PC throne speech focuses on financial responsibility, economic growth
The province’s new Progressive Conservative minority government delivered its first throne speech on Nov. 20.
The speech, prepared by the government and delivered by Lieutenant Governor Jocelyne Roy Vienneau, includes an agenda that delivers five main goals. Those targets include balancing the budget, “energizing” the private sector, making health care more accessible, improving education and bringing more New Brunswickers into the middle class.
“The residents of New Brunswick opened a new era of politics by electing a legislative assembly with a diversity of parties and viewpoints,” said Roy Vienneau.
The new government outlined its plans to table a balanced budget by March of 2020 or sooner.
Among the major commitments in the speech:
- An evidence-based review of existing funding programs for post-secondary education;
- The elimination of billing numbers, plans to examine new ways to pay physicians and other action to reduce medical costs and wait times;
- Passage of a "Classroom Freedom Act" that will give principals, parents and teachers the power to make "choices" that reflect the needs of children and communities;
- The appointment of a new legislative watchdog for climate change;
- A shift of more decision-making power to local governments;
- Efforts to improve the number of bilingual school graduates;
- A review of corporate tax breaks to see if equal amounts of cuts or credits would create more jobs;
- A push for further development of natural resources that respects local and Indigenous communities.
UNB psychology chair named Royal Society of Canada Research Fellow
Sandra Byers, department chair of psychology at the University of New Brunswick, was honoured with the distinction of Royal Society of Canada Research Fellow at a ceremony in Halifax on Nov. 15.
Byers is now the 11th professor at UNB to be named a fellow of the society. Royal Society fellows are elected by their peers for significant achievements in advancing research and scholarship and contributing to the enhancement of Canadian intellectual life. Established in 1882, the RSC currently consists of more than 2 000 fellows in science, social sciences, art and humanities.
Throughout her four decades at UNB, Byers has published more than 140 leading journal articles and her work has been cited more than 8 825 times in over 40 countries. She also co-authored the popular textbook, Understanding Human Sexuality, now in its seventh edition.
Byers pioneered groundbreaking human sexuality research on topics including sexual violence and the sexual health of vulnerable groups.
“Sandra Byers’ legacy of work in research, mentorship, policy and activism affects all Canadians young and old,” Lucia O’Sullivan, professor and experimental program director in UNB’s Psychology department, said in a news release.
BMO to close campus branch
The only bank on the University of New Brunswick’s Fredericton campus is shutting its doors this spring and students are not happy with the decision.
The Bank of Montreal announced in a notice to clients this week that it will be permanently closing the university campus branch on March 22. The location at 29 Dineen Drive is situated next to the UNB bookstore and campus pharmacy.
The change means customers, primarily students and university faculty, will have to go to the nearest branch on Prospect Street in uptown Fredericton.
“We are closing this branch and directing our customers to another one so that we can provide a wider range of financial services to meet our clients’ needs,” BMO spokesperson Valérie Doucet wrote in email to The Brunswickan.
BMO currently operates nearly every ATM throughout the UNB and St. Thomas University campuses.
Doucet said the bank plans to leave its full network of bank machines behind.
“We are currently looking into finding more optimal location(s) on campus and are open to suggestions on those locations,” she said.
Kevish Ramasawmy, a first year UNB student, said he chose to bank with BMO since it was conveniently located on campus.
“I feel that it will really deteriorate the experience for all UNB students and even St. Thomas [students],” he said of the closure.
Ramasawmy said he is considering switching to Scotiabank. As a student from Mauritius, he said he often went into the branch to ask for information regarding international money transfers.