St. Stephen – New Brunswick needs MLAs who aren’t afraid to represent the concerns of the people in their ridings, said Joyce Wright, who has been acclaimed as the candidate for the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick (PANB) for the riding of Saint Croix.
Wright offered as a PANB candidate for the area in the 2014 election. She said looking at the policies of the party, she was absolutely convinced “that this party is truly the best and only hope for the future of New Brunswick.”
“I have watched this beautiful province decline in terms of the economy, the state of education and health care, and in its unity of the citizens,” said Wright.
“We desperately need different results, and the only way we will get them is to put different players around the table.”
Wright said the biggest problem facing the riding is “elected representatives not actually being able to represent us.”
“They keep having to tow the party line on issues that weren’t platform issues or that are a detriment to the riding.” A case in point, said Wright, was the cost saving measure of closing the courthouse in St. Stephen to save the province $85,000 in security upgrades.
“Now they’re investing $2.5 million into the exact same building,” she noted, adding one government department has been relocated to another building for the two years it will take to complete the renovations. The government has refused to release rental fee information.
“We continue to see decisions made from the top down, from Fredericton down to the riding,” said Wright. “It’s the same old problem – our representative gets elected, goes there and has to tow the party line, has to regurgitate the talking points of the party regardless of how it’s affecting the riding.”
She said it was beyond time New Brunswickers had representation from those elected who could represent constituents without fear of getting kicked out of a political party.
“And without the fear they’re going to lose out on cabinet positions and committee positions which all add extra dollars to the pocket.”
Wright says she fully supports PANB’s ideals of fiscal responsibility and taking a common sense approach to listening to the people.
“The province is in a mess. It would be absolutely foolish for me to say I can promise this or that and promise rivers of money are going to flow, which seems to be happening in this riding provincially and federally right now.
“We can’t make those promises. What we can promise is a common sense approach, common sense solutions to right the fiscal ship, to bring unity back among the citizens, stop the division as much as possible.”
She said the burden of fulfilling the province’s financial promises falls on the shoulders of tax payers who all have to heed budgets in their private and business lives. She feels the province should do the same and stop spending more than it earns.
Wright said the provincial government is bringing in more than one billion dollars a year, but is spending $189 million more than that.
“Proper principles of fiscal management have to be applied in government.”
Wright, married for 29 years, is the mother of five and grandmother of six. She was born and raised and continues to live in the riding of Saint Croix.
She has served two terms as the president of the People’s Alliance of NB, and four consecutive terms on its board of directors.
Wright currently serves as the chair of the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission a position she does not have to relinquish unless elected.
Wright said while she’s “discouraged with state of province,” she is also encouraged by the number of people who have never voted before who are becoming engaged in the election process.
“People need to vote. The only wasted vote is the vote that’s never cast.”
She said the myth of vote splitting or throwing away a vote is “just a scare tactic” by Liberals and Conservatives and are an attempt “to discourage you from casting your vote the way you want to cast it.”
“It’s a lie perpetuated by the ones who have the most to lose, the two big parties,” stated Wright.
“We know the only way we’re going to get the change we need is by taking responsibility and changing the way we vote.”
One push PANB plans is for the immediate elimination of glyphosate spraying in New Brunswick forests, rather than a phasing out of the practice.
Wright said she applauds the recent arbitration ruling granting paramedics the right to jobs based on qualifications and seniority rather than if they were bilingual.
She said she stands by her statement made when she ran in the 2014 election that the problem was not bilingualism, but how the province was applying it.
“When the official languages act was introduced back in 1968, nobody at the time could have envisioned the technology that’s available,” said Wright.
“With the increasing focus New Brunswick has on immigration, it doesn’t make sense to restrict our ability to serve multiple languages to two. We can follow the lead of other jurisdictions and use real time translations to help us.
“We don’t have to deny anyone a job; other jurisdictions have proven that we can serve multiple languages in real time.”