Proportional Representation Pure Democracy 5 Reasons

proportional-Representation

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: http://www.gnb.ca/finance

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: wwwfin@gnb.ca

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.”


Energy East a Water Shed Tragedy In The Making

Transcription by André Faust

André Faust:  Recently I caught up with Don McDonald a retired computer programmer analyst, as well an avid fisherman who has extensively fished the Miramichi River and the Nashwaak River.

Don now applies his analytical and research skills on the environmental impact that the construction the Energy East Pipeline could have on New Brunswick if this pipeline were to be constructed and put into service.   Don has spent hours getting his information directly from primary sources, Government of New Brunswick, Energy East. TransCanada and others.

To fully understand what the potential impact this pipeline can have on New Brunswick’s delicate water shed system you have to be able to visualize the New Brunswick water system including all of the tributaries that this pipeline can cross.

If we look at the map, I have indicated in red most of the major tributaries and small streams that flows through the province.

WaterwayPipeline

Here is Don McDonald to explain the how large of an area we are talking about and what the consequences can be should there is a failure in the pipeline system.

Don McDonald: Yeah, I was here to talk about water mostly, I start off briefly with the Miramichi, my interest has been I fished the southwest Miramichi and the Nashwaak river system for years and years and years.  A lot of people don’t even know.  I think that the pipeline will cross the south branch of the southwest of the Miramichi and will also cross a number of tributaries of Lake Brook and Lake Brook itself.

It runs through the woods all of this distance from Lake Brook for example right to Boiestown.  If you had a spilled that occurred in the late afternoon or early evening up in that area, Lake Brook in particular, maybe even the southwest branch it would reach Boiestown before anyone would see it.

Now their leak detection system the pipe can leak one and half to two percent before their automatic leak detection system kicks in.  One and half percent of one point one million barrel is sixteen thousand five hundred barrels. Two percent is twenty-two thousand barrels both are bitumen. So a lot of stuff could get down to Boiestown before anybody would see it.

Their secondary leak detection system and this is clear throughout the province is that they fly the pipeline, typically they would like to do it within two weeks, every two weeks, but a maximum could be three weeks.

I have a document, I can’t give you the link to it here that shows thirty-seven million liters at one and a half percent can come out of that pipeline before its detected by somebody seeing it on the ground.

This is a terrible, terrible disaster the southwest Miramichi is still a good salmon river, there are sporting camps, there are private land, there are people who make a living on that river.

Maybe more interested in the Saint John here I think, but I thought I should bring that up because it is an important waterway in the province.  As far as the Saint John goes I fished the Nashwaak and I know of a number of tributaries I’ve fished Cross Creek for example out there above Stanley, we were out there at Arnold brook, I knew of about Arnold Brook and McGivney Brook and Five Mile Brook and so on, ok, and they are others.  All of these little brooks have tributaries, all the tributaries in these brooks run into the Cross Creek.  The Cross Creek runs into the Nashwaak, the Nashwaak runs into and everybody around here knows exactly where the Nashwaak runs into the Saint John.

Now as far as other tributaries of the Saint John I don’t know a great deal about them the mapping is very poor as Marilyn said, but I know that Green River runs into it, and I know that the Tobique River runs into it.  I thought I had another one here. No, I guess those are the only other I know, but I there are other areas ok. Cambridge Narrows is an area for example.  It’s a beautiful spot and a big, big bunch of water down there and also Grand Lake that’s another huge body of water that this pipeline can leak into.

I spent a lot of time digging out all of this information. I dug the coordinates out of TransCanada’s previous filling for every crossing in New Brunswick, and there is two hundred and eighty-one water crossing in the province, so I loaded into Google earth so now I can draw it for the whole province in smaller pieces, but the problem is you don’t know, you can’t see the brooks well enough to see where they go.

There is a, SNB has maps available called New Brunswick atlas which you can get at, which is like a topographical map it has roads all of this and water, and all of that you can look at.  You can zoom in on that and sort of follow stuff, but still very difficult to know exactly what is happening now.

So we can look at a leak anywhere on this pipeline.  That was thirty-seven minutes. I worked out the worst case which was three weeks undetected at two percent seventy-three million liters.

The third I didn’t mention the third mechanism that they have after the flying, that’s after were seeing it or smelling it and here you are out in the middle of the woods miles from a leak, the leaks starts here and its miles to where anybody might see it a good part of the year.

Basically you’re at the mercy, there’s a leak, there is a lot of pipeline leaks all over the place.

Now the other thing about this stuff is that a lot of people don’t realize, they will try to deny is this stuff sinks eventually in water.  I got evidence of it from a paper that is published on the National Energy Board website.  They mix it with these delutiants they called them, could be propane, could be naphtha, could be various other all kinds (inaudible) and so on, they mix this stuff in it and heat it to get it to go through pipe.  If you don’t do that it’s like heavy tar you couldn’t get it through the pipes. So they mix it with these delutiants and their volatile, so when it leaks, give it a day or so or two or more pending, pending on outdoor temperature and so on, and these evaporate and then what’s left sinks and gets into the sediments into the rocks and so on bottom of the rivers.  So we have that to face on top of the fact that a leak is hard enough to clean up when it on the top.

If you want to find out, see what it’s like Google or YouTube Kalamazoo that all you have to do is look at Kalamazoo.  Enbridge had a leak there it has been a total disaster, I think it was 2010 they spent over a million dollars already trying to clean it up the stuff is still in the mud and sediment in this river, the Kalamazoo river.

That sort of summarizes what got.  I had a document, oh yeah, one more little thing, I had a document here, two documents it took me a lot of time to find all of the information in the initial filling.  I don’t know how long I spent rooting through their stuff because it is poorly index and I finally found what I was looking for, and guess what, they just filed their new documents, they overwrote all the old documents. All the links that I figured out in order to get this information, gone.  Now look through half again or two thirds again as much information to try and find information that I have already found and probably hasn’t changed or at least most of it.  I was going to give out the documents, but I can’t, It’s broken, they broke it yesterday.

I wondered why the day before I couldn’t access the information, I was checking to make sure that these links all worked and I couldn’t access the site at all, and then yesterday, or this morning when I got there they filed the new, they filed all these new documents so pieces I got broken, they broke it, my time is not worth anything to them I guess.

That covers what I wanted to say other than it would be very helpful people right from the Quebec border right clear down to the mouth, to wherever the pipeline ends in Redhead if people along that river there is a link on the Conservation Council.  I have (inaudible) Facebook or whatever, I can post on my page a couple of links to link to the NB Atlas and the link to the maps that the Conservation Council made that has the coordinates to all the various river crossing.  I can post that but it sure would be a big help if we could consolidate information by people who knew the layout of the land in various places going down.  I know the area that I was talking about, like I live in Stanly I know that area pretty well, but it would be helpful people living in the other areas documented this stuff and then we can get a better picture of the damage and where the damage would be all over the whole length of the pipeline.

That’s basically everything that I have to say well everything I dare say.

André Faust: We cannot forget that the forests are the lungs of the planet and the waterways and tributaries are the arteries and veins that keep the planet alive.  Thank you for watching.