MIRAMICHI, N.B. -- New Brunswick's Liberal leader says he would ban disposable plastic shopping bags.

Campaigning Thursday for the provincial election, Brian Gallant says banning the bags will help protect the environment.

Gallant says he would encourage the development of a new agricultural hemp industry to replace the bags.

He says with an international trend to ban single-use plastic shopping bags, a market will soon emerge for hemp-based bags, and New Brunswick could be on the leading edge.

Gallant also announced plans to boost internet speeds in rural areas.