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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

NDP Leader Says Alward Govt's Budget Priorities Skewed

The provincial NDP Leader says the Alward Government has its budget priorities all wrong. 

While Dominic Cardy is glad to hear they'll be holding the line on new, large capital projects, he tells CHSJ News huge amounts of money are being wasted on programs that don't benefit New Brunswickers and there's a lack of investment in those that are needed. 

He says cutting money from Education and Early Childhood Development at the same time as you're putting more money into corporate welfare programs just doesn't make any sense.

While he wasn't surprised by anything in the new budget, Cardy says one thing worth noting is that while Premier David Alward made his commitment to shale gas very clear during his State Of The Province address, there wasn't anything in the budget about how that will change our financial outlook.

It's predicted the budget will be balanced by the year 2017-2018, but Cardy says he doesn't think that's going to happen with this government.

Saint John Is Home To National CBS Contact Centre

Saint John is home to the second national contact centre for Canadian Blood Services.

Atlantic Canada Donor Relations Director Peter MacDonald tells CHSJ News the new centre opened in the fall.

He says since late October they have made 175,000 calls and booked over 10,000 appointments to give blood.

MacDonald says 20 people were hired in the first phase.

The other national contact centre for Canadian Blood Services is located in Sudbury, Ontario.

UPDATE: Two People Involved In West Side Robbery

City police confirm that a robbery did take place this morning at the Medi Trust on the Manawagonish Road.

They believe two people are involved. 

One man demanded prescription pills, got some and took off.   No one was hurt.

The man got into a waiting truck which headed west on the Manawagonish Road.

The major crime unit is looking into the robbery.

One of the men is described as in his early 20's, between 5 foot 8 and 5 foot 9 , weighing about 180 pounds wearing baggy pants hanging low on the waist.

The truck he got into is described as a white Dodge Ram type truck with a lift kit installed. 

If you have any info contact the Major Crime Unit at 648-3333.

CTF Calls It A "Status Quo Budget"

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is happy there are no tax increases in the provincial budget.

CHSJ News asked Atlantic Director Kevin Lacey if its looks like an election year budget.

He says normally in an election year there is huge growth in spending but he thinks the government was concerned with how that would look so the spending increases are modest.

Lacey says even with a decline the deficit is still a concern adding it's still huge and a burden that taxpayers will have to bear well into the future.

Provincial Budget Shows A Drop In The Deficit

As the provincial government tables its new budget, the Minister of Finance says the economy is showing signs of recovery.

A deficit of 391-million dollars is being projected, down from 564 million-dollars and spending is predicted to grow less than two percent. 

Blaine Higgs says the Energy East pipeline and the development of the natural gas industry will increase investment and more. Higgs says they have the potential to significantly boost investment, job creation and government revenue for years to come.

He says given these projects and planned investments in the forestry sector, the department of finance is forecasting growth of 2.1 per cent in 2015.

The capital budget which totals 555-million dollars includes 213-million to maintain and improve health care infrastructure and 99-million for school infrastructure.

Man Goes On Smashing Rampage

A local man appeared to be taking lessons from The Incredible Hulk as he smashed multiple windows and attempted to break into at least four separate buildings in the North End and Millidgeville.

Sergeant Jay Henderson of the Saint John Police Force explains they first encountered the man in the Cranberry Hill area, where officers arriving on the scene watched him smash out a picture window and enter a home.

As officers placed him under arrest, more calls continue to come in about windows smashed at other homes in the area, and at UNB. The man was taken to hospital to be treated for cuts--and while there, managed to pull the fire alarm and smash a glass cabinet with a chair.

He also caused more damage in lockup. He's now facing charges of break and enter, mischief, damage, and failure to comply with conditions.

Food Drive In Full Gear

For the 27th year, the month long food drive is underway again this year at Saint John High. 

Students will be collecting much needed items for the Community Food Basket with boxes set up in every classroom at the school. 

Saint John High teacher Barry Ogden tells CHSJ News because of the cold winter we've had, the demand is higher this year. Ogden says the families who are having the roughest time are living in homes with the highest heating costs because of poor energy efficiency. 

You can donate non perishable food items at the school along with things like plastic bags, glass jars and toiletries.

Bank Robber Sentenced To Seven Years In Jail

Seven years is how long Kenneth Joseph Johnston will be spending behind bars.

Sentencing coming down today in the daylight robbery of the CIBC branch at King and Germain which took place in early October of last year. Johnston was charged with threatening a bank teller with violence for cash and possession of marijuana. 

He originally plead not guilty to the charges and was scheduled to stand trial, but later changed that to a guilty plea.

Johnston is also prohibited from owning weapons for life.

Man Arrested For Stealing NB Power Truck In K-V

A man being charged in the theft of a power utility vehicle from the parking lot of the Amsterdam Inn on Millennium Drive in the Kennebecasis Valley.

The NB Power truck was stolen just before 11am on Monday, but it didn't take police long to track it down. The Rothesay Regional Police finding the truck a few minutes later and tried to stop it. The 23-year-old then ran into the woods and was arrested after a short foot chase.

He's going to be appearing in court on Thursday for a bail hearing.

BREAKING: Police Looking Into Manawagonish Robbery

City police on the lookout for a man after a robbery at a West side drug store.

It happened about 10:20am at the MediTrust on Manawagonish.

Police are setting up a perimeter in the area.

You Can Buy A Toque In City To End Homelessness

It's estimated there are 100 young people in the city who don't have a place to call home. 

The Support the Toque campaign to end homelessness among young people in the city is being held today in Brunswick Square with a booth across from Coles from 11 to 3. 

Community supporters of Safe Harbour Transitional Youth Services will be selling toques for $10 each. 80 per cent of the proceeds will go toward building and operating Safe Harbour, a transition house for homeless young people in the south end. The remaining 20 per cent will help support initiatives across the country. 

In 2012, 67 young people used an adult emergency shelter in the city.

Cause Determined For Crash Of Small Plane Near Fredericton

The Transportation Safety Board has finished its investigation into the crash of a small plane January 21st between Fredericton and Minto and determined it went down after running out of fuel. There was no mechanical problem with the plane itself.

The pilot, a 22 year old student from the Fredericton campus of the Moncton Flight College used his cellphone to direct rescuers to where he was in the woods before he was airlifted to hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Switch From SJPD To RCMP Shot Down

It was standing room only at common council as supporters of the Saint John Police Department and other interested parties coming to hear the verdict on a potential shift to the RCMP.

After looking into the option with the Department of Public Safety, city staff recommended the city take no further action on the potential switch, and receive and file a report to tat effect.

According to a report by city staff, the  Department of Public Safety made it clear communities with over 15,000people simply can't switch to a municipal policing agreement. As well, the department considers the selection of policing services a local matter in which it must remain impartial.

Meanwhile, Mayor Mel Norton tells CHSJ News the overall mission to save money on city services hasn't changed---and all of the core services, including police and fire are still going to have to give a detailed account of how their budgets are being allocated and why.

Norton says the end goal of the review process will be to freeze expenditures at 2014 levels.