On September 15, the province held a provincial election which saw the emergence of a Progressive Conservative majority government.
There is contention among New Brunswickers about the results, with many expressing anger at the lack of proportional representation resulting from population growth in the province, and questioning the need for an election in the midst of a pandemic.
Many view that the concentration of population in certain areas, such as Fredericton South, is not weighted accordingly, which was a promise from the Trudeau government that has yet to be put into action.
Locally, Fredericton South saw Green Party leader David Coon re-elected. This will be Coon’s third term as Fredericton South MLA and, among other things, he pledges to continue his focus on improving mental health resources for students.
“More and more of the pressure has fallen on the shoulders of students themselves,” Coon explained at a recent electoral roundtable.
New Brunswick currently has only one active case of COVID-19, located in the Moncton region, and has reported no new cases as of September 19. Since the pandemic began, the province has seen 194 cases of the virus. Of that, 191 have recovered and two have died.
Social distancing precautions are still in effect, with most businesses requiring hand sanitation and masks upon entrance, and screeners asking COVID-19 related questions prior to entry.
While many businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, have found ways to cope with social distancing guidelines, many worry about what will happen as winter approaches and outdoor seating areas are forced to close.
On September 18, the province made a COVID Alert app available to residents. This app, available for Apple and Android users, will notify the user if they have been potentially exposed to the virus.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a one-time key which, using bluetooth technology at the users discretion, will alert others if they have been exposed.
The National Farmers Union in New Brunswick encourages people to seek education on the use of glyphosate in farming practices.
Glyphosate is a herbicide used to kill weeds, and there are allegations that it causes some health risks, such as cancer.
During the recent provincial election, some candidates pledged to ban the use of glyphosate, a pesticide used for spraying in both the agricultural and forestry sectors.
In a statement released for World Environment Day, Green Party leader David Coon expressed the importance of “farmers using organic processes,” which encouraged some to vote for him on the basis that he would ban the use of glyphosate in farming practices. Both the Green and Liberal parties pledged to ban the use of glyphosate spraying on public lands.
The NFU-NB fears that the lack of distinction between the use of glyphosate for farming and forestry threatens the livelihoods of local farms.
While the union aims to eventually eradicate the use of pesticides in farming, there is still a necessity for certain pesticides to ensure farms are able to survive and that food security is maintained.