Proposals for pandemic economic recovery split along ideological lines - New Brunswick

As residents prepare to head to the polls in the midst of a global pandemic, one of the questions likely to weigh on their minds is what...


As residents prepare to head to the polls in the midst of a global pandemic, one of the questions likely to weigh on their minds is what party is best positioned to lead New Brunswick’s economic recovery.

Each party has its own unique proposal on how to approach recovery from the historic hit of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNB’s history associate professor JP Lewis says the candidate choice follows familiar ideological bents, and says this hasn’t changed much since 2018, even with a global pandemic.

“The central question, and the binary option between the Liberals and the Tories is less or more government,” Lewis said.

For incumbent Progressive Conservatives, that means less focus on direct aid and more towards creating a business-friendly climate.

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Early on in the pandemic, PC leader Blaine Higgs announced about $100 million in loans for businesses and a one-time $900 emergency benefit for those who had lost their jobs.

Since then, Higgs has focused on allowing the province to open up its economy so businesses could bring in revenue and workers can earn a paycheck.

“Everything I do here, I’m spending somebody else’s money to do it. The government doesn’t have any pot of money,” Higgs said at a campaign stop on Saturday.

“The real focus is how do we rebuild better? How do we actually get businesses coming back, not just to the norm of where they were, but what’s the best they can be?”

“It’s not about can I replace the revenue loss in every sector? No, I can’t. Does that sector have the ability to replace their revenue and move beyond it the future? That’s the analysis we make,” Higgs said.

According to Lewis, this isn’t much different from how the PCs tried to present Higgs during the 2018 election.

“He’s not making any spending promises at all. He’s sticking to the brand that he had during the 2018 campaign, which is fiscal prudence,” Lewis said.










Residents hope to see focus on Northern New Brunswick in 2020 election


Residents hope to see focus on Northern New Brunswick in 2020 election

Liberal leader Kevin Vickers says he would take a much more active role in the recovery effort.

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Vickers has said during the campaign that a Liberal government would be willing to spend in order to unlock federal infrastructure funds that require a matching provincial investment.

Vickers has also been critical of Higgs’ response to pandemic recovery. In particular, the Liberals have called for direct government aid for the tourism and hospitality sectors.

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At a Fredericton campaign stop, Vickers said an announcement on a full economic recovery plan would be coming soon.

“If ever there’s been a time for a federal government, for a provincial government to step up and invest in the economy, help out small business enterprises, now is the time,” Vickers said in Fredericton on Friday.

Vickers also applauded the Alberta government’s move to slash the corporate tax rate to the the lowest in the country.

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People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin said the party would like to see cuts to taxes and regulations to allow people and businesses to keep more of the money they make.

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During the campaign, Austin also expressed disappointment in Higgs’ decision to put off the 50 per cent reduction in non-owner occupied property taxes initially announced in this year’s budget.

Green leader David Coon said his party would focus on providing programs to directly help people as well as small businesses.

Coon referenced a phased in guaranteed livable income, which would begin for people with disabilities, as an example. He also said a Green government would make large investments in the creation of a green economy.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Newsrust: Proposals for pandemic economic recovery split along ideological lines - New Brunswick
Proposals for pandemic economic recovery split along ideological lines - New Brunswick
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