A personal look at New Brunswick’s third-party leaders:
Green Party Leader David Coon
Growing up, New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon recalls travelling from his home in Montreal to his grandparents’ farm in southwestern Ontario.
It’s there, he says, he developed a deep connection to rural communities and the environment, leading him to study biology at McGill University and move east to work at the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.
For nearly three decades, Coon says he advocated for the environment and worked with farmers, woodlot owners and fishermen in the province to develop sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
In 2012, he was elected leader of the Green Party and two years later won a seat in the legislature — a first for the province’s Greens.
Coon has criticized the Liberal government for missing the boat on investing in the green economy while honouring contracts signed with forestry companies giving them a bigger slice of the wood cut from Crown land.
When the 61-year-old is not advocating for environmental causes, Coon likes to bush hog the fields on the little farm he shares with his wife, Janice Harvey, and recently watched the movie “Crazy Rich Asians.”
NDP Leader Jennifer McKenzie
It was the threat of a school closure in her local community that first prompted NDP Leader Jennifer McKenzie to enter politics.
The Fredericton-born tech entrepreneur joined a battle to keep schools open and went on to serve as the chair of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
The one-time vice-president of tech manufacturer Instantel Inc. and mother of three says she also volunteered in her children’s classrooms, was active on the home and school association and advocated for the needs of refugee children who came to Canada with little prior schooling.
Although she’s lived back and forth between New Brunswick and Ontario all her life, in 2006 she bought a house in St. Martins, a village on the Bay of Fundy.
The last book she read is what she describes as an unmemorable quick summer read, though currently “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles is at the top of the pile beside her bed.
The 55-year-old recently watched “The Life of David Gale” in French — she watches movies in French on her computer with subtitles on to help her learn the language.
To unwind, McKenzie goes for long walks with her dog Toby along the Bay of Fundy when there’s time.
Her guilty pleasure is dropping in on friends unexpectedly for a chat and a cup of coffee — or on Fridays, a glass of wine.
People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin
He’s a former church pastor with a populist appeal on issues ranging from bilingualism to taxes.
People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin attended a theology seminary in Maine and was an inter denominational minister helping schools and orphanages in Haiti before entering politics.
He co-founded the party in 2010 amid anger over the then-government’s plan to sell NB Power to Hydro-Quebec.
The 39-year-old almost won the riding of Fredericton – Grand Lake in 2014, losing by about 25 votes.
Austin has taken a stand on the economy, which he says is stagnant due to over taxation and a burdensome regulatory system.
“Our focus is to create a business environment that is competitive through a reduced tax burden for small-mid size business to allow investment and growth,” he says.