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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Province Seeking Feedback On Minimum Wage And Prescription Drugs

The provincial government is looking for public feedback on two major topics that could effect households across the province.

A six-week consultation process on the possible introduction of a special minimum wage for servers earning tips is underway and the province wants your thoughts on the issue.

Ontario, Qu├ębec, British Columbia and Alberta have a tip differential minimum wage in place that is lower than the regular minimum wage.

Also, the government is proposing to increase the co-payment ceiling for seniors covered by province's Prescription Drug Plan to $500 per year from the current $250 per year. The amount paid for each prescription would remain unchanged at $9.05.

The province says the change would affect less than 24-thousand seniors and would save the province 3 million dollars per year.

To send your feedback to the province, go to or

Province Looking Into Options On Shale Gas Violation

Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup says Windsor Energy's testing for shale gas in Sussex without the town's permission is a black eye to the industry.

Northrup says the province should know by next week what amount of fines or other sanctions they can impose on Windsor Energy but would elaborate on how far the punishment would go.

He says no matter what kind of punishment may be brought down on the energy company, he recognizes that some people will see it as a slap on the wrist.

He says the violation could affect the renewal of Windsor's license for future work with the province.

No Apology Yet For Sussex Mayor

No apology yet...the Mayor of Sussex telling CHSJ News when he suggested an apology to Windsor Energy's CEO for proceeding with shale gas testing in Dairytown without permission last month.    Khalid Amin has yet to formally apologize to Ralph Carr but, the Mayor is happy that Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup is taking action on the matter.
He tells us he's not sure what the consequences for Windsor Energy should be but, there should definitely be some.

Carr tells us whatever they are it should be a very strong message to the whole industry and not just Windsor Energy.

Carr tells us he's surprised the Department of Natural Resources is turning the matter over to police saying he thought the province would have the authority to handle it under the Oil and Natural Gas act.

A Financial Setback For The Zoo

The long term future of the Cherry Brook Zoo remains up in the air. The zoo wants to become part of the Regional Facilities Commission where its funding problems would become a thing of the past.

The Director of Zoo Development at Cherry Brook, Linda Collrin tells CHSJ News they were turned down but maintains it's not a dead issue. 

It costs almost 12 hundred and 83 dollars a day to run Cherry Brook Zoo. The 2009 City grant covers the costs for 31 days. Last year, Quispamsis gave 5 thousand dollars and the town of Rothesay, 11 thousand.

The zoo's growth and enhancement fund has dropped from 650 thousand dollars to 150 thousand and Collrin admits finances will remain tight.

Provincial Government Salaries Gallop Ahead

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation releasing data from Stats Canada that shows there's a growing gap between the pay, pensions and benefits of government employees and what everybody else is getting. 

Kevin Lacey is the Federation's Atlantic Director and he tells CHSJ News salaries in the provincial government grew 14.3 per cent faster from July of 2001 to July of 2011 than what was paid to workers for private businesses. This was more than in any other province and three times the national average. 

The Federation has released figures showing the average salary in the public sector this year is $933.96  as opposed to $648.17 in the private sector.


Windsor Energy Found Guilty Of Violating Oil And Natural Gas Act

Windsor Energy of Calgary is guilty of violating the Province's Oil and Natural Gas Act after by testing for shale gas in Sussex without permission.

Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup tells CHSJ News the violation occurred when the company directed a contractor to do geophysical exploration
within the boundaries of Dairytown.

Under the regulations of the act, a municipality's written permission must be obtained before testing can begin.

Northrup says Windsor Energy's CEO Khalid Amin was quoted in the media as saying he knew permission was needed and that the testing would happen within the town limits of Sussex.

The Minister finds this action a blatant disregard for provincial legislation and the authority of the town of Sussex and he believes Khalid Amin owes the Mayor, councillors and people of Sussex a sincere, public apology.

A spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources says no decision has been made as to what law enforcement agency to refer the matter to.

Edmonton Man Charged With Sexual Assault In Kingsclear

25 year old Christopher Grinham from Edmonton being charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm.

The incident allegedly occurred in Upper Kingslcear early Monday morning.  He was arrested later at a home in Oromocto.

A 16 year old girl was treated at hospital and late released.

Grinham will be in court today for a bail hearing.

Police Department On Budget For The Year

The numbers are looking good for city police -- according to Police Chief Bill Reid, the force expects to be on budget for the end of the fiscal year.

He says it's good news because two murder cases made a huge dent in the coffers but solving crimes is paramount so some initiatives and purchases got sent to the back burner.

The force is currently at a surplus of about 600-thousand dollars but Reid says expenses and bills coming down the pipe will balance that out.

City Police will be limited to a one percent budget increase in 2012.

The Police Commission has agreed to the hiring freeze requested by Common Council until the 2012 city budget is finalised.

City police also reporting a 22 year old man who was stabbed along City Road Monday night is in hospital in critical condition and it was not random.