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Brian Gallant’s minority government could be toppled today

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The defeat of the Gallant government now seems inevitable, but there is still a formal process that has to unfold before it’s really over.

Here’s what is expected to happen Friday.

Gallant’s speech

At 9 a.m. Premier Brian Gallant will give a speech in the legislature to close the debate on the throne speech delivered by Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau on Oct. 23.

The three MLAs from the People’s Alliance have said they plan to vote against the Liberal government’s throne speech at the New Brunswick Legislature on Friday. (CBC)

The debate over the last two weeks has been on a motion introduced by the Liberals to have the legislature endorse a reply to the lieutenant-governor.

If passed, it would essentially tell her that MLAs agree with the throne speech and want the government to implement it.

After Gallant’s speech — likely his last to the legislature as premier — MLAs vote on the motion.

Up until that point, this is routine. It generally happens on the second Friday after every throne speech and, generally, the motion passes.

Not a routine session

But this session is not routine.

Gallant’s Liberals won only 21 seats in September’s election, four short of the majority they need to pass the motion. So they’ve spent the weeks since the election trying to find a way to get the math to work in their favour.

Thursday, they ran out of options.

The three Green MLAs said they would vote for the Liberal motion, but the three People’s Alliance MLAs said they would vote against.

Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau delivered the throne speech on Oct. 23 at the New Brunswick legislative building. (CBC)

Combined with 22 Progressive Conservative votes, the PC-Alliance total of 25 is enough to defeat the motion.

3 votes

But it will take three votes to actually get there.

On Oct. 25, PC Leader Blaine Higgs moved an amendment to the Liberal motion. The Higgs amendment says the legislature has no confidence in the government.

That’s the standard mechanism to defeat a government in a throne speech debate: it was used in British Columbia last year by the NDP, supported by the Greens, to oust Christy Clark’s Liberal government.

On Tuesday, however, the Liberals introduced a sub-amendment to change Higgs’s amendment, deleting its no-confidence phrasing and replacing it with a long list of new Liberal promises aimed at enticing other parties to support it.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant appears to be one vote short of the tally required to pass the Liberal throne speech. (Michel Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

So this is how the votes will be ordered today:

First, MLAs will vote on the Liberal sub-amendment and it appears likely they’ll defeat it.

Second, they’ll vote on the Higgs amendment. Based on the Alliance announcement on Thursday, it will pass — and the main Liberal motion will be amended to express no confidence in the government.

Third, they’ll vote on the amended motion. When that motion passes, the government will officially have been defeated.

A visit (or 2) to Government House

Once that has happened, the focus shifts from the legislature to Government House, the residence of the lieutenant-governor.

Gallant will go there to officially tell her the government has lost the confidence of the house.

The premier could ask Roy Vienneau to call a new election. That’s what Clark did in British Columbia last year when she visited her lieutenant-governor after losing a throne speech vote.

No new election

Gallant already knows the answer he’d get: On Oct. 17, Roy Vienneau’s principal secretary, Tim Richardson, said that she had told all party leaders that « another provincial election is not in the best interest of New Brunswickers. »

Gallant also said on Thursday that seeking another election would go against the message voters delivered on Sept. 24.

« If we were to rebuke that as 49 MLAs, I think New Brunswickers would be very disappointed, » he said. « So we would resign. »

Higgs wants fast transition

Once Gallant resigns, the lieutenant-governor will ask Higgs to come to Government House. Higgs said on Thursday he expects that he’d meet her in mid-afternoon.

She will ask him if he can form a government, and he’ll undoubtedly say yes.

Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs will be looking for a fast transition if the Gallant government is defeated Friday. (CBC)

At that point it’s left to Higgs and Gallant to meet and agree on a date for a transition — the day a PC cabinet would be sworn into office.

Higgs said last month he would want to reduce the normal two-week transition period to about a week. « Our goal would be to minimize that timeline, » he said.

Gallant said Thursday he would not try to slow that down.

« I would do everything I could to help with the smooth transition for the Higgs government, if that’s what happens, » he said.


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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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Anglais

MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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