Ambulance services, shopping bags, student debt highlight Thursday's campaign trail

New Brunswick's Progressive Conservative leader is promising improved access to ambulance service if his party wins the provincial election on Sept. 24.

Blaine Higgs says changes are needed because ambulances have been parked when bilingual staff were unavailable.

Higgs says while it's important to provide health care in both official languages, some people needing emergency care aren't getting it.

He says a Tory government would ensure ambulances are not taken off the roads due to language issues.

The Tory leader says his government would hire staff for their skills and train for language.

Higgs says they would also examine other barriers hampering paramedic recruitment.

New Brunswick's Liberal leader says he would ban disposable plastic shopping bags.

Campaigning Thursday for the provincial election, Brian Gallant says banning the bags will help protect the environment.

Gallant says he would encourage the development of a new agricultural hemp industry to replace the bags.

He says with an international trend to ban single-use plastic shopping bags, a market will soon emerge for hemp-based bags, and New Brunswick could be on the leading edge.

Gallant also announced plans to boost internet speeds in rural areas.

New Brunswick's Green party is pledging to help ease the debts of university and college students if the Greens form government.

Leader David Coon says New Brunswick graduates carry student debts that are 50 per cent higher than the national average.

He says that debt load is preventing graduates from accessing capital to buy homes, start businesses.

Coon says his party commits to the long-term goal of universal, free tuition in the province's post-secondary institutions.

He says they would also eliminate interest on provincial student loans, as has been done in neighbouring Nova Scotia.

Coon says a Green government would also reinstate the tuition rebate program for recent graduates.