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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Local Federal Candidates Discuss Poverty In Saint John

All 5 Saint John candidates in the federal election taking part in a poverty and social policy discussion earlier today.

About 75 people coming out to the event which was sponsored by the Human Development Council.

Conservative Candidate Rodney Weston tells CHSJ News while their are many angles to tackling poverty in the city, one of the key methods is collaboration with frontline groups.

NDP candidate Rob Moir says he has a two-prong approach on how to reduce poverty: a functioning education and skilled job creation.

Meanwhile, Liberal Candidate Stephen Chase tells CHSJ News creating a climate where the economy can thrive is one way to begin addressing poverty in Saint John.

Green Party Candidate Sharon Murphy-Flatt says a guaranteed livable wage is needed to lift people out of the poverty cycle.

And independent candidate Arthur Watson Jr. says he would support any legislation that would reduce poverty in the city.

Organizer of the event Randy Hatfield says as the income divide becomes greater between the rich and the poor, poverty and social policy will become more of a key issue in federal politics.

Brief Power Outage On The West Side

A short power interuption on the West side today.
Nearly 1000 Saint John Energy customers in the dark for 27 minutes because of a failed lightning arrrestor on King Street west.
A spokesperson tells CHSJ News the lightning arrestor will be fixed at a later date.

CCNB Split On Energy Commission Recommendations

The Provincial Conservation Council likes some of the Energy Commission's recommendations and dislikes others.

Climate and Energy Coordinator Raphael Shay tells CHSJ News they find a wide range of points to improve efficiency programs and recognition that public transporation needs greater attention encouraging.

Shay notes the recommendations gut the province's renewable energy and climate change targets adding the commissioners are betting big on natural gas without recognizing the carbon footprint that comes unconventional sources like shale gas.

Unexpected Outage On The West Side

The power is out on the lower West side near the Port after an unplanned outage.

A Saint John Energy spokesperson tells CHSJ News they expect the lights to be back on by about 3:10 this afternoon.

Province Boosts Wellness And Sport Spending

The province's budget for wellness projects is going up by $808,000 and the sports plan sees a funding increase of 25 per cent. Wellness, Culture and Sports Minister Trevor Holder tells CHSJ News says they plan to double funding to sports over the course of their mandate.
He says increases are going to programs like Kidsport and Jumpstart so underprivileged youth in the province have access to recreation programming.
Holder says the numbers on childhood obesity, diabetes and mental illness in the province have been negative in recent months, he's hoping this funding will help turn that around and give us something positive to talk about.

Alward Says 75 Per Cent Of Flooding Assistance Has Been Handed Out

According to Premier David Alward, 75 percent of the provincial disaster relief dollars has been paid out to the victims of the December floods.
He tells CHSJ News the next big item on their list to getting Charlotte Country back to normal is infrastructure repair.
Alward says a final total isn't in yet but, early estimates were in the 50 million dollar range.
He says the costs could be even higher once crews get a better look at the damage in the spring weather.

Natural Gas Pricing Will Be Tackled By Energy Commission

The Alward government's energy commission says it's being told by the public to look at ways of reducing energy costs.
Commission co-chair Bill Thompson says one of the keys to reducing the cost of energy is to be more flexible in how we source energy through renewable sources provincially and partnerships with our neighbours to tap into their renewable energy sources.

Thompson says natural gas is being suggested as a transition fuel as we move from tranditional electrical generation sources in this province.

But -- one of the challenges in transitioning to natural gas is the cost of delivery -- he says the commission will deal with the regulation of natural gas prices in its final report on a ten year enegy plan due next month.
The public feedback document released by the commission this morning is available here.

Ignatieff To Visit The Port City Tomorrow

Michael Ignatieff will be in Saint John tomorrow.

CHSJ News learning the Liberal leader will be making a campaign stop in the Port City likely to lend support to local candidate Stephen Chase.

Ignatieff will be the first of the party leaders to visit the city with NDP Leader Jack Layton coming on Monday.  

Millrats Leave Premier Basketball League

The Premier Basketball League is likely no more after a dispute over the officiating during the playoffs.

Saint John President and General Manager Ian McCarthy says the Millrats have decided to leave the P-B-L because Rochester home referees were being used during road games involving the Rochester Razor Sharks and they were given an advantage on the court when it came to fouls and free throws.

In addition to that, the owner of the Razor Sharks also owns the League which assigns the officials.

McCarthy tells CHSJ News pro basketball will be played in Saint John next season. One option is to have all Canadian teams including Moncton and Halifax.

Another option, according to McCarthy, is to join the NBA Development League.

Arrest Made In South End Home Invasion

One person has been arrested and one is still on the loose after a robbery just before midnight at an apartment on Mecklenberg Street.

It has been described to us as a home invasion but police tell CHSJ News this was not random and there were no injuries.

Federal Election Candidates To Debate Poverty

The five local candidates in the federal election will be taking part in a debate and Question and nswer session about poverty and social policy today at the UNB Grand Hall.

The event is being sponsored by the Human Development Council and Executive Director Randy Hatfield tells CHSJ News there won't be a shortage of topics and it's important to hear from the candidates as there are mechanisms and tools in place that the federal government can use to deal with the poverty.

He says it's important to hear from the candidates on these issues because the federal government has a direct impact on them. The event begins at 12 noon.