As I type this, Lieutenant-Governor Herménégilde Chiasson is reading the Throne Speech to the members of the legislature.
A copy of the Throne speech can be found here while a news release summarizes the highlights is here.
I will post an update shortly with my thoughts.
Here are some interesting points, some that were highlighted and some that were not, which stood out to me:
- a lobbyist registry
- regulation of third-party election spending
- the capital budget will come with a full economic update, it will be on Dec. 11
- there will be pre-budget consultations this year (something that did not happen last year)
- beefing up Service New Brunswick by moving all government-to-public services there (an excellent idea), including business services (which should eliminate a lot of "red tape")
- pharmacists will be allowed to prescribe some drugs
- midwives will be introduced officially and legally in the province
- the separation of the role of Attorney General from that of Minister of Justice (begun under Bernard Lord) will be formalized by creating an office and mandate for the Attorney General by legislation
- property tax relief for those "least equipped to deal with the tax burden"
- a new academy to teach leadership skills to teachers and principals
- an implementation plan for post-secondary reform "early next year"
- improvements to immigratation (by reducing red tape and improving settlement assistance)
- $250,000 and a renewed focus on Mt. Carleton Park
- an official policy on tidal power
- possible allowance of hunting on Sunday
Here is CBC's take and CP's take.
It is a bit vague in key areas, but Throne Speeches tend to be vague. That said, we have now had a full year of studies and stating bold but vague objectives. As Shawn Graham would say, "the time to act is now!"
I hope the government moves quickly in this session to lay out the details of the change. Key to success will be the Population Growth Strategy and the Implementation Plan for Reform of Post-Seconary Education. I hope we get both of these out well before the budget and then put some money behind htem in March to ensure they are implemented quickly and successfully.
I would post the Tory and NDP reactions but they haven't posted a news release to their respective websites since August 7 and June 11 respectively. I've said it before and I'll say it again, is it really that hard to oppose policies? Why can't these parties get their acts together? If the old adage that a government is only as good as the opposition it faces is true, this government is in deep do-do.