Government should not be in the business of doing business

krisAustinThe People’s Alliance is disappointed with the Gallant governments decision to create another crown corporation to sell marijuana at the exclusion of the private sector. Party leader Kris Austin stated, “Government should not be in the business of doing business. Government should be focused on healthcare, education, infrastructure and basic social programs, not booze and pot sales.” This latest announcement also contradicts Minister Rogers’ explanation on a recent political panel where she stated “The crown corporation will not be the retail model… the crown corporation will not be the distributor.” Yet based on today’s announcement, that is exactly what will take place. In the government news release Brian Harriman, NB Liquor CEO stated “NB Liquor is proud to have been chosen to be the retailer of recreational cannabis…”

The party is also concerned with potential pricing under this new system and the added cost to taxpayers. High marijuana prices will not eradicate the black market and will stifle the potential for economic growth in the private sector. Reasonable regulations and strong enforcement coupled with a private sector retail model that is taxed fairly is the best course to deter the black market, increase government revenue, and boost the economy.


 

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Kris Austin: The Negative Effects of Double Taxes on Small Businesses

 

By André Faust (July 06, 2017)

In a room filled to capacity at a public town hall meeting held at the New Maryland Victoria Hall, party leader Kris Austin told those in attendance that New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that double taxes small business causing some of the smaller businesses with small profit margins to close their door placing their employees out of work. Additionally, the double tax scheme discourages out of province and local small businesses from choosing New Brunswick as a place to do business.

According to Austin, there would be some loss of revenue for the province by abandoning the double taxes, but that loss would be offset by tax revenues generated by a growing economy as result of the increase in the number of small business that would be created as a result of the tax change.

In his presentation, Austin stated that the office of the Language Commission should be scrapped because the office is creating a polarisation between the Anglo and Franco communities rather than binding the two communities. Austin questions the efficiency of that office saying that recently the current Commissioner of Official Languages Katherine d’Entremont has personally made complaints about violations of the language act. The monies saved by decommissioning the office of the Commissioner of Official Languages could go towards the Office of the Auditor General which according to Party leader Kris Austin is underfunded.

Recently the Auditor General Kim MacPherson criticised the provincial government Department of Social Development’s procurement process involving a $13 million consulting contract which cost the province more than what it was expected to save.

Austin explains that the Office of the Auditor General is an independent body to serve as a watchdog over government spending and by keeping that office underfunded it limits the ability of the General Auditor from performing an in-depth analysis of government financial management.

Austin adds, the people’s Alliance while critical of the Commission of the language commission is not anti-French or anti-bilingualism but the party is against the polarisation of the two communities. He went on to say that it is important to address the needs of both linguistic communities and that the People’s Alliance is in the process of translating their website into French, the mandate of the party is to be inclusive of every New Brunswicker.


Kris Austin supports Official Opposition’s efforts to bring transparency to the Enbridge/Government settlement

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The leader of the People’s Alliance political party says the conflict of interest complaint against Premier Brian Gallant by the Official Opposition is welcome news, and taxpayers need answers.

Concerns were raised around the province when the government recently settled a lawsuit initiated by Enbridge, and it was discovered that the energy company’s lawyer was also hired by the Gallant government to oversee the transition of power when the Liberals took office following the 2014 provincial election. The same lawyer also was recently involved in the Liberals’ strategic program review, and was given a key role in the creation of what the Gallant government has called “priority delivery units”.

Austin says the conflict is clear. “Being so closely involved with Premier Gallant and the Liberal Government, while at the exact same time negotiating a lawsuit settlement on behalf of Enbridge against the very same government, clearly seems fishy. I welcome the Official Opposition’s conflict of interest complaint, and I will anxiously await the response from the conflict-of-interest commissioner.”

Austin also stated that given the history the Liberals have of making it difficult for Legislative Officers to investigate their ranks, he hopes the commissioner will have full ability to shed light on the matter.

Kris Austin says withdrawal of dual busing question positive, but leaves taxpayers on the hook yet again

Dualism

The leader of the People’s Alliance is pleased the Liberal government has abandoned its Court of Appeal case to segregate children on school buses based on which language they speak.

The government had sent the question of dual busing to the Appeals Court after it discovered an English school and a French school in Kent county were transporting kids together up until 2015. Then Education Minister Serge Rousselle put a stop to the practice and ordered extra buses for the area. Today however, the government decided, rather than continue the challenge, to allow local DEC s the ability to share school busing services if they should choose. DEC s are made up of representatives and parents.

Under section 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms it gives minority groups the right to govern their own schools, and subsections of the constitution guarantee education to be controlled individually by each official language group.

“I respect the right of teaching our children in their mother tongue, french or english here in the province” says Kris Austin, “ We are all equal partners, with common goals to make New Brunswick the best possible place to raise our families.”

Austin is critical of how the government handled the situation, which he called a lack of leadership from within the ranks.

“After spending thousands in tax dollars to file application, months tying up the court, and wasting the resources of various organizations, the government has decided to abandon the dual bus question,” says Austin, “Premier Gallant could have saved a lot of time and money by doing what many parents were asking and allowing educational districts to decide for themselves the best way to transport students to school, without ever involving the court. It shows a clear lack of leadership by the Premier which is unfortunate for taxpayers.”


 

The People’s Alliance Calls on Gallant Government to Halt Changes to French Immersion

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Kris Austin, leader of the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick

The Gallant government, in its first days of this sitting of the Legislature, once again reiterated its plans to reintroduce French Immersion into Grade one. This is being done against strong advice from the New Brunswick Teacher’s Association, from Dr. Miller at St. Thomas University, and from other experts in the field who have pointed out that the negatives for early immersion far outweigh any positives this program might achieve.

“Gallant’s motives have nothing to do with educational objectives; this is all about politics,” says Kris Austin, leader of the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick. “With our literacy rates in both official languages at levels so low that it’s mind-boggling, if Gallant were interested in the educational objectives, he would pay attention to what the educators and experts are saying. And what they are saying is that the immersion point should not be moved to grade one.” Austin also points out that this re-introduction goes completely against the recent educational roadmap which promised that education would be left to the educators.

Austin notes that there is far more common ground between the English and French-speaking communities of New Brunswick than the divisive policies of successive PC and Liberal governments suggest, and one area of that common ground is literacy. “We all want our children to become literate in their mother tongue first, not only as the means of preserving their own language, but to ensure they can communicate successfully and with confidence in that language.”

“Communicating successfully in one’s language doesn’t just mean speaking the language and having a good vocabulary. Successful communication skills include reading and writing…or, in other words, literacy. We are failing our children and our families in achieving this literacy, and neither our English nor our French parents are satisfied with these results,” continued Austin.

Also absent from the announcement was any mention of how many English-speaking elementary school teachers have to be displaced, and new French Immersion teachers hired, to implement this program. “Teacher displacement could be as high as one hundred,” says Austin. “To follow through, French Immersion will have to be offered in grade two as these students move along, which means more teacher displacement until eventually the Immersion program hits grade three, where it begins now.”

H­­e also noted that, since French immersion at any grade level is still not available to every student in the province, further changes to the entry grade are pointless until that disparity can be corrected.

“A People’s Alliance government would leave these decisions in the hands of the educators and experts, unlike successive PC and Liberal regimes,” says Austin. “They have spoken, repeatedly and emphatically. The entry point shouldn’t be changed, and the politics have to be taken out of the program.”