POLITICS
09/03/2014 10:55 EDT | Updated 11/03/2014 05:59 EST

New Brunswick Greens vow to ban shale gas development, cancel forestry contracts

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's Green party released its platform Wednesday promising to ban shale gas development, cancel all contracts signed under the province's forestry plan and make access to abortion easier.

The measures are among a suite of promises that the Greens say will improve sustainability, ensure equal access to health care and boost government accountability.

Other commitments include ending subsidies and tax credits for the resource sector and legislating stronger greenhouse gas reduction targets by phasing out fossil fuels and shifting to sources of renewable energy.

"The people of New Brunswick deserve new ideas," Green party Leader David Coon said in a statement from Fredericton. "This province has the talent, the values and the means to change."

Coon also vowed to repeal the regulation that requires women to seek permission from two doctors before accessing publicly funded abortion services.

The Liberals, NDP and governing Progressive Conservatives have not yet released their platforms.

The People's Alliance of New Brunswick released its platform in the first week of the campaign for the Sept. 22 election, which included a promise to balance the budget by 2017-18.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant said the party suspended one of its candidates after finding out he was charged with fraud and uttering forged documents for incidents alleged to have occurred in 2011.

Gallant said he only found out about the charges against Andrew Harvey, who is running in the riding of Carleton-Victoria, on Wednesday morning.

"What I am very disappointed in is that this was not disclosed to me or to the campaign team," Gallant said in Saint John, where he gave a luncheon speech to a business audience.

"Because of that, we think that action has to be taken and that's why we have suspended him from the Liberal caucus."

NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said in Fredericton that he would eliminate the small business tax within six months of taking office, a commitment he says would cost about $32 million.

"The new NDP firmly believes that it is government's job to create the environment that allows businesses to succeed and expand," Cardy said in a news release.

Premier David Alward campaigned in Moncton, where he said 13 charter flights depart weekly carrying skilled workers to jobs elsewhere — jobs he said a flourishing energy sector would bring back.

Alward said the development of shale gas and other natural resources would generate about $10 billion in private sector investment, which could encourage those workers to come home.