“It’s good news. The last thing we need to do is be sending more money out of the province for services that we can provide inside the province … We need to reduce that economic leakage.”- David Coon
Article by: KATRINA CLARKE
Photo by: BNI ARCHIVE
David Coon is calling the province’s stalled talks with Sodexo “good news,” saying it could open the door for in-province business partners.
Green Party Leader David Coon says the province’s stalled talks with Sodexo is “good news” that could open doors for local food providers to get into the province’s hospitals. Coon’s comments come a day after French multinational Sodexo confirmed talks with the province over providing private food, cleaning and portering services in hospitals have hit a dead end. Speaking Wednesday, Health Minister Benoît Bourque said the deal is not dead but that the government is exploring other options.
“It’s good news,” Coon said of the stalled talks. “The last thing we need to do is be sending more money out of the province for services that we can provide inside the province … We need to reduce that economic leakage.”The Green leader has been an outspoken critic of the province’s plans to privatize the hospital services, advocating instead for a made-in-New-Brunswick solution. “There are tremendous opportunities that are now opened up as a result of this falling through,” he said.
He suggested Collaboration in Agrifood New Brunswick (CANB), a local co-op that distributes food from local farmers to 60 school cafeterias in the province, could fill the void.Philippe Gervais, president of board of directors with CANB, said the co-op would “absolutely” welcome the opportunity.”If the door would open we would be very happy to provide [food to] hospitals,” he said.
Gervais said CANB is already in talks with some New Brunswick hospitals.Coon said bringing in CANB would benefit farmers, rural economies and patients alike – offering fresher, locally grown food. “It’s a no-brainer that part of getting better has to be having good, healthy food,” he said.
MLA, Fredericton South and Leader, Green Party of NB