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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dr Parrott Not Impressed With Budget

An erstwhile heart surgeon turned politician is slating the cap on billable hours for doctors built into the Alward Tory budget.

Dr. Jim Parrott tells CHSJ News we're only just recovering from the difficulty we had with recruiting physicians because of the Medicare caps brought in under Frank McKenna.

Parrott says it was one of the Alward government's promises that everyone would have a family doctor and with this kind of legislation that's not looking realistic anymore.

Creation of Youth Shelter In Motion

Out of 341 people that used a shelter in the city last year, more than 62 of them were between 16 to 24 years old, according to the annual homelessness report card by the Human Development Council. 

Colin McDonald of Safe Harbour Transitional Youth Services tells CHSJ news that the creation of a youth shelter is in motion. He says that we need a shelter specifically for young homeless people to address their unique needs. Any mental health or addiction issues are likely just starting, says McDonald, the youth shelter could head things off at the pass.

McDonald says that young homeless people are the least likely demographic to use shelters, so the numbers don't paint a full picture of youth homelessness in Saint John.

New YMCA Gets Big Donation From Generous Family

The new YMCA that is set to be built in the North End is getting a major boost from a generous local family.

The MacMurray Foundation has announced the donation of $200,000 over the coming years toward a new community room which will bear their name. Anne MacMurray-Cox tells CHSJ News her late father, James MacMurray, would have approved and was involved with the YMCA throughout his life.

The fundraising campaign is still in the silent phase, so there's no telling how much they've actually raised yet; however, YMCA President and CEO Shiloh Boucher says it's going extremely well.

Gallant Says Corporations Will Pay Less Taxes

Corporations will fare better than people when it comes to provincial tax hikes.

That's according to Liberal leader Brian Gallant, who tells CHSJ news that out of the $373 million expected in two years, coorporations will only pay $39 million. Gallant calls that number alarming, since they received $34-47 million dollar property tax cut a few months ago. He tells us now, corporations are now in a position where they'll be paying less taxes.

Gallant says he was very disappointed with the provincial budget presentation and that the Tories broke their two election promises: that they had a plan to balance the budget and that they wouldn't raise taxes.

Coalition Urges Retirees To Voice Their Opposition

Hundred of retired provincial workers gathering in Quispamsis to voice their opposition about the government's plan to switch from defined benefits to a shared risk model.

The Provincial Pension Coalition began a month ago and is growing in numbers with 300 people coming out to an information session.

The Coalition's Clifford Kennedy tells CHSJ News it all started at a meeting in a Fredericton.  Kennedy says the coalition went from nothing to a great turnout in Fredericton and they want to keep going and hit locations all over the province.

He says under this proposed model a retiree that makes $21,000 a year would lose more than $40,000 over a 25 year period.

The group is encouraging all retirees to write their MLA's to express their opposition and to register on the website.

To find the website, click here

NDP Leader Worries About Flight Of Doctors From Province

Provincial NDP leader Dominic Cardy is criticising the provincial budget for cutting 20 million dollars from the billable hours agreement with the province's doctors, which he says means essentially a couple of months worth of billable hours are disappearing off the table.

He worries we're likely to see them head elsewhere where they won't see their pay cut.
Cardy is glad to see the Alward Government dealing with what he describes as the terrible mistake the Shawn Graham Liberals made with the tax cuts in 2006.

Union Expects Job Losses In Healthcare With Freeze

The contents of the provincial budget is making many of the people who work in the healthcare system nervous about their futures.

Gordon Black is Regional Director of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and he tells CHSJ News several hundred people could be getting their layoff notices because something has to give when healthcare costs are rising at 6 per cent a year but spending is frozen.

Black believes any cutbacks in health will take place at the smaller hospitals around the province. He claims rural New Brunswick is under attack.

Black is not surprised at being one of the few voices in favour of the tax cuts of 2008 being rolled back to the 2006 levels.

Tax Increases Will Put A Damper On Economic Growth

The increase in personal and corporate income taxes come July is going to hurt the provincial economy. So claims Richard Dunn, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in New Brunswick.

He tells CHSJ News it's galling to discover provincial government spending is still rising.

Dunn does say there is one silver lining and that is if you take out the one time pension payment, the increase in spending is below the rate of inflation.

But he argues his comparison of New Brunswick's financial situation to that of Detroit, where a financial state of emergency was declared, remains valid.

Hours At Liquor Stores To Change For Easter Weekend

NB Liquor telling us liquor stores will be closed both Good Friday and Easter Sunday and will be open Easter Monday from 10 to 6 with regular hours on Saturday.