EcoNews Special Election Edition—Questions to ask your local candidates

With the New Brunswick general election coming up on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, we wanted to help you find out where your local candidates stand on the environmental issues important to you as a Conservation Council supporter.

You’ve likely noticed things are a bit different this election. COVID-19 precautions mean most candidates won’t be knocking on doors. But that shouldn’t stop you from reaching out to candidates to let them know what it will take to get your vote.

Below, we’ve prepared some questions you can ask to see where your local candidates stand on climate action, indigenous justice, protecting nature (including our land, water, oceans and coastlines), and building our communities back #BetterThanNormal.

We’ve also prepared this spreadsheet where you can see the confirmed candidates for each party in each of New Brunswick’s 49 ridings, to help you get in touch with them.

See our list of questions below, and head here for more on why the answers to these questions matter.

Questions to ask local candidates

Indigenous justice

  • Will you commit to enacting an inquiry into systemic racism in New Brunswick as called for by Indigenous leadership?

Climate and energy

  • Will you commit to:
    • building an affordable, reliable, renewable electricity system, including coal phase out, by 2030?
    • aggressive investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy that will create good paying jobs for tradespeople in New Brunswick?
    • developing a program for homeowners for home renewable energy, such as solar power?

Local food

  • Will you commit to immediate action to build local food security, including:
    • developing programs to support small- and medium-sized farmers (particularly those involved in community-supported agriculture programs) and assistance specific for new farmers.
    • develop assistance programs for our inshore fishing and fish-processing industry in coastal communities, and develop an objective for increasing New Brunswickers’ consumption of local seafood.

Forest

  • Will you commit to developing a new Crown Land and Forests Act that works for all New Brunswickers, creates well paying jobs, is fair for private woodlot owners, includes a ban on glyphosate spraying in the Crown forest, protects water and nature, and keeps people working, hunting, fishing and enjoying the woods for years to come?

Water

  • If elected, what will your party do to ensure the full implementation of the 2018 water protection strategy, including a new Watershed Protection Act, a coastal protection regulation, and much wider buffer zones to better protect our rivers, streams and wetlands?

Oceans

  • What specific actions will your government take to protect coastal habitats under increasing development pressures and threat from the effects of climate change and extreme weather?
  • Will you commit to full EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and robust public consultation on any new, proposed salmon farm or significant change to existing salmon aquaculture sites?

Single-use plastics

  • Will you protect our ocean, parks, rivers and lakes by committing to banning single-use plastic bags in New Brunswick, as thousands of New Brunswickers have called for in petitions?

Thank you for talking to your local candidates about these important issues. If you are leery about voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, here are a few things to remember:

  • Elections NB is taking extra precautions at returning offices in light of the pandemic. Learn about that here.
  • You can beat the crowds and vote early. Advance polls take place on Saturday, Sept. 5 and Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. See the election calendar here, and see the list of returning offices here.
  • You can vote by mail. You must request a special ballot and ensure it is mailed in time to arrive at your local returning office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Learn more about voting by mail (including where to get an application for a special ballot) here.