Name: Mark Browne
Party affiliation (provincial and federal): Liberal
Q. Do you believe there is more that can be done to combat climate change in Newfoundland and Labrador? Explain.
A. Climate Change is real, and requires action. But these actions must be part of a balanced approach, which is reflected in the Liberal Government’s Five-Year Climate Change Action Plan. As a District with significant industry- from the Come by Chance Refinery, to the Bull Arm Fabrication Site, to the Whiffen Head Transshipment Terminal, to the Long Harbour Nickel Processing Plant to the Cow Head Fabrication Facility, many jobs are dependent on the success of these industries. It is of paramount importance to me to protect and create more jobs in this District- what I often refer to as the “industrial heartland of the island of Newfoundland”. The plan our Government put forward for climate change factors into consideration the economic, social, and fiscal realities. I believe we must combat climate change, and do so in a responsible way.
Q. What is your primary legislative priority should you be (re)elected?
A. If I am privileged to again receive the confidence of the good people of Placentia West – Bellevue, my priority will continue to be job creation and generating economic activity within my District. In the previous General Assembly, I presented a notice of motion for a Private Member’s Motion with a series of actions to curb impaired driving and stiffen penalties. I was very pleased to see Government introduce these measures as part of a Government Bill and subsequently enacted into law. As a lawmaker, by working with local groups in our communities you can have a tremendously positive impact on the province’s legal framework. I’m proud that today our roads are safer and impaired driving has an even lower social tolerance than it did previously.
Q. With the death rate exceeding the birth rate, outmigration remaining prominent, and an aging population, what is your top priority to address demographic challenges in N.L.?
A. Newfoundland and Labrador indeed faces demographic challenges. But as the youngest ever elected Member of the House of Assembly, I continue to have great confidence in the future of our province.
If young people want to remain here and build a future for them and their families, that is quite possible. Look no further than our province’s blossoming technology sector. In Placentia West – Bellevue, we see many young people working in companies such as North Atlantic Refining, or seeking employment in new jobs being created in aquaculture or mining. This District and region will be an economic bright spot for many years to come. We have laid the foundation for this success, and now we must continue to build upon it. Whether its in the fishery, tourism, or the public sector, there are lots of opportunities for young people to seek employment and stay here. Job creation is key.
Q. Are changes needed to the existing tax system in Newfoundland and Labrador? If so, what specifically should change?
A. The Liberal Party is committed to reducing taxes as the financial disaster left by the Progressive Conservatives continues to be cleaned up. Look no further than Budget 2019, Government’s commitment to this ideal is made clear by its choice to remove the auto insurance tax. This is a good step, and we can continue to build on from there.
Q. Do you have any conflicts of interest that would need to be addressed upon (re)entering the House of Assembly?