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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Council Of Canadians Wants Saint John to Become a Blue Community

The council of Canadians are looking for city hall to become the first Blue Community.
The campaign asks municipalities to resist public private partnerships in regards to water, and to promote water as a human right, not a commercial commodity.
Spokesperson Meera Karunananthan says her group wants Saint John to be the first municipality to get on board with the project, but says she understands why cities are hesitant about committing to the campaign.
She says her group is looking at ways to help stop the federal government from removing conventionalities on subsidies causing municipalities to explore P3's.
The Council of Canadians are looking to present to council at a later date, and if it is accepted the sale of bottled water in city buildings will be banned.

Video of Monument Unveiling

Business Minister Supports Contact Centres in Province

[Business Minister Victor Boudreau----File Photo]

The Business Minister says every industry has it's challenges, and no one is pleased to hear about the AVIS contact centre closing in Fredericton.
Victor Boudreau says the industry supplies close to $1.5 billion dollars of revenue for the provincial economy, and employs close to 19 thousand people.
Boudreau says the closure of one centre is a bump in the road, and the industry continues to need support.
Boudreau says being in a global recession every industry is facing challenges, but the province is committed to helping keep contact centres open for business in New Brunswick.
Boudreau was in Saint John to announce $1 million dollars in assistance for technology advancements to help companies with their commercial development needs.

Blaney Reacts to Doctor Deal

Rothesay Conservative MLA and Opposistion Health Critic is pleased that a new contract is in place for doctors around the Province. Margaret Ann Blaney says it never had to come to this point. She tells CHSJ News, a tentative deal was on the table and taken away. Blaney says this government used draconian approaches to circumvent the agreement even going so far as to bring in a peice of legislation to make that tentative agreement null and void. Blaney adds it would appear the Graham Government has developed a scorched earth policy where they hold a torch in one hand and a hose in the other and when things get too hot, they douse the flame.

Workers Monument Unveiled

             (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

Workers still on the job, retired or lost their lives while on the job are being immortalized. The model of a monument that will be erected near the Pavilion at Lily Lake has been unveiled. It honors workers of the past and present in bronze and one of the artist's, Fred Harrison says this piece serves as a symbol of optimism.

In the past 15 years in the Province, 14 people have been killed while on the job. Harrison says they will begin work on the monument right away and should be finished by September.


Contact Centre Industry Thriving in Saint John

Saint Johners working at contact centres shouldn't stress over the news of a Fredericton site closing it's doors.
AVIS in the capital city will be closing shop over the next few months, and the Executive Director of Contact New Brunswick Mike Bacon says close to 150 employees will be affected.
He tells CHSJ News, the industry is strong in Saint John.
Bacon says this city is not free and clear from problems, with the NCO centre announcing it's shutting down business. He says when the news of the closure was announced, his phone was ringing off the hook from other firms looking to hire employees.
Bacon says that's just how the industry works.

Construction of a Recycling Facility to Begin Next Week

(Photo Courtesy of The Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission website--

The final piece of the puzzle in the Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission's new recycling program will arrive by next Wednesday. A sorting conveyor will arrive in four parts beginning Monday for a new material recovery facility. General Manager Mark MacLeod tells CHSJ news the building will be for sorting and baling recyclables from the blue bins.

MacLeod says they are already seeing an increase in recycled materials since stream-lining their system to accept plastic, metal and milk cartons in the same blue bin. Construction of the sorting facility will begin Wednesday and table about one week to complete. MacLeod says it will be fully up and running by the end of November, and it will be large enough to accept twice as many recyclables as it currently accepts.

Changes to Collection Agencies Act

The provincial government is making life easier for people who are in financial difficulty and facing a collection agency. The province is changing regulations under the Collection Agencies Act and placing several new restrictions on collectors.

Agencies must immediately identify themselves, make all reasonable attempts to provide written notice of a debt before attempting to collect, and ensure they do not misrepresent or threaten court action. The changes also allow collectors to contact a person who is in debt at home from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., but never on Holidays. Collections Agencies are also not allowed to contact friends, co-workers, neighbours or family members without permission.

Deal is Done With the Doctors

After going over the numbers for the past month, the ink is now dry on a deal between doctors and the province. The deal includes annual wage increases of 3.75 per cent annually for four years, and a two-year wage freeze. The contract will run retroactively from April 1 of last year to March 31, 2012. The two-year wage freeze will come into effect on April 1, 2012. The same increases and wage freeze will apply to salaried physicians.

The doctors launched legal action after the government threatened to impose a two-year wage freeze. That came after the medical society reached a tentative agreement with the province that was never implemented, but was ratified by the doctors.

Banning Bottled Water

The Mayor of Saint John is bringing the issue surrounding bottled-water at city hall back on the table. Ivan Court and the Council of Canadians want Saint John to begin turning the tide towards protecting public water. The Mayor is holding a media conference later today to outline a new initiative that will resist public-private partnerships, promote water as a human right, and ban the sale of bottled water in municipal buildings.

Court says the Blue Communities Project is an opportunity for Saint John to become a leader in protecting public water. 70 Canadians cities, as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, have already voted to ban bottled water.

High Tuition Blamed for Lower University Enrollment

Stats Can says the average price of the undergraduate university education is over $4900, after tuition fees have increased 3.6 per cent. The New Brunswick Student Alliance says federal budget cuts in the 90's reduced transfer payments to provinces resulting in a $4 billion funding gap. NBSA Executive Director Melissa Cormier tell CHSJ News they want the government to increase their transfer payments.

The Association of Atlantic Universities released numbers showing regional enrollment of full-time students increased to 1.9 per cent for the new school year, while in this province they declined 0.2 per cent.

Wrongful Conviction Settlement Raises Red Flags

The Opposition Justice Critic says the secrecy surrounding the compensation deal reached for Erin Walsh is sending up red flags. A resolution was announced in the case between Walsh, the City of Saint John and the Province regarding his 1975 conviction in the death of Melvin "Chi Chi" Peters. Jody Carr says the taxpayers of New Brunswick deserve to know the details of how much compensation Erin Walsh and his wife will receive.

Carr says this case should have been resolved when the court of appeals announced Walsh's aquittal last year.