THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2020
On Tuesday, Nov. 17th, Lt. Governor Brenda Murphy delivered Blaine Higgs’s first majority government Throne Speech.
The government thanked essential workers for their response to the COVID-19. This gratitude, however, was not reflected in government priorities. “The Common Front is disappointed that the throne speech contained no mention of improving employment standards for non-unionized workers, including essential workers,” says Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, Labour Co-Chair of the Common Front.
Rather than focusing on the people on the front lines of the pandemic or the most vulnerable New Brunswickers, the government prioritizes broadly defined reforms. “The speech included no mention of social assistance improvements,” says Johanne Petitpas, Community Co-Chair for the Common Front. “This, when social assistance rates remain well below a livable rate and social development continues to claw back the earnings of workers who depend on social assistance.”
Among other priorities, the Common Front calls on the government to:
- Clearly commit to raising the minimum wage and the wages of all essential workers;
- Reform the employment standards act to expand protections and benefits for workers;
- Raise social assistance rates to livable levels;
- Immediately enact rent control;
- Invest in nonprofit and cooperative housing;
- Conduct an inquiry into systemic racism in the province as requested by Indigenous leaders and communities;
- Actively work towards the elimination of all forms of discrimination.
The New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice works for more justice, better social policies and greater solidarity within society.
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