June 25, 2020 | by: Michelle Roy

99.3 The River News—-June 25th, 2020

ALL STORIES FROM MBS NEWSROOM

 

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FIRE UPDATE

A 10 hectare wildfire between Heath Steel Mines and Popple Depot, northwest of Miramichi, was deemed under control yesterday…and three smaller fires were also contained in the tinder dry woods of the province.

 

Kelly Cormier, at Natural Resources, told the Leader they believe all the fires were started by lightning in the storms that rolled across the province earlier this week.  The entire province is currently under a no burn order, according to the website.

 

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HIGGS  COVID

 

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says all remaining businesses in the province will be allowed to open tomorrow as long as they follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Higgs says that includes the Campbellton region, which will also return to the yellow alert level along with the rest of the province tomorrow.

The region had been dropped back to a more strict orange level after an outbreak of COVID-19 linked to out-of-province travel that has claimed two lives.

Higgs says peace officers will continue monitoring the provincial border when an Atlantic travel bubble begins next week to ensure only residents of the region move freely throughout the four provinces

 

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 CHIEFS INQUIRY 

 

The six chiefs of the Wolastoqey (wuhl-ah-STOOK’-kway) Nation in New Brunswick are stepping up their call for an independent inquiry into systemic discrimination and bias.

The chiefs, along with chiefs of the Mi’kmaq Nation, met with premier Blaine Higgs last week _ but Higgs said he preferred a task force to review previous reports and recommendations.

The chiefs say an inquiry would have more teeth _ and in 2017, Higgs himself called on a former government for an inquiry because it had more power than a task force.

Specifically, the chiefs want a commission of inquiry to investigate the fatal shootings of Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi _ both of whom were killed by police earlier this month.

 

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 FINANCES BAD     

 

The latest financial update from the province shows COVID-19 had an even bigger impact then expected with a deficit of 343-million-dollars expected.

Just last month Finance Minister Ernie Steeves projected a 299-million-dollar loss, but new spending around pandemic measures have pushed the number higher.

According to CBC Steeves told the legislative committee they hope the finanical picture will improve as the economy continues to reopen with things such as the casino and entertainment venus opening up.

The province had estimated a 92.4-million-dollar surplus before the pandemic.

 

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BUBBLE   

 

The Atlantic Bubble will come into effect in just over a week from now.

The four Atlantic premiers have announced that travel restrictions between the provinces will be eased as of next Friday, July 3rd.

That means residents of Atlantic Canada will be able to travel freely within the region without having to self-isolate.

Visitors from eleswhere in Canada who have already self-isolated for 14 days will also be allowed to travel freely within the Atlantic provinces.

Residents are still being encouraged to follow public health guidelines wherever they travel.

The Atlantic Bubble was made possible by the decline of Covid-19 cases in the region. Only New Brusnwick still has active cases of the virus.

 

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WHALE DEATHS             

 

A new report says vessel strikes likely caused at least four of the nine deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last summer.

The report says that was the conclusion of necropsies performed on five of the whales found dead between June and July of last year.

It says the cause of death of the fifth could not be determined and necropsies could not be performed on the remaining four whales.

The report was issued by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and the Marine Animal Response Society, which says the highly-endangered whales are still dying at an alarming rate despite all efforts and more needs to be done.

 

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ALC LAYOFFS    

 

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation has laid off about 9-percent of its workforce citing a shift to more digital gaming and problems from COVID-19

According to CBC 57 people are losing their jobs… 43 in New Brunswick, seven in Nova Scotia, four in PEI, and seven in Newfoundland/Labrador.

CEO Chris Keevill says ALC is facing business challenges requring the organization to urgently reform and the pandemic has accelerated that need.

Atlantic Lottery Corporation financial show a profit of 422-million-dollars in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.