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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lawyer Accuses Ferguson of Surprise Attacks

A campaign of negativity—that's what pension board lawyer Barry Morrison deemed John Ferguson's dealings with the pension board. Morrison accused Ferguson of ignoring procedure, launching surprise attacks, and refusing advice from from senior staff.

He further said John Ferguson was a publicity junkie and trying to get exposure by chasing after pension obligation bonds, even though he knew they were illegal.

Ferguson said he didn't approach his fellow councillors for information because while it might look like can speak freely, it's actually more complex. He described Councillor Chris Titus as distant, and Ivan Court as unapproachable due to conflict over the LNG.

John Ferguson was at times taciturn in his responses, prompting Morrison to remark, “You don't seem to have a very good track record--you say you haven't understood the last 5 documents I've put to you.” Later, he said Ferguson has a habit of twisting words when  it suits him.

Local Anti-Shale Gas Group Shocked At License Renewal

Hampton Water First, a group that has been critical against shale gas development, is shocked and disappointed with the Natural Resources Minister.

Minister Bruce Northrup says he is legally obligated to grant a five-year lease to Windsor Energy to explore for shale gas, even though he tried to have the company charged last year for conducting testing in Sussex and along a highway within Quispamsis town limits without the consent of either town council.
The minister says the Calgary-based company fulfilled all the commitments set out under their previous three-year license granted by the previous government.

Chris Rendell tells CHSJ News Minister Northrup has said time and time again to trust him with shale gas file but this latest development shows the province's lack of control over shale gas development.

He believes it reveals Northurp's lack of willingness to enforce existing regulations.

Rendell says our province needs to address 3 key items if it wants to retain control -- strong regulations, a willingness to enforce them, and expertise within government to get it done.

Hanson Says Voters Want A Choice In Rothesay

The longtime mayor of Rothesay finds himself in a race this time around with Kathryn Hanson running against him for the job.

The corporate project manager tells CHSJ News she believes she can do the job.

She says her candidacy is an advertising success for the provincial government who asked for more candidates specifically women and she is answering that challenge.

She says in talking to Rothesay youth, they want more recreation options and are also concerned about potholes.

HDC Says Voter Literacy Needs To Improve

The Human Development Council is giving a thumbs up to the SJ Votes committee.

The group will be helping people in the priority neighbourhoods get out to the ballot box.

Randy Hatfield is the Executive Director of the Human Development Council and he tells CHSJ News while it's important to get voters out, improving voter literacy is crucial as well.

He believes there is a lot of confusion on the various levels of government and what its responsibilities are.

He says SJ Votes will improve voter literacy but more needs to be done.

Provincial Pension Reforms Coming In 6 Months

It's not just the city that is dealing with pension woes -- Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says the province is planning on making adjustments soon to get rid of its pension deficit

He tells CHSJ News the deficit is about 30 million dollars a year and reforms will be taken soon.

He says the province will roll out a new plan in 6 months that will both protect employees and be fair to the public.

Ferguson Accused of Going Negative For Selfish Motives

Former Common Councillor John Ferguson and Pension Board lawyer Barry Morrison clashed at the defamation trial.

Ferguson testified no one at Common Council asked him who on the Pension Board told him disability was being approved improperly with taxpayers in the city being laughed at.

When Morrison suggested the conversation with Pension Board trustee David Gould was complete fiction, Ferguson disagreed saying his fellow Council members just dismissed what he had to say as if they didn't care but there was talk of having to significantly raise the tax rate because of the pension plan's debt.

Ferguson admits he was intimidated when he found out the Pension Board was going to launch the defamation lawsuit against him and he was reluctant to say anymore about the pension plan but considered it too important.

Morrison is suggesting Ferguson was laying in wait to launch an attack on senior city staff about the pension plan and misled his fellow Council members. Ferguson denied that claiming he wanted consensus when seeking outside legal advice. Morrison charged Ferguson didn't give a hoot about the city but was only concerned with his own selfish interests and a plan to go negative.

Former NATO Employee Running in Ward 3

Ward 3 candidate Pat McCaffrey says he's got the administrative chops to turn the city's financial mess around McCaffrey tells CHSJ News he's spent his career as a military lawyer, and worked for NATO in information management and financial control. 

He tells CHSJ News complaining isn't enough, because there are enough people out there criticizing but not getting involved.

His vision for the city emphasizes fiscal responsibility, because that's the only way we can achieve major objectives like solving the pension deficit, better roads, and safe drinking water.

McCaffrey is one of 7 candidates running in Ward 3.

John Ferguson Defamation Trial

Gourmet Chip Fans Rejoice

Like gourmet chips? Good news---there could be a lot more of them in the province. The Covered Bridge Chip Company getting a total of $342,000 boost from the federal and provincial governments.

The chip factory is a tourist destination and does neat varieties like chipotle, lime, and sweet potato.

The money will go toward modernizing the facility and increasing its production capacity.

Saint Johnner Who Played In NHL Sent To Prison

A 52 year old Somerset Street man who played briefly in the NHL has been sentenced to prison after being arrested with cocaine near Grand Bay Westfield over the weekend.

Brian Johnson played for 3 games with the Detroit Red Wings back in 1983. He been sentenced to four years in prison for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police.

Johnson was nabbed transporting half a kilogram of cocaine into the city from Montreal. The cocaine has an estimated street value of 32 thousand dollars.

Members of the Saint John Police Department and the RCMP arrested Johnson after a short high speed chase during which he lost control of the car. It rolled over before landing back on its wheels.