FREDERICTON (GNB) – The 2020-21 provincial budget was passed today. The vote came after members from the recognized political parties in the legislative assembly unanimously decided to accelerate it. This decision was a result of the evolving situation the province is facing due to COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus).

“These are unprecedented times that require unprecedented leadership,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “We are moving forward in co-operation with the other political parties by putting New Brunswickers first and we are ensuring the effective continuity and stability of government operations. We will continue to work together, not only in the legislative assembly, but in the province to get through this critical time. Today’s actions reflect that all the members of the legislative assembly are committed to doing that.”

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented situation with the concerns over the spread of COVID-19,” said Liberal Party leader Kevin Vickers. “Ensuring the health and safety of people is our top priority. I think we are all focused today on a common goal of protecting and supporting New Brunswickers.”

“The details of the provincial budget became outdated in the last 24 hours, as our health system and public service need to rapidly draw on the money in this surplus budget to respond to the needs of New Brunswickers during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Green Party Leader David Coon. “I am grateful that all MLAs agreed to co-operate so that our health-care workers and public servants have the money they need to care for us.”

“Never before, in the lifetime of New Brunswickers, has there been a health crisis that has reached around the world,” said People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin. “It requires calm, patience and co-operation from everyone. It is a situation which goes beyond party lines. With this in mind, I and my fellow People’s Alliance MLAs Rick DeSaulniers and Michelle Conroy, are willing to do whatever is asked of them by the government to assist in reducing the numbers of cases this province could experience. Together we are stronger and so is the province as we work in co-operation, across party lines, to fight COVID-19 and for the health and safety of all New Brunswickers. We thank Dr. Russell and Dr. Muecke, along with their team at Public Health, for all they are doing during this difficult time. We will get through this together.”

House business will continue at the legislative assembly on Tuesday, March 17, when members will assess what is needed to support government operations in response to COVID-19.