Party leaders pledge support for tourism, economy as N.B. election campaign continues
FREDERICTON -- Three of New Brunswick's party leaders are campaigning in the northeast of the province Saturday, as the second week of the election campaign wrapped up with more promises to support local tourism and economic growth.
Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs was in Tracadie-Sheila, where he pledged backing for the Veloroute cycling trail in the Acadian Peninsula and the province's tourism industry more generally.
"Our government understands that tourism is a significant part of our economy throughout our province and especially in this region," Higgs told reporters.
He pointed to a recent promise to renew a tourism rebate for New Brunswickers who vacation locally during the COVID-19 pandemic until the end of March 2021 as evidence of the Tories' support for the struggling industry.
"This extension will allow winter tourism operators to benefit the way our summer operators have," Higgs said.
Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers, who was in Miramichi on Saturday, promised that if elected, he would work to bring more people to live in New Brunswick.
In a statement, Vickers said his party aims to increase the population of the province by 10,000 annually over the next decade -- a total of 100,000 new residents by 2030 -- through the promise of good jobs and affordability.
The Liberal leader said he intends to work with the federal government to gain further autonomy over immigration and strengthen the economy.
"Our province's economic growth is closely tied to the growth of our population," Vickers said.
"Increasing the amount of people working and living in our province will also increase the amount of people visiting our local businesses and increase tax revenue that supports our education and health systems."
Green Leader David Coon was also in Miramichi on Saturday, where he promised to make building a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations a priority.
He said that if elected, the Greens would immediately set up an inquiry into systemic racism in the province's judicial system.
He also said the party would ensure that First Nations are treated as partners in managing Crown forests in New Brunswick and support Indigenous language training and immersion programs in the Wabanaki languages.
"It is time that we turn public acknowledgments that the Indigenous people of New Brunswick never ceded their lands into genuine actions that reflect this reality," Coon said in a statement.
Meanwhile, People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin was in the southwest corner of the province to campaign in St. Stephen, where he planned to meet with the local party members and go door-to-door to speak to constituents.
Friday was the deadline to register candidates and only the Liberals and Tories have nominated people in all 49 constituencies.
The Greens have 47 candidates, while 36 people are running for the People's Alliance and 32 are running for the NDP.
There are nine Independents and four with the KISS ("Keep It Simple Solutions") party.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2020.