondary education;
- a more flexible and responsive apprenticeship system will be created, resulting in a substantial increase in apprenticeship registrations. A standing forum on skills shortages will
be established to advise government on additional needs;
- a new Securities Transfer Act will be enacted to provide a modern framework for the transfer of shares, bonds and other securities, and promote interprovincial and international
harmonization of rules;
- personal health information access and privacy legislation will be introduced to balance the individual's right to confidentiality with the need to get information for legitimate
- government will receive the report of the Task Force on Access to Family Justice, and respond to its recommendations accordingly;
- a Building Code Act will be enacted that establishes a chief building inspector position, promotes consumer safety, and provides for provincewide adoption of the National
Building Code and mandatory inspections by qualified inspectors;
- improvements will be introduced to the assessment appeal process to make the process more balanced, fair and transparent;
- a Heritage Conservation Act will be introduced to improve heritage stewardship;
- owners and operators of communal water supplies and wastewater management systems will be required to report annually on how well they are operating their water and
wastewater management systems;
- over the course of the legislative session, government will release the report of the commissioner on the future of local governance, and will respond accordingly;
- a new Pay Equity Act will be introduced to ensure that pay equity legislation applies to all parts of the public service.
"Never before has the case been so compelling for increasing New Brunswick's self-reliance, for increasing our ability to be in control of our own destiny," Chiasson said. "While
global economic conditions mean the path has grown more rugged, the journey towards self-sufficiency continues. By working with the business community, academia, community
groups, municipal governments and the federal government; by working with New Brunswickers, we will build a better, more self-sufficient New Brunswick."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The complete text of the speech from the throne and highlights are available online. MEDIA CONTACT: Marie-Andrée Bolduc, Office of the Premier, 506-444-2286.