The ATCON Story: Reviving the Dead Horse

By André Faust

The ATCON story, Whoopee shit, there isn’t anything new here so why all the fuss, ah right! the upcoming election, let’s try to revive a dead horse to win the election. Bottom line since the ATCON fiasco of 2009 there has been one change of government who as well as the former government didn’t take any action, then back to the current government. Nothing has changed the money is still gone. The only winners are the banks who were able to recoup 80%+, New Brunswick was only able to get back a miserly pittance of 4%.

The ATCON story is not new, it is a common practice of Corporations to extort money from the government by using the threat loss of jobs, or the promise of job creation or both, but in the end, they never deliver.

Like others, Atcon understood the province desperation to keep and create new Jobs. They looked at the economically depressed Miramachi and promised that if the government would provide them with the money they would create new jobs and save the existing jobs. The old “Streets are paved in gold” sales pitch. In reality what they actually mean is “Streets paved in charcoal”.

The government of the day took the chance, even though, in the past, these corporations never followed through with job creation and in some cases actually closed their operation after getting the money, but the government took the gamble and lost (again)

Had ATCON been successful, the payoff politically for the government would have been great, but like rest of the Corporate extortionist ATCON took the money and ran. The consequence was the liberal government was replaced with the conservative government, but that still didn’t change the outcome, the money is gone end of story.

In a report presented by Canada’s conservative think tank the Frazer institute the reported that Over a period of nearly 20-years, federal, provincial and local authorities together spent almost $684-billion on subsidies, mainly to private corporations — and the impact on consumers was marginal at best. When you calculate in the tax loopholes and breaks that figure is tremendously higher than stated.


Proportional Representation Pure Democracy 5 Reasons


Presentation to the NB Commission on Electoral Reform, January 23, 2017

Thank you for the opportunity to present this evening. I am sure you have grown weary hearing presenters speak to the narrow focus of your charge; therefore I will speak to the reasons you must get on with recommending that proportional representation be immediately implemented in New Brunswick.

My reasons are five-fold:

1. I believe that the current first past the post system attracts (generally) poor candidates. There are exceptions, of course. But the system seems to appeal to the personality that is most prone to serving himself over others. We are saddled consistently with egocentrics and people with intense corporate connections and interests to serve. A mixed member proportional representation system would be more welcoming to average citizens with no special interests to benefit from the fact of being in public office.

2. Poor candidates lead to incompetent ministers and poor decisions. Witness the Atcon fiasco, brought about solely by elected MLAs who to this day remain in our government cabinet. Straitjacketed by the two-party system, whole regions of NB that are not on the inside of a Conservative or Liberal Registered District Association are shut out of the electoral process. Proportional Representation would allow more parties, more viewpoints, and hopefully, but not assuredly, better candidates to enter the race for public office.

3. Our current system is hollowing out the civil service. It’s hard to go to work every day wanting to do the right thing as suggested by science and evidence, only to be told by a co-opted Minister to develop a policy or program that serves a business or economic ideology, and in practice will result in adverse impacts. When you don’t see your values reflected in your work that is a recipe for suffering—by you, your family and most of all, your work. Right now one department has a motto that has arisen because of Ministerial incompetence, that is, “Loyalty over honesty.” I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

4. Your committee has discussed civics education for students who, I would argue, should be given the vote at age 16. I propose this education be extended to incoming MLAs. This would include extensive coaching on the Public Trust Doctrine (which is the principle that certain natural and cultural resources are preserved for public use, and that the government owns and must protect and maintain these resources for the public good.) AND their personal fiduciary duty to the public of NB in the management of these “resources.” Fiduciary duty, if taken seriously in NB, would not be allowing the NB government to lose many hundreds of millions of dollars on the so-called “management” of our Crown lands, also known as unceded Wolastoq territory. The Auditor General in her 2015 report has shown the government to be ignoring its fiduciary duty to the public and its biggest asset—the Crown forest– in its pandering to unsustainable industry.

5. Finally, in addition to recommending proportional representation be undertaken in NB, I would recommend your commission require changes to the NB Civil Service Act in order to address some of the shortcomings of our politicians and bureaucrats. One might think this Act would be the place to enshrine some of the selfless, universal principles of looking out for the public good and taking care of the commons for the prosperity of all but no, this isn’t the case. The Act is all about secrecy and keeping information out of the hands of the public. It is disgraceful and an embarrassment to New Brunswick. Its overhaul should be part of a major push for electoral reform—one that properly educates MLAs in how they are expected to conduct themselves while in the People’s House, and throughout their terms in office.

Thank you.

 Concerned Citizen

Finance Minister Hon. Cathy Rogers: Balance Budget by 2021 Told at Public Consultations forum

by André Faust (Nov 19, 2016)

The first of nine public budget consultations was launched in Fredericton Nove 14, 2016.  According to Hon Cathy Rogers the objective in having these public consultations throughout the province is to get feedback on the Liberal government’s financial strategy to have a balance budget by 2021.

In her presentation ,she explains;  the lenders have recognised the strategy as a viable and attainable  thereby improving the province’s credit rating.

The three questions that New Brunswickers are being asked about attaining the target date of 2021.

1. Should the plan to return to balance by 2020-21 be accelerated, slowed down or maintained as currently outlined?  If the timing of the plan is changed, how should it be changed and why?

2. Are there new or other priorities that should be invested in? if so, how should they be paid for?

3. with the ongoing focus on the need to address the effects of climate change, how should revenue raised from a carbon price be put back into the economy.

The feedback to these questions will influence if the liberal will continue with the existing budget strategy or modify the strategy.

The number of public consultations meetings is unprecedented in the province, which is in keeping with the governments committal to transparency.

The following publications outlines the rationale behind the consultation process.

Feedback and Suggestions can be made online or written
Online at:

Written at:
The Hon. Cathy Rogers
Minister of Finance
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton NB E3B 5H1

By fax: 406-457-4989

By e-mail:

The deadline for these submissions is December 8, 2016

Kris Austin continues to advocate for one license plate, two year vehicle registration option among changes to MVA during Albert county town hall speech

krisAustinThe leader of the People’s Alliance Party is calling on the provincial government to follow through on making changes to the Motor Vehicle Act that would save the province money and improve service for New Brunswickers.

In November 2015, Minister Victor Boudreau hinted with CBC that two changes could be coming for drivers. The first change was to go paperless if you shall choose, which would allow New Brunswickers to receive their renewal notice via email. The second change was to allow vehicle owners to register for a two year term, rather than the current annual renewal. The changes could save the province more than $500,000 annually, a long standing policy of the People’s Alliance Party.

“Not only would it directly save $500,000 per year,” says Party leader Kris Austin, “it would also indirectly save by freeing wait times which currently can be 30 minutes, an hour, or more. These simple changes would save the province money, resources and most importantly save people time.”

In early 2014 the People’s Alliance released its policy on changes to the Motor Vehicle Act, highlights included:

– Giving drivers the options to renewal their registration every two years
– Removing the front license plate requirement
– No longer requiring a license plate sticker
– Passenger vehicle inspections every two years on vehicles 6 years or newer, or under 150,000 kilometers

Excluding the registration switch, other changes revealed a total cost savings of over $600,000 per year. Factoring in Liberal estimates on the two year registration option, combined savings would be well over $1 million each and every year.

Austin says six provinces and all three territories only require a rear plate, making the New Brunswick two plate law among only a few.

“New Brunswickers see the front plate as redundant, costly”, says Austin, “We expect government to run as efficiently as possible and by holding onto practices that are outdated, holds us back. We encourage the government to adopt our MVA changes, which are just common sense.”