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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RCMP Make Arrests In Child Pornography Investigation

3 men and a youth have been arrested as part of a province wide child pornography investigation by RCMP.  RCMP say millions of child sexual abuse images have been seized in a series of searches throughout the province.

A 45-year-old man from Havelock, a 49-year-old man from Dumfries and a youth under 18 from Grand Bay-Westfield have since been released under strict conditions, including no contact with children under 16, no access to the Internet and not to be in possession of computers. They will appear in court at later dates. A 51 year old man from Moncton is still in police custody.

NDP Says Alward Budget Shows No Clear Direction

The new NDP Leader says the Premier is not showing a clear direction for the province with the budget.

Dominic Cardy tells CHSJ News their election campaign platform last year did include many of the same cuts as the government announced yesterday.
He says they did that five months ago with minimal resources as a third place party with no seats.
Cardy says Finance Minister Blaine Higgs make a little more clear saying the more difficult cuts will be coming later.

A Potential Election Call Will Not Jeopardize Bridge Deal

The final steps in the transfer of the Harbour Bridge to the Province are underway in the legislature today.
Transportation Minister Claude Williams introducing legislation this morning to dissolve the Saint John Harbour Bridge Authority.
With a looming election call on Friday, many are wondering how it may impact the deal but, the Department of Transportation tells CHSJ News the Government of Canada says it's a done deal.    Saint John MP Rodney Weston confirms this saying the deal was binding the day it was announced.
Provincial legislation fulfills the Alward government's commitment to take on the assets and liabilities of the Bridge authority.
1st reading of the legislation is being put forward today with debate to follow and the 2nd and 3rd readings before the deadline of March 31st.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Saint John last fall to announce the deal to see the tolls removed, the debt forgiven and ownership transferred to the Province.

Despite Election Talk, Saint John MP Will Focus On Economy

With the strong possibility of us going to the polls for a federal election, Saint John MP Rodney Weston says it will be business as usual until it's official.

He tells CHSJ News the Tories will not be distracted with election talk and will focus on building the economy.

He says he was surprised with the NDP announcing their lack of support for the budget so soon after it was released, especially when some of the NDP's demands were featured in the budget.

Future Provincial Budgets Will Be Leaner and Meaner

 UNB Saint John political scientist Don Desserud says the next provincial budget will be a lot tougher on New Brunswickers.

He tells CHSJ News the first budget is a feeling-out period but things will change over the next few years as the Alward Government will be pushed into make tough decisions.
He says deeper cuts are inevitable in order for the province to bring down the deficit.

Police Confirm Crash Victim Is The Suspect In Monday's Abduction

City Police confirming the man who was the suspect in the abduction of a 44 year old woman in East Saint John late Monday afternoon is the same man from Oromocto who was killed in a head on collision near Sussex Monday night.

Sussex RCMP identify him as 45-year-old Roger Keith Miller.

Leaner Provincial Government Promised

The fallout from the provincial budget is still being assessed but Finance Minister Blaine Higgs is promising a slightly leaner and meaner provincial government. Higgs says the number and use of schools will be reviewed while Regional Health Authorities will have to find 15-million dollars in savings.

On the plus side, there will be initial funding for a comprehensive diabetes program, a mental health action plan and an assistance program for those with Multiple Sclerosis. Workers in special care homes will receive an increase in their hourly wages while university operating grants will increase two percent.
There will also be additional funding for early childhood development programs - and - a new teaching supplies fund to allow teachers to purchase educational items for their classrooms.
While he didn't raise taxes on beer and spirits, Higgs wants N-B Liquor to generate about ten million dollars more in revenue and the idea of highway tolls is still on the table but requires more study before a final decision is made.

Weston Defends Federal Budget

Saint John MP Rodney Weston says Saint Johners have a lot to be happy about in the federal budget.

He tells CHSJ News lowest-income seniors will enjoy some relief from improved pension benefits, family caregivers will be getting a tax credit and the one time hiring credit for small businesses of up to one thousand dollars will also be a great boon for the city and its many entrepreneurs.
Weston points out another budget item that will help New Brunswickers will be the forgiveness of up to 40 thousand dollars in loans for doctors in rural and remote communities.

Saint John Board Of Trade Gives Verdict On Federal Budget

The federal budget is getting a thumbs up from the Saint John Board of Trade.

Its Chair Micheal Murphy tells CHSJ News it's a middle of the road budget with no real surprises but he wishes the Harper government revealed more details on the budget over the next few years and on how the deficit will be eliminated by 2014.

The Board of Trade is also expressing support for the provincial budget calling it a good start down the road to balance the books and maybe even achieve a surplus.