N.B. NDP promise to balance the books, pay down debt
New Brunswick Liberal leader Brian Gallant in Dieppe, N.B. on Thursday, August 21, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Andrew Vaughan)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, September 4, 2014 10:18AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 4, 2014 4:05PM EDT
FREDERICTON -- New Brunswick NDP Leader Dominic Cardy unveiled his party's platform Thursday promising to pay down the debt, balance the books and reduce the size of cabinet from 17 to 10 ministers.
Cardy says New Brunswick would be back in the black under an NDP government by 2018, adding that they would identify areas that can be cut by $300 million. The provincial deficit is forecast to be $387.3 million this fiscal year.
The New Democrats would also set up 24-hour primary care collaborative health units that would be staffed by nurse practitioners, pharmacists and paramedics, the platform says.
"This is a document of common sense ideas that will help make the lives of every day New Brunswickers better," Cardy said in a statement.
The NDP released their platform one day after the Greens did. The People's Alliance of New Brunswick made their platform public in the first week of the campaign.
The governing Progressive Conservatives and Liberals haven't released their platforms yet.
Liberal Leader Shawn Graham campaigned Thursday on a promise to create 6,000 new daycare spaces, a commitment he says would cost $120 million over five years.
Gallant said more families would be eligible for financial help through the province's Daycare Assistance Program by raising the maximum net income allowed, which currently stands at $41,000. The party did not say how much it would raise that threshold by.
Tax credits would also be brought in to help offset the costs of infertility treatments and adoption expenses under the Liberals, Gallant said.
Smoking in public places frequented by children, including outdoor restaurant patios, public parks and beaches would be banned, he added.
"The measures we're announcing today are designed to encourage the growth of young families in this province," he said in a news release.
The Greens outlined their promises to fight poverty, saying they would raise social assistance rates by 10 per cent in 2015 and another five per cent in 2016.
Green Leader David Coon said the party would also eliminate clawbacks from social assistance, such as the withdrawal of prescription drug benefits for people earning up to $20,000.
Progressive Conservative Premier David Alward again promoted the natural resource sector as a way of stimulating the province's economy, saying spinoff benefits from its expansion will help small communities.