National Newswatch

Campobello Island residents say trek through Maine raises COVID-19 concerns

Mar 26 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — Some residents of Campobello Island, N.B., who must drive into the United States to reach the Canadian mainland, are asking the province for another way to get supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ulysse Robichaud says residents of the island don't want to go into the U.S. during the health crisis, and he has written […]

Nova Scotia declares state of emergency to deal with COVID-19 cases

Mar 22 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has declared a provincial state of emergency because he says some people are blatantly ignoring requirements for social distancing and self-isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. McNeil said while most people are obliging, there were many reports of large groups over the weekend. "Hundreds gathering on our beaches and in […]

P.E.I. imposes restrictions for travellers to help control spread of COVID-19

Mar 21 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Atlantic Canada, leading the country's smallest province to impose new restrictions in an effort to stem the spread. As of Saturday, anyone arriving on Prince Edward Island who has travelled within Canada is asked to self-isolate for 14 days — a step beyond the federal government's request to those […]

N.B. Tories survive budget vote as parties unite over coronavirus concerns

Mar 13 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's minority Progressive Conservative government has survived a confidence vote on its provincial budget as members of the legislature set aside partisan differences to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic. The vote was expected to take place next week, but all four party leaders agreed to hold it Friday amid coronavirus concerns in the province, and […]

Jury trials suspended, first confirmed N.B. COVID-19 case, gatherings restricted

Mar 12 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — New Brunswick is suspending jury trials for two months over concerns about the potential spread of novel coronavirus after the province's first case of COVID-19 was confirmed Thursday. Queen's Bench Chief Justice Tracey DeWare said she made the decision after conferring with the Department of Health and the province's chief medical officer. "This exceptional […]

New Brunswick government tables surplus budget amid political sabre rattling

Mar 10 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's governing Progressive Conservatives tabled a $10.2-billion budget Tuesday that could prove to be their undoing, given their tenuous minority in the legislature. Finance Minister Ernie Steeves presented the surplus budget as the Opposition Liberals promised to vote against it in a bid to topple the 17-month-old government led by Premier Blaine Higgs. Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said the Higgs […]

New Brunswick government tables surplus budget amid political sabre rattling

Mar 10 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's governing Progressive Conservatives tabled a $10.2-billion budget Tuesday that could prove to be their undoing, given their tenuous minority in the legislature. Finance Minister Ernie Steeves presented the surplus budget as the Opposition Liberals promised to vote against it in a bid to topple the 17-month-old government led by Premier Blaine Higgs. Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said the Higgs […]

New Brunswick Tories say tomorrow’s provincial budget hits surplus target

Mar 9 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's finance minister says Tuesday's provincial budget hits the government's target of a $125-million surplus to go towards the debt. Ernie Steeves wore bright orange sneakers Monday morning as he unveiled the budget cover, with the title "Creating a Culture of Action." "I've been working up a sweat since I started working on it," […]

New Brunswick premier picks June 15 as date for pair of byelections

Mar 9 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs has called a pair of byelections for Monday, June 15. There are vacancies in the ridings of St. Croix and Shediac Bay-Dieppe following the death of Progressive Conservative Greg Thompson and the resignation of Liberal Brian Gallant. Higgs said he would have scheduled the votes sooner but had […]

New Brunswick maintains position on abortions and Canada Health Act

Feb 26 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government is standing firm in its position that it is not violating the Canada Health Act by refusing to fund out-of-hospital abortions. "We are working with the federal government to address their concerns," New Brunswick Health Department spokesman Bruce Macfarlane said in a statement Wednesday. "We want to ensure the […]

N.B. prof says Tory backtrack on hospital closures could prompt early election

Feb 18 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government's backtrack this week on health-care reforms has damaged the image of Premier Blaine Higgs and his minority Tory government, a local political scientist says. Donald Wright with the University of New Brunswick said Tuesday that Higgs's reputation as a "steady, competent fiscal manager" is at risk and an early election could […]

New Brunswick premier admits ‘gaps’ in scrapped plan for overnight ER closures

Feb 17 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says criticism of his government's decision to close emergency rooms overnight in six community hospitals exposed serious gaps in the plan and led him to reverse course. "I can't in good conscience move forward without addressing the concerns and fears that have been brought to light," Higgs told a news […]

N.B. deputy premier quits minority Tory government over health-care reforms

Feb 14 2020 — Kevin Bissett — SHIPPAGAN, N.B. — New Brunswick's governing Progressive Conservatives saw their deputy premier quit in protest over health-care reforms Friday, leaving the minority government in the precarious position of facing a confidence vote or possibly calling an early election. Robert Gauvin told constituents in his riding of Shippagan-Lameque-Miscou he will sit as an Independent, dealing a blow to the […]

Government backbencher won’t support nighttime closure of Sussex ER

Feb 13 2020 — Kevin Bissett — FREDERICTON — Just a day after New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs conceded that a growing backlash to his government's health-care reforms could hurt him politically, one of his own backbenchers spoke out against the changes. Bruce Northrup issued a statement Thursday to say he cannot support the decision to eliminate the overnight emergency hours at […]