Office of the Premier
Throne speech highlights challenges and successes of past year, with renewed focus on priorities17 November 2020
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Today’s speech from the throne highlighted the challenges and successes experienced over the past year and focused on the government’s plan to build upon progress made in six priority areas.
Lt.-Gov. Brenda Murphy read the speech from the throne on behalf of the government, opening the first session of the 60th legislature.
“This session opens in the midst of unprecedented times, when our province and indeed the entire world, continues to face an unpredictable and prolonged global health pandemic,” said Murphy. “Amidst it all, New Brunswickers have proven to be resilient and strong. The people of the province have come together, working collaboratively to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic and to keep one another and our province safe.”
The speech from the throne detailed the provincial government’s legislative and policy agenda. The government has a plan to continue to build on six priority areas: energizing the private sector; creating vibrant and sustainable communities; delivering dependable public health care; creating a world-class education system; ensuring government is affordable, responsive and high-performing; and protecting the environment.
“We are proud that New Brunswick has received positive reviews from across Canada for our handling of the pandemic thus far and our early opening of the economy,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “We will continue to apply the lessons learned on how to deliver services more effectively, work more productively and leverage technology to continue to move our province forward. We know there is much work ahead of us, but by working together New Brunswickers will continue to rise to the challenges we face and show the world just how good we can be.”
Initiatives outlined in the throne speech include:
Energizing the Private Sector
- Increase private sector investment.
- Close the gap with the rest of the Atlantic region by increasing productivity.
- Diversify and grow exports from the current three per cent of companies in New Brunswick to closer to the national average of five per cent.
- Increase immigration and repatriation to grow the population base by attracting 10,000 people per year by 2027.
- Create a foundation for economic recovery and growth.
Vibrant and Sustainable Communities
- Work with local governments on areas identified as priorities for municipal reform.
- Further empower regions and communities across the province by looking for regional solutions for economic development.
- Continue working with the national housing strategy to ensure affordable housing solutions.
Dependable Public Health Care
- Improve access to primary care by leveraging resources within the health-care network in new ways.
- Reduce wait times for hip and knee replacement surgeries, with a goal of ensuring more surgeries are performed within the national benchmark for wait times of six months or less.
- Build a five-year action plan on mental health and addictions to augment existing facilities and services.
- Work with health specialists and advocates to develop a strategy to combat youth vaping in New Brunswick.
- Allow seniors to age in place by optimizing health-care delivery and support.
- Continue to advance the opportunities identified in Succeeding at Home: a green paper on education in New Brunswick.
- Ensure every child has the opportunity to learn both official languages for their future success.
- Ensure schools have the proper tools, resources and support required for blended learning.
- Continue to collaborate with the child-care sector and maintain the New Brunswick Early Learning Centres designation.
- Foster meaningful partnerships with First Nation communities to expand the availability and quality of Indigenous courses within provincial schools.
Affordable, Responsive and High-Performing Government
- Continue to move services online where applicable to reduce costs and increase flexibility.
- Help New Brunswick businesses do more business with the provincial government through the recently launched New Brunswick First Procurement Strategy and Action Plan.
- Operate cross-functionally with multi-disciplinary teams across government to develop broad solutions and accelerate implementation.
- Foster the use of technology to enable teams to be leaders in the digital workplace.
- Provide metrics for accountability and track and report performance to ensure transparency.
- Introduce amendments to the Climate Change Act to allow for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions for New Brunswick’s large emitters to reduce their emissions intensity by 10 per cent by 2030.
- Develop New Brunswick’s natural resources in a responsible manner in consultation with First Nations and groups across the province.
- Enhance online curriculum for hunter safety and education and improve real-time information about Crown lands, fish and game for a mobile and connected next generation.
- Encourage expanded glass recycling to help eliminate more glass waste from the landfills.
- Continue to work with industry and stakeholders to phase-in the ban on single-use plastic bags.
The complete text of the speech from the throne is available online.