Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dogged anti-shale gas protesters at Legislature for free vote; House drags feet

BREAKING - MLA York North Kirk MacDonald votes in favor of shale gas amendment to continue industry in province...





By Cheryl Norrad

FREDERICTON - About a handfull of anti-shale gas protesters were present at the Legislature today to continue making their feelings known to the Alward government on shale gas, and the free vote on it today by the House.

"...it's bullshit," said protester Heather Whalen, on the grounds of the House today, when asked for a protester's opinion of the vote.

The ruling Conservatives agreed last week to put the issue to a free pro or con vote by all members of the House, meaning those in Alward's own party can vote whatever way they like on the issue. However, the vote is not binding.

This publication was present earlier today in the House during Question Period on the shale gas issue. After anti-shale gas petitions were presented by Liberals Victor Boudreau and Chris Collins, along with Conservative Jack Carr, Boudreau tried to raise the vote, however, Deputy Premier Paul Robichaud kept putting it off by accusing the Liberals of bringing too many bills to the floor that had to be dealt with first before the vote could proceed. Citing House procedure, Robichaud put the issue back in the lap of the Liberals. However, Boudreau stood and stated Liberal members were willing to forgo the reading of bills to get straight to the shale gas vote. But to no avail.

As of this writing, the free vote scheduled for today has yet to take place.

UPDATE: At 5:55 pm, with five minutes to go before the scheduled end of today's session, MLA's completed the free vote on the amendment stating shale gas be continued in New Brunswick. All Conservatives supported the amendment, all Liberals against. Conservative MLA for York North, Kirk MacDonald, stood in favor.