Friday, December 07, 2007


Originally uploaded by Oldmaison

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Forest Industry
Mr. Volpé: My question this afternoon will be for the Premier. Earlier this week, he backtracked
on a policy that was wrong. Now, we are trying to understand whether he did it to protect the
Minister of Natural Resources, because it looked like he changed the policy only in that region. He
was not ready to do it for Juniper. Later, he was asked whether he would be willing to do something
for private woodlot owners who were losing access to market, and he said no to it. My question to
the Premier this afternoon would be: Are you at least ready to involve the local communities that
are affected in making a long-term plan for the forestry sector? It seems like you do not have the
answer, so if somebody else has the answer, I would appreciate it.
Hon. Mr. Arseneault: I do not think I need anybody to protect me. I think I am doing quite well
on my own. We are there with the private woodlot owners. We know that they are part of the
forestry sector, along with the industry. That is why the Premier, Shawn Graham, has taken a leading
role and has sat down with the private woodlot owners to find solutions to all the concerns. At the
end of the day, we are all in it together, and we are going to work together to find a proper
solution—the industry, the private woodlots, and the government. That is what we have been doing,
and that is what we will continue to do.

Mr. Volpé: I could not get an answer, because my question was: Are you ready to involve the local
community? We already know the answer for private woodlots, because we asked and the Premier
said no earlier this week. That is done. My question is: Are you ready to involve the local
community? Yesterday, I was meeting with a group of students of forestry in Edmundston, for the
future of the industry.
Ces étudiants sont très déçus et s’opposent à la politique actuelle de l’aménagement de bois et
aimeraient voir davantage de participation de la part des collectivités pour ce qui est de la
planification à long terme des forêts.
Ma question pour le ministre est bien simple : êtes-vous prêt à inclure les collectivités dans les plans
qui seront mis en place pour développer le secteur forestier dans l’avenir au Nouveau-Brunswick?
Hon. Mr. Arseneault: New Brunswickers should be proud of our forest management practices here
in New Brunswick and of how we manage our Crown lands in New Brunswick. We are leaders, on
a national and international basis, in terms of how we manage our forests. It is recognized
throughout the world, and it is very evident that the community has a role to play. I have a public
advisory committee, and we meet on a regular basis. There is more information today that is posted
through various communications forms, Web sites, or reports and so forth that are made available
to the public. The community has a role to play, and it is playing that role. Again, we are leaders in
the world in forest management practices, and we will continue to lead.
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Mr. Volpé: I guess the answer is no. The government is not ready to involve the public. The
government does not want those who are affected by job losses to be involved. He says we have the
best forest management. We did until the Liberals came in and destroyed it. That is what they are
doing now. They are playing politics with the long-term future of the forestry sector.
My next question is for the Premier or for anyone who wants to answer it. What you are doing now
is hurting rural communities. Who are you protecting? You are not protecting rural communities,
so who are you protecting?
018 14:10
Hon. Mr. Arseneault: I would like to introduce the opposition policy makers on the fly. I
remember the wood supply committee that went around New Brunswick in 2004. It had a whole pile
of recommendations that the opposition today now supports wholeheartedly. At that time, there was
a proposal in their recommendation about community forests. The former government, under that
leadership, said no. So, policy on the fly.
In 2003, you also had in your election platform about helping private woodlot owners. What did you
do? Nothing. Today, you want to save the private woodlot owners. You had a member just the other
day, when you were not here, praising the work of J.D. Irving and how it is the best company, on
a national basis, with the best forest management practices.
I do not know what is happening on the opposition side, but it seems to me it is policy on the fly.
Mr. Volpé: The only thing on the fly is the Liberal Party, because we cannot get an answer. I never
said I would support community forests. That is not what I am saying. I am saying: Can a
community . . .
Mr. Volpé: Mr. Premier, if it is so funny, maybe you can give us an answer. If you cannot answer,
then maybe you should listen.
What we are saying is that communities should be involved in planning the long-term management
of the forests within the region. It is not called community forests. It is called being involved.
Again, we have a minister who does not know what he is talking about. The private woodlot owner
thinks of change. We are losing a lot of small sawmills in New Brunswick, and some big ones. The
market conditions have changed. I asked earlier this week: Are you ready, for one year, to bring a
primary source of supply, so that the private woodlot owners have access to a market? They said no
to that. Today, I am asking if you are you ready to open your minds, so that at least those
communities that are involved, and that are impacted, can get part of the process where they should
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say: What do we want to do with that land that we have here, because we are losing control of it?
Again, you are saying no.
I have a very simple question: Who are you protecting? You are not protecting the community.
Hon. Mr. Arseneault: Again, within five minutes, we have a policy on the fly, and he just changed
his mind. I have heard him in the last two weeks talking about the forestry forum that was held in
Restigouche. He and his colleague, the member for Restigouche-la-Vallée, were praising how they
went there, how they brought their input, and saying that my absence relayed that I was not there.
However, I look at the action plan from the Restigouche forestry forum. If you provided your input,
there is nothing in here about community forests. There is nothing in here about involving
communities. There is nothing in here about private woodlots. I do not know if you have a different
message when you go in the regions, and you have a different message when you meet people across
New Brunswick, like private woodlot owners, but your thoughts are not in this action plan. I do not
know where you are getting your information.
Mr. Volpé: It is too bad that the minister is still in the election mood. I do know that his leader told
him at that time: You can say whatever you want, as long as you get elected. He is there again. We
are not in the election mood, sir. It is over. It is done. I never said today that I was supporting
community forests. I said that if you read the report, those people are saying: We have other options
for the forestry sector.
All I am asking is this: Can you be open-minded enough to listen? You were not there. You were
not interested, because it was not important enough. They were able to put their time on it. They
have some options for you to say: This is what could be done with the fibre. This is not called
community forests. This is called options for the future of our forests in New Brunswick. That is
what I am asking for. Are you open-minded enough to listen to those people? You were not there,
even though it was in your own region. You are the minister responsible for it. It is within your own
region. You will let the mill go down, and now you are letting the people go down too.
Hon. Mr. Arseneault: The Restigouche forestry forum action plan and integrated bioenergy—that
was part of our action plan on self-sufficiency. It is included. Integrated industrial system, and have
industry dialogue and partnership—we are doing that. Political support for the industries, new
directions—we are doing that. R&D technology, communication networking with the industry in
the region—we are doing that. They are sayng there is a lack of champions to technology
transfers—we are working with BNB on that. Also wood processing machinery. It is very clear that
the Restigouche forestry forum identified clear actions, and this government is more than willing
to work in partnership with that region.
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Régies régionales de la santé
M. C. Landry : On est ici depuis deux semaines déjà, mais on n’a pas de réponse de ce
gouvernement. Le chef de l’opposition pose des questions, mais le ministre des Ressources
naturelles ne les comprend pas et ne répond même pas.
019 14:15
Ma question s’adresse au ministre de la Santé. Depuis les 14 derniers mois, il y a beaucoup de
ballons qui se font tirer en l’air un peu partout. Le ministre parle beaucoup, mais il y a peu d’action.
Ma question est simple : le ministre de la Santé peut-il nous confirmer qu’il a un plan secret de
réduire le nombre de régies régionales de la santé de huit à aussi peu que deux? La question est
simple, Monsieur le ministre.
Hon. Mr. Murphy: There is a provincial health plan in place presently which expires on about April
1, 2008. Grant Thornton recommended a new provincial health plan and also raised questions with
regard to collaboration and cooperation between and among the regional health authorities. We have
an obligation, on this side of the House, under the Regional Health Authorities Act, to consult and
speak with the health authorities and the boards of directors, which I will be doing. I have done it
in the past, and I will continue to do it.
It is very important to do this right. We know that there have been plans in the past that were done
very quickly. We are going to take our time to have this done perfectly, so that every man, woman,
and child, for the next generation, gets the best publicly funded health care, the best Medicare, in
this country.
M. C. Landry : C’est encore clair que le ministre se cache derrière son futur plan de santé. Je
l’invite, lorsqu’il parle de consultation, à parler avec les gens qui travaillent dans les régies
régionales de la santé comme bénévoles. Ce que ces personnes me disent est ceci : On n’a aucun son
de cloche de ce ministre. Là encore, le ministre refuse de confirmer ou de nier un plan pour réduire
le nombre de régies régionales de la santé. Il refuse de le dire. Pourquoi ce ministre n’a-t-il pas le
courage de prendre la parole et de dire la vérité à la population du Nouveau-Brunswick? Va-t-il
réduire le nombre de régies régionales de la santé dans la province? A-t-il le courage de dire la vérité
et d’être honnête avec les gens du Nouveau-Brunswick aujourd’hui?
Does the minister have the guts to tell the truth and to be honest with New Brunswickers about their
regional health authorities?
Hon. Mr. Murphy: In being completely honest, I will tell you that, in the future, there is going to
be a health plan in New Brunswick that has dozens and dozens of initiatives. My mandate, as
Minister of Health, given to me by the Premier, was to preserve and enhance the clinical delivery
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of health care in this province. We are doing that. We are obligated to listen to and speak with the
health authorities. I am going to be doing that. I am going to be doing a tour of the province and
meeting with all the board members. Throughout this year, I have continued to meet with volunteers,
with associations—some of them are here today—and with literally hundreds of people, perhaps
more than 1 000 people. That is something that the previous government did not do.
M. C. Landry : Là, on voit encore un ministre qui se cache derrière un plan caché. Toutefois, le
ministre nous dit clairement et je cite :
Changes will be made to the governance of the health authorities.
Là, il faut se poser la question suivante : Quels sont les changements qui prendront place en ce qui
a trait à la gouvernance? On a des régies et des élus. Le ministre ne peut pas nous dire à la Chambre
aujourd’hui si oui ou non on va réduire le nombre de régies régionales de la santé. Qu’il nous dise
la vérité. Qu’il ait le courage de le dire aux gens du Nouveau-Brunswick, aux personnes qui siègent
au conseil d’administration des régies régionales. On n’a pas de réponse de la part de ce ministre.
Qu’il ait le courage de nous dire si oui ou non. Il n’a pas pu encore nous dire s’il allait réduire le
nombre de régies régionales de la santé de huit à deux, ou même encore moins. Qu’il nous le dise.
Hon. Mr. Murphy: On the one hand, the opposition members have repeatedly said that I need to
consult more and to speak more throughout the province, and on the other hand, they say that they
want the plan right now, despite the fact that the previous plan is still in existence. The next plan is
for 2008 to 2012. We have spoken repeatedly about the difficulties in the province with regard to
competition between and among regional health authorities. There are a number of possible
resolutions. However, one thing is certain: We need more collaboration and more cooperation so
that we have one system for all New Brunswickers, so that all New Brunswickers can access all of
the infrastructure in this province. Presently, we have situations where some drugs are available for
patients at a hospital in one part of the province and they are not available in another part of the
province. We need standardization. We need one system that will last for generations.
020 14:20
Regional Health Authorities
Mr. Fitch: Since the Minister of Health will not confirm whether or not he will maintain the eight
regional health authorities, we will go to something that is near and dear to the hearts of people on
this side, and that is democracy. I know there are members on your side who do not hold democracy
very near and dear to their hearts. Will you confirm that the democratic process of electing regional
health authority board members will be maintained in your new health plan? You have been floating
trial balloons, so you must be talking about this. Tell us now: Are you going to stop the process of
electing regional health authority board members?
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Hon. Mr. Murphy: We know one thing. We know that our communities need to have access to
health care on a timely basis. We know we need to have very precise and efficient citizen
engagement, and that is what we will do. We will ensure that we have citizen engagement at all
levels of the health care system. I find it ironic that the member opposite talks about democracy,
when they had a CEO who spoke out about primary access and health care and beds, and they fired
that individual. That is an opposition that is splintered throughout. That is the member who will not
tell us what his position is on the Petitcodiac River, because the member for Dieppe Centre-
Lewisville has an opposite position. There are a dozen positions over there on health care, on the
Petitcodiac River, on any subject you want.
Mr. Fitch: We know that their caucus is divided on that topic, too. Let’s get back to the point. You
are hiding the truth, and you need to come clean, because the elections for health authority boards
would happen during the municipal elections in the spring. People need to know what they are going
to do with their future. They need to know what to do with their lives. You are a QC now, so you
should be able to answer this question. It is pretty simple. I know you are overloaded with the House
Leader authority that the Premier has given to you. The principle of democracy in the governance
of the health care system is very important. This style of shadowy answers, trying to duck from the
truth, and trying to hide behind all your rhetoric is not healthy in this province. You need to come
clean. The question is very simple. Will the minister confirm that he is going to eliminate elected
regional health care authority board members this spring?
Hon. Mr. Murphy: I want to thank the member opposite for his concern about me; it is very
heartening. The reality is that we know that we have to have more collaboration and more
cooperation. We have to ensure that the various regions are all represented and are all working
together. We have situations where physicians want to offer services in one part of the province and
they are stuck in another part of the province. Even though they can sometimes get only 12 or 13
hours a month operating time and there is more time available in other parts of the province, they
cannot go there because of privileges. We need collaboration. We need to work together. We cannot
have a number of different systems. We need to have one system for all New Brunswick, and I think
that New Brunswickers will be very happy with that.
Mr. Fitch: I think the minister is confirming here today that he is going to have one regional health
care board for the whole province. That is what it sounds like to me. He needs to be clear to the
people, because it is affecting lives. He has had more than a year to determine whether or not he is
going to have elected boards. As he is mucking out the stalls, I am sure he has heard, and he has
determined whether or not he is going to go with the elected board or cast democracy out the
window and go back to the autocratic Liberal style of telling people what to do, as opposed to
dialoguing with them and seeing exactly what needs to be done within the system. For the final time,
with a simple yes or no, the question is: Will the minister confirm if the regional health authorities
are going to continue to have elected board members under his new, beloved health plan?
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Hon. Mr. Murphy: Based on what I have heard from this member for the last four years, he could
work those stalls pretty well. When I talk about one system for all New Brunswick, I am talking
about the fact that we need to have some standardization. We need to have all New Brunswickers
able to access infrastructure and clinical services throughout New Brunswick. That can be done
through collaboration and cooperation. I have spoken with board members throughout the province.
I have spoken with our CEOs, with our board chairs, and with various associations, and there are
lots of ways to move forward. We will move forward to ensure that we are able to reduce wait times
and have more timely access to primary health care, to decongest some of our ERs. These things can
be done when we work together.
021 14:25
Mrs. Poirier: My questions, this morning, are for the Minister of Justice. Following the end of the
session last July, to our surprise, we learned of the government’s intention to close the courthouse
in Richibucto. The courthouse in Richibucto is a provincial building that received renovations during
the years that we were in power. Since the summer, I have yet to meet someone who understands
the logic behind your decision. Could you please explain to the people of Rogersville-
Kouchibouguac and of Kent your reasoning in closing the courthouse in Richibucto?
Hon. Mr. Burke: I want to thank the member opposite for my first question this session. I have had
the opportunity to speak to the mayor of the local area to which the member refers. Closing
courthouses is not something that government necessarily intends to do. Closing courthouses is
something that arises on an agenda, when we look forward to our transformational changes to the
justice system. As the member opposite should know, the Moncton courthouse will be built in
Moncton. Government intends to invest. We look forward to building a PPP pilot project, so that
Moncton can have an iconic courthouse that can accommodate all the local judges, the RCMP, and
our Sheriff Services, and that will make sure that the citizens of New Brunswick who go into that
courthouse have the best security afforded to them.
Mrs. Poirier: That sounds a little bit like the McGuire solution, where you take rural New
Brunswick and you bring it to urban New Brunswick. In Richibucto, the courthouse serves the
population of 3 or 4 municipalities, at least. It serves the 2 First Nation communities. It also serves
more than 12 local service districts. The closing of the Richibucto courthouse means that these
people will have to travel for their services, some as far as an hour away. We all believe, on this side
of the House, that New Brunswickers should have access to government services in their own area,
even if it is rural New Brunswick. Jobs will also be lost over this decision. I am asking you today
to please revisit your decision and to keep the courthouse in Richibucto open.
Hon. Mr. Burke: I just want to set the record straight that no jobs will be lost due to the closure of
the Richibucto courthouse. As a private lawyer, prior to being sworn in as Minister of Justice, I had
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an opportunity to be in that courthouse many, many times. The courthouse is old. It is antiquated.
It has inappropriate security and inappropriate holding cells for prisoners. It is an inappropriate
building to make sure that the safety of the citizens, which is first and foremost to our government,
is paramount. We want to make sure that the people who go to that courthouse are protected. We
want to make sure that the Crown prosecutors who go there are protected. We want to make sure
that the judge who sits at the Richibucto courthouse is protected. Moncton will have an iconic
building, which will serve justice for all of those who require it in that particular area.
Mrs. Poirier: There will be job losses in the Richibucto area, which will affect the economy of the
area. Renovations have already been done to the building, and it is provincially owned. I am also
aware that a committee has been put in place to help you understand that this is the wrong decision
and why it is crucial that the Richibucto courthouse should remain open. A petition is also in the
works. I know that you spoke of the mayor, and I am aware that even a lot of these people have
signed the petition and do not agree with this. No one understands why your government does not
believe in rural New Brunswick and in keeping some of the services there. The working committee
to save the courthouse has my total support and the support of the population of the whole region
of Rogersville-Kouchibouguac. Again, we are asking you to please reverse that decision. Please
work with the local community. Please help New Brunswick survive by keeping our rural
communities open and by offering services.
Hon. Mr. Burke: I want to let the member opposite know that I am very interested in working with
the community. I am very interested in working with the Premier, who supports this community. I
am very interested in working with our government members, who support rural New Brunswick.
There is no shred of evidence on the record that shows that this government does not support rural
New Brunswick. I challenge the member opposite to show the evidence that job losses will take
place at that particular courthouse. At this point, no job losses have taken place following any of the
satellite courthouse closures. I am aware that this is a permanent courthouse. Those employees will
be accommodated once the new Moncton courthouse is built.
022 14:30
Énergie NB
M. Williams : Le sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick a été durement touché par la tempête de mardi
dernier. Plusieurs abonnés résidentiels et commerciaux ont été touchés par les nombreuses pannes
d’électricité. Ma question est pour le ministre de l’Énergie. Peut-il informer la Chambre quant aux
nombre d’abonnés qui sont toujours privés d’électricité dans le sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick? Le
ministre peut-il confirmer que des équipes d’Énergie NB ont été envoyées à l’extérieur de la
province pour y travailler?
Hon. Mr. Keir: I would like to thank the member opposite for the question. At my last discussion,
I think it was down to roughly 1 000 homes that were without power. That was as of yesterday. I had
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not heard whether there were NB Power folks who went outside the province to help, but I will
check on that. I will certainly get the member that information.
M. Williams : Dans le sud-est, on a vu des équipes de la Nova Scotia Power, qui ont été dépêchées
dans la région pour aider à rétablir le pouvoir. On entend aussi dire que des équipes d’Énergie NB
sont allées à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard pour y effectuer des travaux. J’apprécierais beaucoup une
réponse. Les gens de la région du Sud-Est sont toujours privés d’électricité. Je pense qu’il faut
premièrement s’assurer que les abonnés, les clients d’Énergie NB, sont servis en premier. Je pense
que le ministre doit assurer les abonnés d’Énergie NB d’un service rapide et efficace. Comme il l’a
indiqué, il y a encore environ 1 000 personnes qui n’ont toujours pas d’électricité. Les commerces
sont aussi touchés. Il faut s’assurer que les effectifs sont en place pour que les abonnés soient servis.
Le ministre doit s’assurer que les équipes d’Énergie NB servent les clients du Nouveau-Brunswick
en premier.
Hon. Mr. Keir: As I have said, I will certainly look into that and get back to the member opposite.
I would like to thank Nova Scotia Power for coming up. I think it has been a long history and
tradition of power utilities in Atlantic Canada helping each other out when there is such a storm as
we had earlier this week. I would like to thank Nova Scotia for coming up to help us. Frankly, if NB
Power did go over to help Prince Edward Island, good for them for helping Prince Edward Island.
There has been a long tradition and history of utilities in Atlantic Canada helping each other out.
Mrs. Blaney: Last week, the Premier made a statement that students throughout UNB, both
campuses, are actually hailing as a victory. The Premier deviated from previous remarks about a
university presence and actually said last week, during question period, that there would be UNBSJ
presence and that it would exist in Saint John. Of course, the key word is UNBSJ. The students are
really excited about this, and they are believing that the Premier meant what he said that UNBSJ is
here to stay. Can the Premier confirm today that he meant what he said?
Hon. S. Graham: We have made it very clear that there is a process in place today with four
community college principals and four university presidents. They are working on developing a
model that will allow better integration of the system to better meet the needs of the students and,
at the same time, to meet the needs of the marketplace. The process is working. I know that the eight
representatives have been diligently working on developing a model that will move forward. I want
to be very clear that the statements that I bring forward in this House are in the best interest of the
students, and that is the intention of this government as we move forward with these reforms.
Mrs. Blaney: The Premier certainly did not acknowledge that he meant what he said. Obviously,
he did not, which is, in fact, very disappointing for students and for all of southern New Brunswick.
Both campuses are united in their determination and their resolve to keep UNBSJ a part of UNB,
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and they cannot understand why you moved so quickly to ensure that STU and Mount Allison would
stay, and they want to know why you are punishing UNB.
023 14:35
Hon. S. Graham: I was actually asked a question by one of the student leaders on Voice of the
Province last Wednesday evening, in a televised, provincewide show. The same answer that I
provided that night is the same one as today. We want to work with a number of the groups in
bringing forward positive changes to postsecondary education. Our government has the fortitude,
today, to tackle this issue, unlike the former government, which did nothing on postsecondary
education reform during the seven years that it was in office. In fact, it promised a commission to
study the issue, but could not even implement it.
I am very happy that the working group of university presidents and community college principals
is working on a model that will see better integration in the system. At the same time, it will be more
student-focused. Third, it will better meet the needs of the marketplace. The process is working, and
I look forward to the action that we will be taking in the new year.
Mrs. Blaney: I fail to understand how it can possibly be student-focused when the students are not
even a part of the process, sitting at the table, nor have they been invited to be a part of the process.
When you say that it is student-focused, your words are very, very hollow. A lot of financial
implications, as a result of the future of UNB’s two campuses, are hanging in the balance. Their
futures are very unsure. UNB’s Fredericton campus will be very hard-hit financially as a result of
the nondecisions taken by this government in ensuring the future of either campus. The financial
implications mean that international participation has come to a trickle. International students are
actually leaving the university, because they do not know what the future is. Students who would
otherwise attend from other places around the world are not applying. The financial implications are
severe, and they are broaching on irreparable. Will the Premier commit today to ensuring that the
financial damage to both campuses will be compensated for by the government, because it is one
hundred percent responsible for the damage that is being done to both campuses?
Hon. S. Graham: I would like to remind the member opposite that she sat at the Cabinet table for
four years with a government that promised to bring forth a commission on reforming postsecondary
education. She did not even have the fortitude to see that through. We, on this side, did. We
recognize that, with the process that has been started, we have faith and confidence in the working
group that is looking at implementing the recommendations that were brought forth by the
independent commission. I want to be very clear that President McLaughlin, of the University of
New Brunswick, has been a strong advocate at the table. He wants to see these reforms brought
through, which will benefit the entire system of postsecondary education in New Brunswick. When
I take recommendations of what is best for the system, they will be coming from the university
presidents and not from the member opposite.
December 6, 2007 Not finalized / Non finalisé le 6 décembre 2007
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Mr. Speaker: The time for question period has now expired.
Hon. Mr. Keir: If it pleases the Speaker, I have the answer to the question posed by the member
Mr. Speaker: Is it agreed?
Hon. Members: Agreed.
NB Power
Hon. Mr. Keir: We are now down to 35 outages in the province. No crews left New Brunswick to
help any other province, but Nova Scotia brought in 30 folks to help us in New Brunswick. Again,
I would like to thank them for that.

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