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Monday, February 1, 2010

Energy Minister Jack Keir On N-B Power C-E-O David Hay's Resignation

Canada Post on Black History Month

William Hall is being thrust into the spotlight by Canada Post as we celebrate Black History month. He is being honored with a commemorative stamp as the first Canadian sailor and black man to receive the Victoria Cross, the military honour for bravery during combat in 1859 from the British Royal Navy.

Hall became the first Canadian sailor, the first Nova Scotian, and the first black person to receive the Victoria Cross from the British Royal Navy. On the stamp, Hall is shown against a seascape with the HMS Shannon in the background wearing his Victoria Cross, the Indian Mutiny Medal, the Turkish Crimea Medal, and the Crimea Medal.

Memorandum of Understanding on Wait Times

(Health Minister Schryer(Center) Cuts the Ribbon on New Accelerator)
                       (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

Provincial Health Departments in Atlantic Canada have a memorandum of understanding on the table when it comes to the issue of wait times for radiation treatment. Health Minister Mary Schryer tells CHSJ News, when patients are ready to be treated, the wait time will not exceed two months.

Schryer says the wait time around the Province is currently at four weeks with 90% of patients receiving treatment. The deal is expected to be signed and put into effect by the end of next month.

Temporary Change of Command at CFB Gagetown

   (GageTown Crest)

Even though his rank stays the same, there is a new man being saluted as the person in charge at CFB Gagetown. Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Weber is Acting Base Commander while Colonel Michael Pearson is participating as a member of the Board of Inquiry investigating the June 2006 Afghanistan detainee incident.
No word on when the board of inquiry will wrap things up.

Social Groups Looking At Impact Of N-B Power Deal

Social agencies are beginning to ask questions about the impact of the proposed sale of N-B Power to Hydro Quebec.
Energy Minister Jack Keir is suggesting it will benefit those living in poverty with lower power rates and new job creation opportunities.
But -- Randy Hatfield of the Human Development Council tells CHSJ News there are other issues to be addressed like the disconnect policy or the block rate system of declining cost versus usage.
Hatfield says various local agencies will have to start going over the proposed agreement more closely to determine the impact it will have on low income people.

Linear Accelarators at the Regional Now On-Line

(Horizon Health Network CEO Don Peters at the Podium)
                 (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

A huge part of the renovation work at the Regional Hospital is now finished. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held today which officially opens a specialized bunker to house two new linear accelerators. Don Peters is CEO of the Horizon Health Network and says this is a great day not only for Saint John but anyone needing cancer treatment around the Province.

The Regional will now house three linear accelerators with one of the older models staying in service. Total cost of the project is $14.4 million with the second phase of the proposal expected to be finished by April.

Watermain Break Along Prince William Street

A watermain break along Prince William Street is described as major and will take most of the day to fix. Those people between Duke and Princess Streets will be without water until the repairs are done. CHSJ News has been told the pipe that broke was cast iron. Drivers are being warned the water is pooling and freezing quickly.

Independent Panel Report on NB Power Deal with Hydro Quebec

A six member independent panel who evaluated the proposed NB power deal with Hydro-Quebec has concluded the deal is good for this province.
The panel, chaired by David Ganong and which included former Provincial NDP Leader Elizabeth Weir, was commissioned to study the proposed $3.2 billion sale of 10 NB Power plants, including the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station.
Ganong says the deal would result in lower power rates in the near and long-term and would reduce the financial risks associated with the aging facilities.
The panel is recommending the Energy and Utilities Board be given more authority to eliminate any government interference in its decisions. Opposition leader David Alward has been quick to dismiss the report as a public relations exercise.

Video Excerpt Of Energy Minister Jack Keir's Speech To Board Of Trade

Energy Minister Speaks to Board of Trade

     (Energy Minister Keir Speaks to Board of Trade)
                    (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

The praises of the NB Power-Hydro-Quebec second memorandum of understanding were being sung to a Board of Trade Breakfast today. The guest speaker was Energy Minister Jack Keir who says both companies and home-owners will prosper when this deal is finalized.

Many people opposed to the deal say it is former Premier Frank McKenna who orchestrated this proposal behind the scenes but Minister Keir says that is absolute nonsense.

Milk Costs More Beginning Today

If you're heading to the store for some milk this morning, make sure to take a few extra pennies. Starting today milk will be increasing by one cent a litre. The Farm Products Commission is calling the increase modest saying operating costs were kept down because of lower fuel prices. School milk prices will remain the same.

Black History Month

Today kicks off the beginning of Black History Month, and Prude is getting the word out on what's going on around the city. Program Director Jocelyn Stevens tells CHSJ news, one of the main goals for this year is raising awareness of race issues among young people. Stevens says the efforts by Prude go on after Black History Month, specficially teaching young people about the cultures of immigrants. Stevens says culture shock is a major concern for newly immigrated residents, and it's her groups job to try and ease the transition. Prude will also be hosting an African Culture exhibit at UNBSJ on February 25th.

Provincial Energy Minister Before the Board of Trade

(Provincial Energy Minister Jack Keir)
(File Photo)

Provincial Energy Minister Jack Keir is expected to make the case this morning for the revised, downscale version of the NB Power deal with Hydro Quebec before the Saint John Board of Trade. Keir says one big concern he has heard is who will control energy policy in the future. Keir says the province retains control of both the transmission and distribution systems as well as regulating rates. As such, he argues consumers should not fear huge rate increases after the five year rate freeze comes to an end. Keir vows you will see more projects in the Saint John energy hub with lower power rates and reduced taxes.
The Board of Trade expressed some concerns about the original proposal but has not staked out a position yet on the revise 3.2 billion dollar agreement.

Harbour Bridge Repairs

(Common Councillor Chris Titus)
(File Photo)

A Common Councillor is looking to gain the support of the provincial government to fund repairs on the Harbour Bridge. Chris Titus is submitting a motion to ask the province to agree to cost share the cost of repairs to the bridge with the federal government.If the province gets on board, Titus is suggesting the project get started this year. Also, in the motion is a request to Provincial Conservative leader David Alward to include repairs on the Harbour Bridge in his party platform in the September election. Common Council meets tonight in the council chambers at 6:30.