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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bad News For CBC

It's some bad news for Canada's public broadcaster.

CBC has announced it will be cutting over 650 full time jobs over the next two years and will no longer compete with private broadcasters for professional sports rights. They will, however, still compete for rights to the Olympics.

CBC is reportedly facing a $130-million budgetary shortfall for 2014-15.

Weston Remembers Flaherty

Jim Flaherty's death at 64 is made worse because it came only weeks after reaching a retirement he was looking forward too.

Saint John's MP Rodney Weston tells CHSJ News it was a complete shock to learn about it in the House of Commons.

Weston says he was a tremendous individual who carried this country during a difficult period when it needed a steady hand at the wheel.

Premier David Alward says Flaherty was a nation-builder who took great pride in serving Canadians.

Many tweeting out their condolences including Liberal Leader Brian Gallant.

Gallant calls him a man who was working to improve our circumstances and a patriot.

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside described him as tough and focused on debt reduction.

NB Energy Institute Has New Chair

The New Brunswick Energy Institute has a new chair.

David Besner has been appointed for a three-year term, effective immediately.

Besner is a chemical engineer and former assistant deputy minister with the provincial government. He had been acting as interim chair of the institute since last October.

The last chair, Louis LaPierre, stepped down after admitting to falsifying his academic credentials.

Big Transformation At Bayside

Quite a transformation taking place at Bayside Middle School with renovations to its auditorium now in the home stretch. A school committee has managed to raise 350 thousand dollars to payh for the project and is being helped out by a 25 thousand dollar contribution from Irving Oil.

French Immersion teacher Shawna Spinks is a member of the fundraising committee who has had a long association with the school--she says the auditorium is a place that holds a lot of memories for many people.

All the chairs in the auditorium, which dated back to 1949, are being replaced. The revamped auditorium will also be wheelchair accessible. The washrooms are being modernised and a sprinkler system is being installed. The renovations are expected to be finished later this month.

Things Are Back To Normal At Lepreau

Things are back to normal at Point Lepreau and its once again at full power adding about 660 megawatts to the grid.

The station went offline last Saturday night after a problem with one of the turbine system pumps.

It was synchronized to the grid yesterday and over the last 24 hours power was gradually increased back to 100 per cent.

Site VP and Chief Nuclear Officer Sean Granville says they are pleased that their team of nuclear professionals to quickly identify and resolve the issues.

Politicians Weigh In On Access In Abortion To New Brunswick

The closure of New Brunswick's only abortion clinic has been making national headlines since it was announced in Fredericton this morning.

A few hours later in the provincial legislature, Liberal Leader Brian Gallant called for an independent review into abortion access in New Brunswick, saying New Brunswick is lagging behind the rest of Canada when it comes to addressing the issue.

This questioning of the status quo represents a departure for the Liberals, who have historically aligned with the PCs on abortion legislation.

Health Minister Ted Flemming says the government's position hasn't changed--women in New Brunswick have access to abortions under certain medical circumstances and in his view further comment would be inappropriate.

Currently in New Brunswick, women can only get an abortion in a hospital with the approval of 2 doctors, and clinic abortions are not covered.

New Contract Agreement For City Police Officers

The Saint John Police Association and the Police Commission will avoid binding arbitration after reaching a new three year contract agreement which is retroactive to January of last year. 

The agreement came just as the two sides were about to start arbitration. The Police Association applied for arbitration back in September and there was some bitterness when Mayor Mel Norton was talking about a study on what it would cost to bring in the RCMP. 

City Police officers will be getting pay raises  of 4.5 per cent retroactive to January of 2013, 3.75 per cent as of this past January and another 3.75 per cent next January.

The deal also opens up the possibility of layoffs for those police officers hired after November 1st of 2011 along with the use of more civilians in jobs traditionally done by police officers.

Snow Days Are Not Easily Made Up

Parents, teachers and some students wondering how to squish 10 missed days of teaching into the remaining school year.

Zoe Watson of the Anglophone South School District tells CHSJ News high schools are concerned about the time missed.

She says they changed semesters at the end of January. 

Only 2 days were missed in the first semester while the second semester saw 8 missed days.

After one recent storm they didn't close schools and the forecast changed significantly so it was necessary to send the students home at noon.

Watson says two weeks ago the snow days interfered with Parent/Teacher days and schools worked hard to get the evening portion in.

As far as extending the school year goes, the number of teaching days is a contractual issue so it would not be easily accomplished.

NB's Only Abortion Clinic To Close

After 20 years, Fredericton's Mongentaler Abortion Clinic has announced it will be closing its doors.

The clinic says New Brunswick's strict abortions laws,which they say make it nearly impossible for women to terminate pregnancies in a hospital, are the reason for the closure. According to Clinic Manager Simone Leibovitch, the current laws make terminating a pregnancy difficult for women in the following ways:

-Women cannot get an abortion in a hospital unless referred by a family doctor
-Many doctors are pro-life and will not make the referral
-Hospitals have long wait lists, meaning women will often be past the 14-week gestation limit by the time they get an appointment

Due to these strictures, the clinic has subsidized over $100,000 dollars for procedures for New Brunswick women in the past decade. They say they can no longer afford to provide abortion services that are not publicly funded.

In other provinces, abortions are covered under Medicare and are more readily available at hospitals.

Barlow Says Pipeline Won't Directly Benefit Canadians

The Council of Canadians holding public consultations In Ontario on the proposed Energy East Pipeline.

Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow had some choice words for the Harper Government at a stop in Thunder Bay.

She says they don't care about our water they only care about the big business interests in Canada adding their fight will be making it an election issue and making it one of the issues we force the opposition parties to take a position on.

Barlow says that most of the oil being transported will be exported and it won't directly benefit Canadians.

Superintendent Responds To Parent Complaint Again

The Superintendent for the Anglophone South School District says they always have washrooms available.

Zoe Watson responding to a parent's complaint that for a few days last month following vandalism to some of the boys bathrooms at KV high, students were without the facilities.

She says if schools in the district ever have issues where water or power are threatened they quickly start thinking about closures if they know its going to carry on for any amount of time.

Speaking at the school district's meeting last night in Hampton, Watson tells CHSJ News they looked into the complaint and the administration at KV has assured her that at no time were all of the boys washrooms not working.