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Friday, April 27, 2012

Liberal MLA Upset Over Double Standard In Flood Study

There is alot of anxiety for residents in the St. George area.

Liberal MLA Rick Doucet says many people are worried they will lose their homes to flooding again.

Doucet says he was turned down by the government last year when he asked for a review into flooding and prevention for the Magaguadavic River.

However, he says the Alward government will be doing a flood review for Perth-Andover.

Doucet says Charlotte County residents are being treated as second-class citizens by not getting the same treatment.

Premier Alward was unable to be reached for comment.

Pension Board Lawyer Begins Closing Arguments

More closing arguments in the John Ferguson defamation trial, this time from Pension Board lawyer Barry Morrison.

Barry Morrison using an old adage in his characterization of John Ferguson when he compared the pension board to Martha Stewart and her legal woes -- if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck.

Morrison says Ferguson had to be talking about the pension board when making that comparison -- and therefore was casting the pension board in a bad light.

Morrison says Ferguson acted like a coward towards the pension board -- he says it is cowardly to make insinuations when your target cannot respond in a timely manner.

He ads the arguments made by Ferguson's lawyer -- that there was negligence and a breach of fiduciary duty -- are nothing but a smoke screen.

Morrison says the lawsuit is about defamation and Ferguson defamed the pension board in an attempt to become mayor in 2008.

Students Celebrate Arbour Day With A Tree Planting

A couple of grade one students from Havelock school helping out future generations by planting a tree for Arbour Day.
It's the sixth year of a partnership of between J.D. Irving, District 8 and the City of Saint John. 
Outgoing common councillor Chris Titus tells CHSJ News trees are important and the small things really make a difference.

He says the trees provide beauty, a place to climb, heat and furniture.  The Grade one students at Havelock school were given spruce seedlings to take home.

Senior City Staff Battered At Defamation Trial

The lawyer for former Common Councillor John Ferguson is accusing senior city staff of having a secret agenda and of stifling discussion of the pension plan's rising deficit.

Rod Gillis was making his closing argument to the jury at Ferguson's trial for defamation and was scathing in his criticism of then City Manager Terry Totten, City Solicitor John Nugent, then Deputy City Manager Pat Woods and former City Finance Commissioner Andrew Beckett, all of whom served on the Pension Board.

Gillis accuses the Pension Board of launching the lawsuit to silence questions and told the court it's wrong to interfere in the democratic process, if not unsavoury.

He maintains senior city staff members on the pension board in 2003 knew benefits would have to be reduced but didn't want to get flak from the civic unions and points out they, themselves, were in line for city pensions each worth over a million dollars.

Gillis telling the jury senior city staff, who served on the Pension Board, are guilty of inaction because they knew in 2003 pension benefits would have to be reduced and had specific solutions in 2005 which were not presented to Common Council.

He argues Ferguson, as a member of Council, had a duty to pursue the matter and the Pension Board will have to prove malice but no evidence of that was ever presented at trial.

Gillis claims none of Ferguson's criticisms was directed at the Pension Board and none was defamatory because he was acting in good faith whereas senior city staff were trying to stifle discussion.

Funny Police Sign Goes Viral

A humourous sign about a serious topic has gone viral on social media. 

The Saint John Police Force putting up a sign at Kennebecasis Drive by the ferry landing which reads: "On Sale! As low as $172.50. Speeding Tickets." 

The image has been making the rounds on popular sites like Facebook and Imgur. 

Community Police Officer David Hartley-Brown tells CHSJ News he is not entirely surprised the message has gone viral but says the important thing is that the message is getting out to slow down.

John Ferguson Defamation Trial Resumes

Closing Arguments To Be Given At Defamation Trial

The long defamation trial of former Common Councillor John Ferguson in now in the home stretch with closing arguments to be delivered this morning to the jury. 

Lawyer Barry Morrision made clear in his opening statement the Pension Board views Ferguson's attacks as an orchestrated campaign for him to become Mayor in 2008 and the statements he made left the impression of illegality.

Lawyer Rod Gillis has suggested Ferguson, as a member of Common Council had every right to raise questions and concerns and none of his statements were defamatory. 

As well, Gillis argues the Pension Board was unresponsive, not very transparent and senior City Staff who were serving as Pension Board trustees were in a conflict of interest with divided loyalties between the beneficiaries and the taxpayer.

Water Shut Off At Most Schools In District 8

Lead and copper levels in the water at most schools in District 8 exceed Health Canada guidelines.

As such, all the water fountains and taps at the affected schools have been shut off for the time being and jugs of water brought in.

There are just 4 schools in the district unaffected......They are Brown's Flat Elementary, Inglewood. Loch Lomand and St. Martins. 

Both the school district and public health say most children would not suffer any health problems from drinking the water unless they have multiple exposures both inside the school and outside. 

Also, the lead levels dropped significantly after the water was left running for 30 seconds or more.

Premier Says Shale Gas Handled In Responsible Manner

It may be a controversial issue - but - Premier Alward isn't making any apologies for exploring the possibility of developing a shale gas industry.

In an exclusive interview with CHSJ News - Alward says his government has a responsibility to see what future opportunities may exist if the resource is developed and how any revenue will be shared.

And the Premier says New Brunswickers will have a say on new regulations being developed for shale gas exploration -- deflecting any comment on how that will happen by saying the process will be up to Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup.