Chris Durrant said he’s running to represent the majority-student population in Fredericton South.
“This is the university riding in the province, and it should have a young representative,” he said.
Durrant, a 31-year-old lawyer, said he is still shouldering student debt and understands the perspective of students in a way other candidates cannot.
Originally from Lennoxville, Quebec, Durrant first moved to New Brunswick to attend Mount Allison University. He is a board member of Fair Vote Canada, an organization that promotes proportional representation, and has worked locally with the Save Officers’ Square Movement.
Durrant seeks to increase funding to home care, which he said would keep seniors out of hospitals and nursing homes, save money and decrease the provincial deficit.
“The two old line parties haven’t served the province well,” Durrant said. “New Brunswick needs fresh ideas, and the NDP is the party to provide them.”
The NDP last won a seat in the legislature in 2003, when leader Elizabeth Weir represented her riding of Saint John Harbour.
The party platform contains a plan to reduce tuition by 25 per cent through an additional subsidy by the provincial government, and would retain the tuition access bursary and other programs put in place by the Liberal government.
The NDP’s plan to compensate for the subsidy includes raising the corporate tax from from 13 to 15 per cent and eliminating “tax breaks” for wealthy New Brunswickers.
“Getting post-secondary education is beneficial to society; even if a student doesn’t end up using their degree, they are better democratic citizens for it,” Durrant said. “Our society benefits from people who are knowledgeable and curious about their world.”
The McGill law school graduate said he is very aware of Indigenous issues. He has worked for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee and taken courses on economic development in First Nations communities.
After completing his law degree, Durrant worked for the Ontario ombudsman’s office to deal with citizens’ government-related issues.
“I think I bring a unique perspective on effective government from that experience, and how to make the government deliver on what’s promised to citizens,” he said.
Durrant has pledged to bring additional local health centres into the provincial system to improve access to care. Situated in downtown Fredericton, Clinic 554 is the only place where people can access abortion services in New Brunswick outside Moncton or Bathurst, and is the only clinic that provides transgender-specific healthcare. Durrant said the clinic is struggling financially because the provincial government doesn’t fund abortions outside of hospitals.