New Brunswick 2020 Election Campaign





The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is once again asking questions of the parties and candidates during the 2020 New Brunswick election campaign. Their responses will be posted in this section as we receive them.

We hope that this information will help you when you direct your concerns to your provincial representatives.

To become involved in CCSN’s political advocacy campaigns, please contact


Dear Party/ Candidates,

A recent CCSN-commissioned Leger survey of 1,243 Canadians revealed that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a crisis in essential cancer care across the country. Cancer patients, their caregivers and those awaiting confirmation of a cancer diagnosis faced and still face postponed and cancelled appointments, tests and treatment, causing heightened fear and anxiety, even as pandemic restrictions of are lifted.

Here are a few responses we received in our Leger survey from cancer patients living in New Brunswick:

“I had a throat scan cancelled, now I don’t know if I’m still in remission.”

“Crainte que le cancer soit revenu et de ne pouvoir avoir de suivi dans un délai raisonnable.”

The government of New Brunswick has a critical role to play in making sure that essential cancer care is not disrupted by COVID-19.

Cancer can’t be cancelled or postponed. The delay and cancellation of cancer care due to COVID-19 has triggered another public health crisis. Cancer care and diagnosis must continue during any public health crisis affecting Canadians to save lives.

If elected, how will your government provide the explicit inclusion of essential cancer care in a second or third wave of COVID-19 and in all crisis and pandemic planning in the future?

Responses will be circulated to cancer patients, caregivers and survivors in New Brunswick and included on our website at Links to your responses will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter.

“We recognize the devastating effect of the cancellation of elective surgeries for cancer patients. We must ensure that despite the additional pressures created by the Covid19 pandemic, people have access to critical surgeries and treatments. A Liberal government will ensure that priority elective surgeries and treatments continue with the protocols to keep patients, families, and health care workers safe.”

— The NB Liberal Association

“We recognize the devastating effect of the cancellation of elective surgeries for cancer patients. We must ensure that despite the additional pressures created by the Covid19 pandemic, people have access to critical surgeries and treatments. A Liberal government will ensure that priority elective surgeries and treatments continue with the protocols to keep patients, families, and health care workers safe.”

Steven Burns, Candidate Oromocto-Lincoln-Fredericton

“Like many New Brunswickers my family has been touched by cancer and ensuring that cancer patients have access to quality care throughout every stage of their treatment and recovery is extremely important to me. As a New Democrat I can firmly say that health care is a top priority for our caucus. Should we form government we are committed to working with all parties within the healthcare system; including our doctors, nurses and the public, to ensure that we have a strong plan in place to ensure necessary treatments and services will not be cancelled or postponed again due to Covid-19. We will work directly with our frontline health care workers to ensure that cancer patients can have access to the services they need while not putting them at higher risk of exposure to Covid-19. This includes a commitment to stronger funding for healthcare in New Brunswick and our plan for a universal pharmacare system so that patients can access the medications they require regardless of their employment status, which as we have seen with Covid-19 can change instantaneously during a pandemic.”

Juliana McIntosh, NDP Candidate Moncton Southwest

“Thank you for sharing this information with me, I think this is a really important issue. Myself and the NDP’s want to see more funding in the healthcare system so that these services are not understaffed and can see patients in a timely manner. We believe that New Brunswick’s healthcare system needs a comprehensive plan and we want to build that plan with you, the public, and stakeholders. We also want to move primary care into community based clinics, which would open up services in hospitals for the types of services you are discussing. We pledge to recruit more doctors, nurses, and health care practitioners.”

Courtney Pyrke, NDP Candidate Saint John Harbour

“Thank you for reaching out to me.  This is an important topic that has been brought up to be a few times over the last couple of weeks. I feel for cancer patients and their families who have been affected by these adjustments to care due to the COVID-19 challenges and restriction protocols. All New Brunswickers have a right to quality health care. The Green party has recognized that the global pandemic has brought into sharper focus the improvements needed to bring New Brunswick’s health care system into the 21st century. If elected we will be working diligently and persistently on these issues to ensure every New Brunswicker has access to the care they require in a timely manner.  Healthcare policy and reform are top priority for me and one of the main reasons I have chosen to run in this election.  I have the hopes and goals of making a positive and forward thinking impact in this area. I thank you for reaching out with these specific concerns!”

Melissa Fraser Green Party Candidate Fredericton-York

“When elected as the MLA for Gagetown-Petitcodiac and a member of the NB Green Party Caucus I would work to ensure the full spectrum of cancer detection, treatment and follow up services are supported and included in the planning for a second wave of COVID 19. I have neighbours who during this first wave experienced critical delay in early diagnosis testing, I have a brother- in-law currently undergoing chemotherapy in-hospital for acute leukaemia and another relative undergoing a stem cell transplant. The pandemic has impacted the nature of their care. The Health professionals and support resources have been exemplary however the pandemic has certainly affected their care. I am very committed to this issue and the action needed to follow it up. Thank you for your ongoing advocacy work and reaching out. Be sure and vote!”

Marilyn Merritt-Gray Green Party Candidate Gagetown-Petitcodiac

“Thank you for your message. I absolutely think that cancer care and diagnosis need to continue through potential future waves of a pandemic.  In 2014, right after my first provincial election campaign, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Rapid diagnosis and surgery extended his life for another two and a half years.  I’d hate to think that the postponement of some of these procedures could be costing people their lives. I helped him navigate the healthcare system before he passed away and saw many of the challenges he faced, which is one of the main reasons that I ran for office in 2018, when I was first elected as MLA. I can only imagine how difficult it is for patients and their families to deal with the extra stress and disruptions to care caused by the pandemic. I have helped constituents (and even people on the Nova Scotia side of the border who access care in NB) to receive care that was cancelled during the pandemic and agree that this needs to be a top priority. We must ensure that cancer care does not stop due to a second wave of COVID-19. I would work with stakeholders to advocate for it continuing through the second wave to ensure the healthcare system is responding to the needs of the patients. I appreciate you sharing the information from your survey with me, to help me better understand and be a better advocate.”

Megan Mitton, Green Party Candidate Memramcook-Tantramar

“As a cancer survivor this issue could not be closer to my heart.  My own appointments have been cancelled.  A close friend of mine is also going through delays in monitoring his symptoms with an oncologist as he awaits a diagnosis.  The stress and fear is overwhelming and we need to find a better way to manage cancer patients during the pandemic.  The Green Party believes in bringing the decision making back to the healthcare communities, so that we can address the needs of each region as their specific challenges dictate.  If elected, you can count on me to collaborate with the oncology department serving our region to determine the best plan of action to address the unique needs of the cancer patients in our community.  Take care, cancer patients.  I am always thinking of you.”

Rachel Pletz, Green Party Candidate Riverview

“Thank you for your question. I completely agree that these people cannot be put in such situations of fear and uncertainty. Your inquiry has prompted me to do some digging and take a look into the current situation here in New Brunswick. I am hoping that I may gain a better understanding of what it is exactly that cancer patients are facing at this time. I believe that, in the current phase of COVID response, services are running at full capacity. Do I have that correct? Looking back at early COVID response efforts, I believe that most experts would agree that we could have, with precautions, offered most or all services. That said, I don’t believe that canceling these services should be an option. Of course, I would have to educate myself much more on the topic but from what I currently know, that is my opinion. In the case of a second or third wave, barring any unforeseen obstacle, I cannot see why, with precautions, we could not carry on with the provision of these healthcare services. I am always willing to learn more and if you wish to send me additional information, I would most certainly consider it. Thank you.”

Troy Berteit, People’s Alliance Candidate Riverview

“I agree that Cancer does not wait for a resolution to problems like Covid-19. Cancer has a proven mortality rate and delaying treatment can mean the difference between life and death for people that need treatment. I believe Cancer treatments should be Essential Care and should not be delayed, especially since the Province of New Brunswick has been so successful in controlling the spread of Covid-19. The Province has shown the ability to operate under Covid-19 restrictions while still maintaining essential services. Cancer treatment is essential.”

Bill Edgett, People’s Alliance Candidate, Kings Centre

“We agree that every effort must be made to ensure critical care for patients with life threatening illnesses are able to access needed health care uninterrupted.”

Mel Keeling, People’s Alliance Candidate Fredericton West-Hanwell