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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Liberal Leader Testing The Political Waters

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's swing through the Port City Thursday is being billed as a test run for a federal election campaign -- that's how U-N-B-S-J political science professor Don Desserud sees it. Desserud tells CHSJ News Ignatieff is clearly a leader experimenting with some ideas and trying to get his message straight.He says both the Liberals and Conservatives aren't happy with the current minority government situation -- but -- both are worried another election won't result in much of a change and neither want to be pinned with triggering a vote with that outcome.

The Governor Generals Cup Flies into SJ

[ Plane at SJ Airport - Photo By Melissa O'Rourke]

24 single engine planes flew into Saint John Airport this afternoon. Over 50 pilots and crew from as far away as Australia, Switzerland and Chile flew into the region to participate in the Governor Generals Cup. The Cross Canada Race choose Saint John as there only stop in New Brunswick. The race began on July 30th in Winnipeg and will end on August 15th in Montreal. Camil Dumont, an organizer of the event, tells CHSJ news the event is excited to visit Saint John in its 9th year.

The Governor Generals Cup is the longest flight ever by a group of pilots in Canada involving ten provinces, and three territories.

New MADD Vehicle

[New MADD Vehicle Parked on Water Street-----Photo by Dave Briggs]

The traffic supervisor with city police is sporting some new wheels.MADD Saint John, in partnership with the Saint John police force are unveiling the new MADD vehicle.Sgt. Jeff LeFrance tells CHSJ News, the purpose of the vehicle is to educate young people on the dangers of drunk driving in a new way.Sgt. LeFrance says the vehicle will have a Playstation 3 in the back where young people can play a driving simulator while wearing the drunk goggles.
Sgt. LaFrance says the vehicle is also a way to promote MADD's 911 campaign where people are asked to call 911 if they see a drunk driver.He says the vehicle and accessories was completely paid for by sponsers, and didn't cost the city a cent.

Nuclear Power Finds Friend In Ignatieff

(Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff responds to reporters' questions following Board of Trade speech - photo by Gary MacDonald)
The consortium proposing a second reactor at Point Lepreau has a friend in federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. In response to a question from the floor during a Board of Trade luncheon -- Ignatieff says nuclear power will play a significant role in the Liberal energy portfolio -- he says he doesn't see making our environmental targets without nuclear energy as part of the plan.Ignatieff side stepped reporters questions about the possibility of triggering a fall election -- but -- he says there are several key areas where the Harper government will have to be held accountable. The Liberal leader stopped in the city as part of tour through the Maritimes this week.

Flemming Park Chairperson Reacts to Funding

Chairperson of the Flemming Court Park Project Ann Barrett says this project will benefit the entire community, by providing a safe recreational area for residents.
Barrett says receiving the funding will give the community the confidence they need to continue to strive towards improving the Crescent Valley area.She says plans for the project came about in the summer of 2007, and the funding became rolling in the following year.Barrett says the money from the city and the federal government will make this dream a reality.

Conservative M-P Says Announcements Are Not Related to Liberal Leader in Town

[Saint John M-P Rodney Weston----photo by Dave Briggs]

Saint John M-P Rodney Weston says the sudden rash of funding announcements from his government isn't setting the stage for a federal election.Weston says the announcements all relate to projects that have been in development for a while---- and having Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff in town isn't a factor.Weston says he doesn't believe there will be a federal election in the fall, but says he is prepared if former M-P Paul Zed were to throw his hat into the race.
Weston says Zed is a worthy opponent, and would look forward to a rematch.
Weston says his office will be making another funding announcement tomorrow in Rothesay.

Federal Funding For Splash Pad and Park Near Flemming Court

[Saint John Portland M-L-A Trevor Holder----photo by Dave Briggs]

The Government of Canada is investing $200 thousand dollars into revitalizing a park space near Flemming Court.The money will go towards constructing a splash pad, as well as climbing structures and a gazebo.Saint John Portland M-L-A Trevor Holder says this funding is another example of how when members of the community in his riding want something done, they fight to accomplish it.
The federal money is coming out of the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program, and the city is also contributing $130 thousand dollars to the project.

Departments of Health and Education Gear Up for Flu Season

[Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eilish Cleary, and Valmond Guimond----Photo Courtesy of]

The Department of Health is reporting a reduction in the number of H-1-N-1 flu cases in the province and don't expect there to be any delays in schools starting up this September. But Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Eilish Cleary, says the so called "swine flu" will pick back up again from late October to April. Valmond Guimond, with the Department of Education's pandemic planning committee, says that may impact school staffing.

Guimond says each school will be provided with an information packet on the H1N1 virus and it will be up to superintendents and principals to decide how they will deal with the pandemic.

Special Olympics Kicks Off Today

The New Brunswick Special Olympics opens today with a parade and opening ceremonies at the Trade and Convention Centre this evening. Chair, Carol Ryan tells CHSJ news there will be about 200 coaches competitors in this year's Special Olympics Summer Games--and--says the community has really stepped forward to help make the event happen.

This is the first time Saint John has hosted the Special Olympics since 1985. The games end on Sunday after a full weekend of competitions and medal presentations for soccer, softball, golf, track and field, swimming and bowling.

French Program Seeing Positive Results

The provincial government says new test results show the revamped French Second Language program introduced last fall is working. 58 per cent of Grade 5 anglophone classes were either at or above the target level of basic French within the first year of the Intensive French program. Previously, only two per cent of students reached the same target after four years in the former Core French program.

In the Intensive French program--which begins in grade five--students learn in French for 60 per cent of their day during half of the school year, while the other half is in English. The changes met controversy last year.

Zed Not Closing Door On Another Federal Bid

(Paul Zed and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff attend a party breakfast at Lily Lake this morning - photo by Gary MacDonald)

Former Saint John Liberal M-P Paul Zed isn't closing the door on another run at federal politics -- but -- he's not ready to commit just yet -- even -- with a boost from federal leader Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff told a Liberal breakfast this morning he wants Zed back in the House of Commons as an M-P -- but -- Zed tells CHSJ News he's not ready to make a decision just yet -- he says he has family commitments and is working to re-establish his law practice.Zed stepped down as Ignatieff's chief of staff earlier this week igniting speculation he was about to announce his bid to return to elected life -- the federal liberal leader spoke to over 200-party faithful at Lily Lake this morning -- over the noon hour he speaks to a Board of Trade luncheon.

Gas Prices Continue Upward Swing

As the summer marches on, the price of gasoline continues to inch up. The Energy and Utilities Board has set the maximum price schedule today and the maximum allowable price for a litre of self-serve is up pennies to land at 102.7. Most stations are posting around the dollar mark.

The cost of diesel fuel is up about 3 cents a litre to land at 101.8 and propane is selling for up to 94.7 cents a litre.