New Brunswick premier promises to deliver shale gas blueprint in this session

New Brunswick premier promises to deliver shale gas blueprint in this session FREDERICTON – New Brunswick Premier David Alward is promising to deliver a blueprint this fall that will lay out how his government plans to proceed with shale gas development, an issue that has triggered roars of protests for months.Alward made the commitment in his throne speech Thursday to kick off the fall legislative session, just as supporters and opponents of the shale gas industry rallied outside the provincial legislature.He said the oil and natural gas blueprint will ensure a regulatory system is in place that includes adequate monitoring and enforcement before the province allows the industry to grow.“Those are all things that we need to address to ensure that if we are able to develop natural gas in the future that we are going to have as big a benefit as we possibly can for New Brunswickers,” Alward told a news conference before Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas delivered the speech.The possibility of shale gas development brings the promise of jobs and could be an economic boon at a time when the Progressive Conservative government grapples with a $10 billion debt, a $356 million deficit and an unemployment rate of 11.6 per cent — the province’s highest in nearly a decade.As the speech was delivered, outside a large crowd of people — both for and against shale gas development — marched on the front lawn of the legislature.“New Brunswickers have not given consent to moving forward with a shale gas industry,” said Mark Darcy.“More than 20,000 New Brunswickers signed a petition a year ago, and we’re still waiting for government to have public consultation before moving ahead with the industry.”But Lynn Farmakoulis said the province needs the shale gas industry if it is to get out of its financial mess.“I think it’s time we develop our resources and use them,” Farmakoulis said.“We have people who are working in oil and gas out west and I think we have a responsibility to look at this very seriously.”Following the speech, Liberal Leader Brian Gallant repeated his party’s call for a moratorium on shale gas development until more research is done to protect the environment.“New Brunswickers have a lot of questions that have yet to be answered and they are good questions,” Gallant said.“Developing our economy is a priority, but so is our drinking water.”Alward also used the throne speech to encourage NB Power to seek all avenues — including a possible lawsuit — in efforts to recoup the $1 billion in cost overruns for the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.“If a lawsuit is something that makes sense, then that should be one of the options that is evaluated,” he said.The idea has been floated before by Alward and the previous Liberal government under Shawn Graham, but it has so far gone nowhere.Point Lepreau returned to commercial service on Friday, more than three years after the project was supposed to be complete.Alward also promised in the throne speech to strike a ministerial committee on jobs and the economy.NDP Leader Dominic Cardy was critical of that announcement, saying the cabinet should be setting the agenda for job creation, not creating a committee to do it.“It’s as though this government is a spectator at a NASCAR race rather than realizing it’s their job to be in the driver’s seat and take the province in a different direction,” Cardy said.Gallant also called on the government to stop consulting and start making decisions on job creation.“It’s great to talk about plans, committees and studies, but at the end of the day we have to start creating jobs for New Brunswickers,” he said.Alward said he also wants to introduce efforts aimed at boosting the number of people moving into New Brunswick, as well as increasing the value of commercial exports leaving the province.The throne speech made no mention of a catastrophic drug plan and the government’s plans to balance the books by 2014, both of which were key promises the Tories made during the 2010 election.Alward said his priority is dealing with the fiscal realities of today.“Right now, we are focused on the work we need to do with this fiscal year and then to be able to build a budget for next year,” he said.The government also said it will deliver a three-year capital budget during this session and a five-year health plan next year. It also promised to consider recommendations of a committee that reviewed the Official Languages Act and introduce legislation next year. by Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 27, 2012 4:56 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Record average audience of 64 million tuned in for Game 5

The Toronto Raptors may have missed a chance to close out their first NBA championship, but they were a winner once again in the ratings.Sportsnet announced Tuesday that it set another Canadian record for an NBA game with an average of 6.4 million viewers for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, a 106-105 win by the Golden State Warriors at Scotiabank Arena that cut the Raptors lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2.The broadcaster says audience levels peaked at 8.5 million at 11:32 p.m. ET, as the game was coming down to the wire.The numbers includes viewers on Sportsnet and Citytv, but does not include people watching the American feed.Every game in the series has so far set a new Canadian NBA ratings record. Game 4 of the series reached an average of 4.631 viewers on TSN, CTV2 and the French language broadcast on RDS.Sportsnet and TSN, whose parent companies are co-majority owners of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (which owns the Raptors), split the NBA team’s broadcast schedule.The reported numbers are now surpassing the Toronto Blue Jays’ playoff levels. The Blue Jays had an average audience of 5.12 million for Game 6 of the American League championship in 2015 and 4.02 million for the 2016 AL wild-card game on Sportsnet channels.Traditionally, the Raptors’ television numbers are well behind the Blue Jays. The Raptors and Blue Jays are the only Canadian teams in their respective leagues.Meanwhile, ratings seem to be recovering south of the border after a steep drop from last year’s Finals over the first four games.The Hollywood Reporter said ABC’s Game 5 broadcast scored a 13.4 household rating in metered markets, a 34 per cent improvement over the average for the first four games.Ratings in the U.S. had taken an expected downturn with a Canadian team in the Finals and the absence of superstar LeBron James for the first time in nine seasons. Canadian viewers do not factor into the U.S. ratings formula. read more