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Eventful week in Legislature for new Memramcook-Tantramar MLA

The Green Party members, from left, David Coon, Kevin Arseneau and Megan Mitton are swarmed by media following the Throne Speech last Tuesday afternoon.
The Green Party members, from left, David Coon, Kevin Arseneau and Megan Mitton are swarmed by media following the Throne Speech last Tuesday afternoon. - Contributed

Megan Mitton responds to Throne Speech, says she will vote based on what is best for her riding

FREDERICTON, N.B. – Megan Mitton certainly didn’t sit idle last week as she got her first insider’s look at the provincial Legislature.

The new MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar said her first week in Fredericton was an incredibly busy, productive one – and full of firsts.

“I listened to the Throne Speech, asked my first questions in Question Period, gave notice for my first motion, made my first member’s statement, and gave my response to the Throne Speech,” Mitton said over the weekend.

She said she’s excited to finally have the opportunity to speak in the Legislature about things that matter to her and the people of her riding.

Because the Green Party caucus is so small, there is a lot of work to share between three MLAs but Mitton said she will continue to work hard to represent Memramcook-Tantramar.

Mitton said her first week was a huge learning experience, as she gained a better understanding of the process and how things work in the Legislature. She believes there may be plenty of others who are learning right along with her.

“Since we have a unique minority-government situation, I think many New Brunswickers are paying attention and are getting to know more about how our government works,” she said. “It has also been an opportunity for the traditional parties and MLAs who have been elected before to learn about how things can work differently in the House and how we can work together.”

Her response to the Throne Speech gave Mitton the opportunity to address many topics, from rural economies to health care to climate change.

She said as she analyzed the Speech from the Throne and sat down to write her response, she tried to answer the question: "Does this Throne Speech chart a path forward for my community?”

“I looked at it from several different angles, including health care, environment, poverty, economy, First Nations and municipalities,” she said. “We have a lot of things to work on and need to recognize that these things are all connected.”

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Mitton said she was disappointed the Speech didn’t clearly lay out a more solid plan for adapting to climate change and finding ways to mitigate the impacts of severe storm events and rising tides. She said she was hoping for strong leadership on this issue.

“We need to be bold, we need to put all people and the planet we rely on for survival above economic fears and illusions,” she said in her response. “We need to keep sure we keep asking, who benefits form this, who is being harmed from this, as we make decisions and chart our path forward and out of this mess.”

She said although the Throne speech referenced plans related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, it’s simply not enough.

“This is an important first step.  But we need to continue down this path and we need to pick up the pace. We need systemic change,” said Mitton. “There is a heavy responsibility on us to take action, to be bold, to be leaders. We need to build resilient communities.”

To hear Mitton's response to the Throne Speech, click here

Ambulance service in crisis

Mitton not only offered up a passionate 30-minute response to the Throne Speech, she also gave notice that she would be bringing forward a motion this week on ambulance services.

The resolution, to be tabled tomorrow (Oct. 31), calls for the government to launch a public inquiry into ambulance services in New Brunswick and to ensure the number of ambulances in each community is based on a community needs assessment.

Mitton pointed out the ambulance service is in crisis in the province, with many paramedics overworked, resulting in stress-related leaves of absence; an ongoing shortage of 150 paramedics, with an additional 125 to 150 out on long-term leave at any given time; 216,000 hours of overtime logged in 2017, at a cost of $8 million; and 7,500 instances of ambulances being pulled off the road in 2017, a 55-per-cent increase over 2016.

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