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New Brunswick to eliminate $130 ambulance fee for people without coverage

FREDERICTON - The ambulance fee for people in New Brunswick without private health insurance coverage will be eliminated starting April 1. Health Minister Hugh Flemming says a majority of New Brunswickers have health insurance that already covers the $130 fee, while people with low incomes are covered through social assistance. Flemming says the change will cost the province about $600,000 a year. He says the measure keeps a campaign promise made by the Progressive Conservative government.

Feds spend $245,000 for improvements to Capitol Theatre in Moncton, N.B.

MONCTON, N.B. - The Capitol Theatre in Moncton, N.B., will undergo renovations with the help of federal funding. The $245,000 will allow for improvements to the orchestra pit as well as upgrades to the video and sound systems. The site originally contained two theatres — the Empress Theatre, constructed in 1908, and the Capitol Theatre, built in 1922. The building underwent a restoration in 1992 and 1993.

Efficiency NB ending popular residential energy efficiency program

FREDERICTON - Efficiency New Brunswick is ending a program that helped New Brunswickers make their homes more energy efficient. The change follows the recent provincial budget that cut the agency's funding by nearly $3 million. Energy Minister Craig Leonard says there is an effort to realign programs at Efficiency New Brunswick with new programs to be introduced by NB Power. He says the utility will be utilizing smart grid technology and trying to shift power demand by customers to off-peak hours.

New Brunswick finance minister says he needs a closer look at federal budget

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's finance minister says he's pleased to see funding for the forestry industry and the Digby Ferry in the federal budget, but he needs to examine the budget details to determine other impacts it might have on the province. Blaine Higgs said Wednesday he needs to look at details to learn more about funding for things such as infrastructure, education and training. Higgs was particularly pleased to see plans by Ottawa to spend more than $90 million for the development of new technologies in the forestry sector.

Opposition calls for release of daycare inspection reports in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's Liberal leader wants the provincial government to release inspection reports for daycares. Brian Gallant says the public should know if inspections are being done and that any problems are being corrected. The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal recently made a request under the access to information law for the inspection reports but the newspaper was denied. Marie-Claude Blais, the minister of education and early childhood development, says inspection reports can't be released because they contain personal information.

New Brunswick government seeking buyers for bankrupt Memramcook Institute

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government is looking to sell the provincially owned Memramcook Institute after previous operators lost millions of dollars. The facility, southeast of Moncton, includes a spa, restaurant, golf course, walking trails and banquet facilities. It used to include a seminary and a French-language university, known as College-Saint Joseph, both of which closed in the 1960s. The corporation that operated the institute accumulated a debt of $4.5 million and declared bankruptcy last year.

New Brunswick finance minister wants teacher pension changes done this session

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's finance minister says he wants legislation to revise teacher pensions passed during this session of the legislature. Blaine Higgs says it's important to complete the changes because the government can't continue to make special payments that have averaged $83 million annually over the last 10 years. The government wants the teachers to adopt a shared-risk pension model that wouldn't see the government having to make such payments.

New Brunswick government seeking buyers for bankrupt Memramcook Institute

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government is looking to sell the provincially owned Memramcook Institute. The facility, southeast of Moncton, includes a spa, restaurant, golf course, walking trails and banquet facilities. It used to include a seminary and a French-language university, known as College-Saint Joseph, both of which closed in the 1960s. The corporation that operated the institute accumulated a debt of $4.5 million and declared bankruptcy last year.

New Brunswick premier vows to press ahead with shale gas despite protests

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick Premier David Alward used his final state of the province address before the next election to urge the public to support the development of a shale gas industry. Alward said his Progressive Conservative government will push ahead to help create a shale gas sector, adding that the cost of not moving forward is too great. "To not take advantage of this opportunity would be one of the most irresponsible things a government could do," Alward told a business audience Thursday evening in Fredericton in a prepared speech.

New Brunswick Liberal transportation critic calls for rail line inspection

FREDERICTON - The Liberal transportation critic in New Brunswick is calling on Transport Canada to conduct a thorough inspection of rail lines across the northern parts of the province following two derailments this month. Bill Fraser says he has been hearing concerns from residents for months about sections of line in poor shape with cracked ties and missing bolts. He says the concerns have been heightened as a result of two CN (TSX:CNR) freight train derailments in the province in the last three weeks.
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