Letters to the Editor

Monday, 30 April 2012

Details of 2012 Royal Tour released

FREDERICTON (GNB) – Details of the Royal Tour of Canada by Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were announced today in Ottawa by James Moore, minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. Beginning in New Brunswick, the royal couple will tour Canada from May 20 to 23 and visit four communities in three provinces.

The royal couple will visit:

●    Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown, Oromocto, N.B. (May 21);
●    Saint John, N.B. (May 21);
●    Toronto, Ont. (May 21 and 22); and
●    Regina, Sask. (May 22 and 23).

“We are delighted that Their Royal Highnesses will join Canadians in celebrating the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty's reign as Queen of Canada,” Moore said. “Occasions such as this are rare. The only other time Canada celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of a reigning king or queen was for Queen Victoria in 1897. We welcome the royal couple and look forward to showing them some of the best of what Canada has to offer.”

This will be the 16th time the Prince of Wales has toured Canada. His most recent tour was in 2009. This will be the second tour to Canada for the Duchess of Cornwall. The prince last came to New Brunswick in April 1996 when he visited Fredericton, Saint John, Miramichi and Caraquet.

“New Brunswick is honoured to host Their Royal Highnesses in Oromocto and Saint John as the first stops on their Royal Tour of Canada,” said Premier David Alward. “I hope New Brunswickers will take the opportunity to participate in these events with The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall as we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and Victoria Day with them.”

The program will highlight Canadians' service to their communities, in recognition of which the Prince of Wales will present the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals.  

Opportunities for Canadians to see the royal couple will be at the following events:

●    official welcome to Canada at CFB Gagetown in Oromocto on May 21;
●    Victoria Day celebration in Saint John on May 21;
●    arrival at Queen's Park in Toronto on May 22;
●    arrival at the Saskatchewan Legislature on May 23; and
●    arrival at the First Nations University in Regina on May 23.

In addition to these public opportunities, there are several highlights of this tour:

●    A meeting with young veterans and mentors involved in the Military Entrepreneurship summer school at CFB Gagetown on May 21.
●    Victoria Day fireworks in Toronto on May 21.
●    A meeting with chief executives and youth who have participated in The Prince's Charities Seeing is Believing program in Canada on May 22.
●    A meeting with the National Leadership of Assembly of First Nations in Toronto on May 22.
●    A first visit for the Duchess of Cornwall to the Queen's Own Rifles – she has just become Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment – in Toronto on May 22.
●    A special military event in Toronto on May 22 that will commemorate the War of 1812.
●    A celebration of the centennial of Regina's Legislative Building on May 23.
●    A performance by the Regina Symphony Orchestra, of which the Prince of Wales is a Royal Patron, in Regina on May 23.

The theme of the 2012 Royal Tour is For Queen and Country: Service to Canada – A Royal and a National Value.

A full itinerary is being developed in collaboration with municipal, provincial, and federal partners; Clarence House and private organizations, and will be announced closer to the start of the royal tour.


Yesterday this publication mistakenly associated a video as part of the Matthew Hayes campaign platform. However the organization that produced the video, New Ideas NB, isn't part of the Hayes group, but merely made the video as part of a series of interviews it's doing with Hayes. This publication regrets the error.

See the video below:

Hayes campaign events for this week...

FREDERICTON - Matthew Hayes, mayoral candidate for Fredericton, is participating in 3 media events this week, including a campaign event on his Clean Water & Air and two public debates.

WHEN: Clean Water & Air - Monday, April 30th at 12:00 PM
Rogers TV debate – Tuesday, May 1st from 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Chamber of Commerce debate – Wednesday, May 2nd from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

WHERE: Clean Water & Air - Carleton Park
Rogers TV debate – Tom Morrison Theatre, Fredericton High School, 300 Priestman Street
Chamber of Commerce debate – Hugh John Flemming Forestry Centre, 1350 Regent Street

WHY: Clean Water & Air - Matthew Hayes wants to address the problems with maintaining clean water and air in Fredericton, particularly in terms of shale gas exploration.
Debates – Matthew Hayes is eager to discuss his views on moving the city forward with his mayoral opponent.

Mayoral candidate Hayes calls for environmental leadership

FREDERICTON - Today in Carleton Park, mayoral candidate Matthew Hayes launched his platform plank on Clean Water and Air to an audience of residents and stakeholder groups. He wants to ensure that City Council protects the quality of the water and air in Fredericton.

“We’ve got some of the purest water in Canada, and I want to keep it that way,” says Hayes.

Hayes believes Fredericton should be taking a leadership role on areas of environmental concern, such as shale gas exploration. “Two weeks ago, City Council voted to ban shale gas exploration within city limits, which did nothing to change the status quo,” Hayes says.

Fredericton relies on underground aquifers for its drinking water, and this source goes beyond city limits. Hayes says that this means Fredericton needs to be aware of what is happening outside of the city.

“We need to recognize that Fredericton does not exist in a bubble. What happens outside our region can affect us negatively, which is why we need to take a strong stance against risky industrial development throughout the province.”

Thus far, the election has been about public transit, the neighbourhoods that are being built, recreation opportunities, arts and culture, and other areas of public interest. It all contributes to the quality of life in Fredericton, Hayes says.

“The state of our water and air is essential to our quality of life,” Hayes says. “As mayor, it would be my priority to protect it.”

Tomorrow night - Ward 6 candidate LeTourneau at Ramada

Ward 6 City Council candidate, Ian LeTourneau, is inviting the Barkers Point and Lower St. Mary’s communities to an evening of coffee, tea and conversation entitled “Ian at the Inn.”  The event will be held from 6:30-8:00pm in The Courtyard at The Ramada (480 Riverside Drive) on May 1, 2012.  All residents and businesses of Ward 6 are invited to attend and bring along their questions and concerns for Ian.  He will be sharing his vision for the ward and communicating his passion for working with people and engaging with the community. 

Ian LeTourneau resides in Barkers Point with his wife Sherry and their son.  He is an author and currently works as Managing Editor of The Fiddlehead magazine at the University of New Brunswick.  His writing has been included in multiple publications across Canada.  Ian volunteers extensively in the arts and culture sector and has actively served on many boards of directors.  For more information on Ian and his vision for Ward 6, please visit his website at www.ward6fredericton.blogspot.ca or for
more info or to RSVP "Ian at the Inn", go here: https://www.facebook.com/events/435877273092711/

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Hayes campaign begins video series

Fredericton mayoral candidate Matthew Hayes posted the first in a series of videos late last week, as part of his Great Ideas platform, explaining his ideas on municipal governance for Fredericton. Episode 1, below, is on civic leadership.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Hayes holding local food campaign event Saturday

Matthew Hayes, mayoral candidate for Fredericton, will be holding a campaign event this coming weekend to continue on his platform for Community Gardens and Local Food.

WHEN: Saturday, April 28th at 1:00 PM

WHERE: Saint Mary’s Community Garden, 780 McEvoy Street, Fredericton

WHY: Local Food – Hayes wants to work with community groups to help eliminate barriers facing community agriculture.

Danger on TCH: mischief damages car on highway in Oromocto

District 2 RCMP is investigating an incident of mischief that caused extensive damage to a vehicle travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway in Oromocto.

At approximately 2:45 a.m. on April 26, 2012, District 2 RCMP responded to a call of a car striking a large rock on the highway.  It's believed the rock,  which was approximately 12 inches tall,  was deliberately placed in the middle of the eastbound lane of the highway between Exit 301 and Exit 303. Police found other similar sized boulders on the shoulder of the road in the same area.  The car sustained extensive damage and had to be towed away.  The driver, the lone occupant of the car, was not injured.

District 2 RCMP is asking for the public's help with information about this incident.  Anyone who may have been travelling in the area and saw an individual or group of individuals near the pedestrian tunnel,  that runs underneath the highway, connecting Pioneer and D'Amours Streets in Oromocto is asked to contact RCMP at 506-357-4300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Tomorrow at the Crowne Plaza

Melanson questions future of services in rural New Brunswick

FREDERICTON – Liberal MLA Roger Melanson, opposition critic of the newly formed Department of Government Services, is concerned cuts are coming to services for New Brunswickers, particularly in rural areas.

Melanson had his first opportunity to ask questions of its minister, Craig Leonard, during Budgetary Estimates this week.  He is concerned with the lack of answers he received to questions asked about rural areas of the province.   

When Melanson asked specifically if the government had any intention or plans to close any Service New Brunswick offices in the province, the minister refused to answer. 

“This is a concern for us, and it should be a concern for rural New Brunswickers,” said Melanson, the MLA for Dieppe Centre-Lewisville.  “The Alward government clearly has a secret agenda for those living in rural areas of our province.  Now it seems there is the potential for even fewer services to be offered to rural New Brunswickers.

“If there were no plans to close any of these offices, the minister would have said so,” continued Melanson.  “However, his silence on the issue leads me to believe rural New Brunswickers can expect to receive fewer services in the near future.”

Melanson said that time and time again, this government has made decisions that negatively impact the services received by those who live in rural areas of the province.  These measures include closing schools, reducing health care services, and increasing the gas tax. 

Meanwhile, the premier has hired more people to work in his office, and increased his budget.   

“It seems to work two ways with this government,” added Melanson.  “They don’t mind spending taxpayers money on their own personal interests. Instead they are cutting services that affect people who are already hard hit.

“The Alward government needs to be upfront and honest with New Brunswickers and tell them what their plans are for our rural areas,” said Melanson. 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Hayes unveils platform for local agriculture

FREDERICTON - Today, mayoral candidate Matthew Hayes launched his official platform release in front of the Sunset U-Pick on Community Gardens and Local Food to an audience of residents and media figures. He wants to foster a healthy community that participates in urban agriculture.

“Local agriculture has a multitude of benefits,” Hayes says. “Local food growers provide business opportunities that can make Fredericton a more self-sustainable city.”

The city needs to facilitate this by protecting the lands that can be used for urban agriculture.

“The Sunset U-Pick was zoned for residential development, but local residents prevented it. They shouldn’t have to defend against this kind of thing.”

Hayes’ plan addresses issues such as the red tape involved in establishing a community garden.

“Local food could be a source of revenue, but at the moment it’s a cost to the city. We have lands that are being underused, but that require maintenance,” says Hayes. “As mayor, I would work with community groups to eliminate the barriers facing local agriculture.”

The audience was enthusiastic about Hayes’ plan, including local resident Shelley Pronk. “Why are we paying people to mow these lands when residents are begging for community farmland? There is land within the city that we could use for our own benefit.”

Conservation Council announces 2012 EcoHeroes

FREDERICTON - CCNB will present its annual Milton F. Gregg Conservation Awards in Fredericton Saturday night at the Spring into Action auction and awards evening.


The award for lifetime achievement will be presented posthumously to recognize the late Florian Levesque from Balmoral.


Lawrence Wuest of Stanley will receive the award for environmental activism.



Post-Carbon Moncton will be recognized for its organizational achievement.


Betty Lizotte from Saint John will be recognized for her volunteerism.

The recipients will be honoured on the evening of Saturday, April 28th at the Conservation Council’s annual Spring into Action fundraiser to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fredericton, beginning at 7:00 pm.

Gregg Conservation Award winners are selected by CCNB’s Board of Directors from nominations submitted by their membership.  The Milton F. Gregg Conservation Awards have been presented annually by the Conservation Council since 1981.

Tickets to the event are available from the Conservation Council at 180 St. John St, Fredericton, 458-8747, info@conservationcouncil.ca .

Woodside Twitter reaction (and supporters) to his being served Occupy suit

Woodside's Tweet:

Served papers today from Occupy, my comment to them, your each asking for 5000.00$ and want to negotiate. Not gonna happen. Goodbye. .

Woodside response to supporters:

Exactly Brandon. : If they want $5000.00, it's time for them to occupy a job.
Thanks : Thank You your worship for standing your ground I understand their movement & respect the origin but this is plain greed

The Purple Violet Press breaks 100,000 hits threshold

As of today this publication has over 100,000 hits from visitors far and wide, which, according to our site counter, range from Beijing, China to Los Angeles, California and Yellowknife, NWT. And while those hits are from people we know in those places, they nevertheless use this publication regularly as one of their sources for what's happening back home in New Brunswick. Most of this site's hits, of course, are from around Canada and the Maritimes, with the biggest concentration in New Brunswick.

This citizen publication was started in May 2011. In less than a year, new and return visitors have brought it to the 100,000 mark. And while 100,000 may not seem like much, this publication didn't expect to get one hit when it began. To say there is gratitude for the number is an understatement.

Online citizen publications, contrary to what some think, haven't had their day. They're a unique place in the online landscape for people to go to quickly learn about issues of the day or breaking stories. The photos and raw videos, which often accompany the written posts, help fill in the story for the reader, and allows him/her to form their own opinions on matters affecting them and their families. This is an important service to provide to a public who's busy lifestyles often encroach on their attempts to inform themselves.

Alternatively, long form feature stories, opinion pieces and columns found in the format of mainstream print publications, are also part of the blog style. This publication has done long form investigative pieces, published opinion pieces of it's own, and posted guest and editor columns. It is the versatility of the medium that makes it appealing in our dynamic society.

We are living interesting times in the New Brunswick online media landscape at the moment. With Brunswick News having gone behind a paywall, and CBC, CTV and Global increasingly vulnerable due to operating costs, there is a void waiting to be filled by independent online publications free of corporate control that, if ways of funding were found to help them thrive, a sorely needed new and exciting chapter in the province's reporting history could emerge. 

With time it will come. There is no doubt. As the older generation that likes it's daily paper dies off, our dominant mainstream publications will fade, especially those behind a paywall with content that, because of corporate ownership, can't fully explore issues affecting the province. While the bloated editor of those publications may arrogantly brag about his product and obnoxiously dismiss citizen journalism with the wave of a pudgy hand, this publication thinks the people of New Brunswick deserve better than that. And so do the reporters. 

As the younger demographic of twenty, thirty and forty-somethings begin to take their rightful place at the table in the province, and Baby Boomers get more comfortable with the blogosphere, they will demand more information sources than the traditional means currently on offer. It has, in fact, already begun. This publication's 100,000 hits is a reflection of that. Other citizen publications in New Brunswick are cropping up all the time, indicating a dissatisfaction with the current media status quo.

With increased resources and little overhead, online independent publications will have the staff to uncover stories alongside our current crop of amazing mainstream journalists, who through no fault of their own, miss some important stories because they're already stretched too thin by their corporate masters. But more importantly, with funding, the public would quickly be made aware of alternative information sources they could access online.

As citizen publications become strong and known for solid reporting, it isn't much more of a leap for a site to evolve into a digital media player. A provincial version in a Huffington Post style could be a successful model here. Or Public Eye Online in British Columbia is also an online news site worthy of emulation. 

Regardless, it's time in New Brunswick for a truly independent online media voice. The populace is frustrated, and many are turning away, choosing to remain uninformed because traditional  formats don't appeal to them. That's not good for democracy. Besides, everyone is doing it. New Brunswick needs to get with the program and catch up to the wider world.

So there you have it. Whether through a brave benefactor, advertising, subscriptions, donations, sponsorships or perhaps a model yet to come about, there are ways the new online media will emerge in this province to become an equal player in the media landscape. Publications with strong reporting will gain access to the movers and shakers here, building them into a new presence worthy of consideration by their peers and the public. 

This publication may not get there. But it's happy to have perhaps contributed something to the media evolution in the province. It is also profoundly grateful to the support, encouragement and grace of readers and colleagues in the province's media.

Change is coming to our media and it has to be embraced. The survival of our provincial democracy demands it.