Thursday, November 26, 2020

Province needs to put people first

With the second wave of COVID-19 having disastrous effects across the country, we need our elected officials to put the health and safety of the people of New Brunswick first.
We’re not suggesting the provincial government isn’t doing this, but rather stating more can be done.
Take for instance the recent reports of people being forced out of their apartments and rental units simply because a company or person recently purchased the building and wants them out.
In normal times, this is a terrible practice, but during a pandemic it’s disgusting and should not be allowed.
Our government could put a halt to this practice during the pandemic, but are unwilling to do so. From a recent CBC story:
Premier Blaine Higgs was asked Friday if there are any additional protections for tenants in orange-phase areas who are being put out of their buildings. His answer was no.
"No, not at all," said Higgs. "Not at this time."
The Nova Scotia government has put a cap on rent increases of two per cent and banned ‘renovictions’ during the pandemic.
We encourage the Premier to rethink his position and put protections in place until the pandemic is over. People have enough to worry about dealing with COVID-19, let’s not pile on more problems.
We also need our government to lead by example. While outbreaks have occurred forcing two zones back to the Orange phase, people are still going to work, keeping the province running. It is unacceptable for the Legislature to shut down early for the same reason.
While committee work would still continue, the optics of politicians giving themselves a break while New Brunswickers continue on at their jobs is awful.
Legislature sittings can be done virtually, it’s already happening the federal government level and in many other provinces. There’s no excuse for this not to take place in 2020. According to a report in the Telegraph-Journal, the hold up in making this happen is one member on the Legislative Administration Committee (LAC).
Here’s what Government house leader Glen Savoie said in regards to the report, “At the end of the day we’re looking at over 200 years of how this legislature has worked...we’re talking about the voices that New Brunswickers have given to these MLAs, and in order for something like this take place that would require unanimous consent of the house.”
We shouldn’t let how something functioned 200 years ago stand in the way of using modern technology to keep it running during a pandemic. As for the voices New Brunswickers have given these MLAs, it’s unfortunate the opinion one person can silence the rest of the province.