Violent protests prevent N.B. doctor, nurses from leaving Haiti

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An emergency room nurse and doctor from Woodstock, N.B., and a nurse from Halifax say they are safe but have no idea when they will be able to leave Haiti as violent protests continue in that country.

« We’re all safe and we’re not worried about our safety, as long as we don’t leave the property we’re on now, » said Dr. Heather Dow. 

The latest demonstrations in Haiti were triggered by frustrations over the country’s high unemployment rates and skyrocketing prices.

Dow, along with Cathy Davies and Rachel Blaquiere, travelled to Haiti to provide free medical aid in small villages and towns. But the protests are preventing their departure, which was scheduled for Wednesday. 

« We’re a bit stressed because we have obligations at home that we’re probably not going to be able to meet if we don’t get home soon, » Dow said. 

Protests and demonstrations began Feb. 7, on the anniversary of the overthrow 33 years ago of dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier. 

Dow said that despite President Jovenel Moise’s promises of improvements, things have gotten worse. 

‘Complete shock’

In an interview with Shift New Brunswick, Davies, from Woodstock, said they had no idea this would happen because nothing like it had happened when they were there at the same time last year. 

« This came to us as a complete shock when it all began, » she said.

A nurse and doctor from Woodstock, along with a nurse from Halifax, are stuck in Haiti during the sixth day of violent protests there. Cathy Davies, Rachel Blaquiere and Dr. Heather Dow travelled to Haiti to provide free medical aid in small villages and towns. 9:07

The women, along with the medical team they travel with, were able to reach a small clinic in the mountains that day but encountered roadblocks, and someone threw a gas bomb at them.

« We had to go through a dirt path he knew of to get back to our house, » she said. « And our driver had a gun too. It was something that I don’t want to go through again. » 

Roads blocked

Blaquiere, formerly of Woodstock, N.B., is part of a medical team that can’t leave Haiti because of violent protests over inflation and unemployment. (Submitted)

The three are staying at the home of Dr. Emilio Bazile, who lives in Ottawa but returns to the country three or four times a year to deliver medical care. They have accompanied him on many of those trips.

His home is four hours from Port-au-Prince, where the only international airport is located. Dow said entrances to the capital have been blocked and there are roadblocks throughout the city. 

« There’s a lot of demonstrations with rock throwing and tire burning, cement-barricade building and clashes with the police that have left many injured and several killed, » Dow said. 

She said they’ve heard people at the barricades are asking for money to let people through, and sometimes hold people for ransom to make their point to the government about how unhappy they are. 

Seeking help

Cathy Davies, an emergency room nurse from Woodstock, said she is hoping and praying the trio can safely leave Haiti soon. (Submitted)

The women said Bazile has been trying to use his contacts to arrange a safe way for the women to leave the country. More calls were being made to the Canadian Embassy to see if they could help. 

« Right now with the roads blockaded there’s no way to get to Port-au-Prince, » said Dow. 

Davies said another friend is working with his contacts to arrange a flight from another airport if they can there. 

« Our concern right now is getting home safely, » she said. « We’re hoping and praying this gets resolved and we get home to our respective families soon. »   

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AG Michael Ferguson remembered in N.B. for ‘tremendous work ethic’

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Michael Ferguson is being remembered in his home province of New Brunswick as a good friend and a dedicated public servant.

Ferguson, Canada’s auditor general, died yesterday, Feb. 2 in Ottawa surrounded by family. 

A statement released by his office said the 60-year-old had been undergoing treatment for cancer since November 2018. 

Ferguson went to Fredericton High School, where he met Chris Mabie in 1975.

The two of them played hockey together at school and in various community and pick-up leagues for almost 30 years. 

« He had a quiet confidence about him, he was a guy who made us all both better hockey players and better people, » Mabie said of Ferguson.

Ferguson served as New Brunswick’s auditor general for five years, and held other various positions in provincial government. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Mabie remembers a tournament he and Ferguson went to in Orono, Maine, where their team of mostly 40-year-olds ended up in the finals against a team from Massachusetts fresh out of Division I hockey in the U.S.

« Mike won the game by himself, I think we won 2-1 or something, and it was largely due to the performance that he put on. »

He said Ferguson had a « tremendous work ethic, » both in hockey and his career.

« He was a leader and he led by hard work. He wasn’t a guy that talked about what he was going to do or anything like that, he just led by example. Seeing the commitment that he made and how hard he worked made everybody else work hard, » Mabie said.

Mabie kept in touch with Ferguson after he went to Ottawa, and said he enjoyed watching his friend’s career from afar.

Political praise

« People in Canada got a chance to see what those of us that knew him in Fredericton knew …  a guy in my opinion that this country could use more of. »

His political colleagues had similar praise for Ferguson.

Before becoming the federal auditor general, he served as he provincial auditor general for five years, and also spent five years as comptroller and a year as deputy minister of finance and secretary to the board of management.

Premier Blaine Higgs said Ferguson made New Brunswickers proud when he was appointed as Auditor General of Canada in 2011.

Higgs and Ferguson met while working as minister and deputy minister of finance, respectively.

« He came with such a high degree of integrity with the position he had held previously [as auditor general] … my first time to meet with him we hit it right off in terms of the results that we wanted to see coming out of government, » Higgs said.

« He had such respect within the system that he could get immediate answers … and he had such a knowledge of government operation in New Brunswick. »

While he was initially disappointed when Ferguson left New Brunswick for Ottawa, Higgs said it made him proud to see someone from New Brunswick as the country’s auditor general.

A statement from the premier’s office echoed that sentiment.

« The whole country was given the opportunity to see what New Brunswickers already knew — that he was a special person. » 

Kim MacPherson, New Brunswick’s current auditor general, said Ferguson’s death is a huge loss to the legislative audit community.

« Mike was always such a wise contributor and we all respect him a great deal, » MacPherson said.

« We worked together for years. We will really, really miss him. »

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Kevin Vickers says he is retiring as ambassador to Ireland, will return to N.B.

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Former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers says he is retiring next month as Canada’s ambassador to Ireland, potentially setting himself up for a bid to become New Brunswick Liberal leader.

Former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms is a possible candidate in Liberal leadership race

Former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers says he is retiring next month as Canada’s ambassador to Ireland and returning to New Brunswick, where he has been talked about as a potential candidate for the Liberal Party leadership. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers says he is retiring next month as Canada’s ambassador to Ireland, potentially setting himself up for a bid to become New Brunswick Liberal leader.

Vickers, hailed as a hero for helping to end the 2014 attack on Parliament Hill, says in a Facebook post Friday that he’ll retire from the position effective March 2 and return to his home in Trout Brook, northwest of Miramichi.

Vickers has been touted as a possible candidate for the leadership of the New Brunswick Liberal Party to replace Brian Gallant.

In December, Vickers indicated an interest in the job, but at the time said he was a long ways from making a decision.

The New Brunswick Liberals will choose a new leader on June 22 in Saint John.

Vickers, who has held the ambassador post since January 2015, says Ireland is the home of his ancestors and serving Canada as ambassador has been a special privilege.

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Mixed reaction after N.B. pulls out of 2021 Francophonie Games

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While many are disappointed the New Brunswick government has backed out of the 2021 Francophonie Games, many seem to understand the need to do so: because of the costs.

Taxpayers say it’s unfortunate, but the decision is understandable.

“I was very, very disappointed because I know that, for the French minority, like I make part of, it’s a minus for our culture,” says Marie-Mai Jacob. “I understand because we have so many things we have to pay (for), like the education system, health care.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick cancels plans to host 2021 Francophonie Games

“I wish that we could have (the Games),” says resident Brian Fontaine. “But again, as long as it’s going to bankrupt the province when it comes to the taxpayer paying the bill, then I agree with the government cancelling the Games.”

In a statement, Isabelle LeBlanc, the director of communications for the City of Moncton said, “Though we respect the decision, it is unfortunate that the higher levels of government could not reach a suitable agreement on cost sharing the event.”

“This would have been the largest event ever to be held in our region.”

WATCH: New Brunswick cancels plans to host 2021 Francophonie Games






City of Dieppe spokesperson Annie Duguay also released a statement on behalf of that city, who was expected to co-host the Games.

“While we respect the Government of New Brunswick’s decision to withdraw from the Jeux de la Francophonie, we are very disappointed that an agreement could not be reached between the various partners to hold responsible and innovative Games.”

Both cities said they appreciate the work of volunteers and staff who have been working on the project, and they both said they’d explore any other options that arise.

Meanwhile, a sports economist from Concordia University in Montreal says it’s about time the decision was made by the province to withdraw its bid.

“Benefits are always over-promised and they always under-deliver,” says Moshe Lander. “The fact is that this was never an economically-viable event from the beginning; it was only going to become more and more apparent the longer this thing dragged on.”

He says the cost to host the event would continue to increase between now and 2021.

READ MORE: ‘We went on the information we had’: Francophonie Games faces skyrocketing costs

Lander says the debates on which level of government could have stepped up to contribute more takes away from the main point.

“The amazing thing is that whenever these things go sideways, and that means the projects end up losing money, the finger-pointing at the various governmental levels misses the fundamental point,” he says. “At the end of the day, those governments are funded by taxpayers. It doesn’t matter whether the feds are pointing at the province (or) the province is pointing at the feds, the fact is that it’s the taxpayers that give the money to the governments in the first place to bid on these Games.”

The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton hasn’t done an economic impact assessment on the Games, but says it would have helped showcase the local facilities and quality of life in the area.

“Certainly, based on other similar sized events that the Greater Moncton area has hosted, this would have been a multi-million dollar injection into the economy,” says CEO John Wishart.

While Wishart says it’s an opportunity lost, he understands the decision based on the price tag.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Flash flooding around Sussex, N.B. forces evacuations – New Brunswick

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The Canadian Red Cross says at least a dozen homes had to be evacuated late Thursday because of flash flooding in riverfront areas around Sussex, N.B.

The town’s Emergency Operations group issued an advisory late Thursday, saying water levels had exceeded the flood stage and that residents in affected areas should evacuate.


READ MORE:
Ugly mix of rain, snow, freezing rain closes schools in parts of Atlantic Canada

The Red Cross was arranging emergency lodging at hotels for at least 17 people, with more requests anticipated overnight following heavy rains and fierce winds that also knocked out power in the province as well as in Nova Scotia.

An emergency shelter had been set up at the Saunders Irving Chapel at Kingswood University.

The town says on its website that the Trout Creek crested at 19.75 meters overnight and water levels were “trending downward” as of 4 a.m.

WATCH: Winter storm leaves New Brunswick highways a mess






NB Power says about 6,000 customers were affected by outages, with most in the Kennebecasis Valley Fundy area, while Nova Scotia Power said about 12,000 customers were without electricity in the wake of winds that exceeded 80 km/h.

The winds also ripped part of the roof off an apartment building in Moncton, N.B., where eight people were forced from four apartments in the 12-unit building.

This is just the latest flooding to affect the small New Brunswick community following less serious localized flooding last weekend along the Kennebecasis and Canaan rivers.

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Flash flooding, power outages, school closures hit NB

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Thursday night’s heavy rain and high winds have caused flash flooding and power outages in some communities across the province.

Several dozen houses were evacuated in riverfront areas of Sussex around 1 a.m. The Canadian Red Cross placed 17 people in emergency lodging at area hotels.

The town’s emergency control group opened an emergency shelter at Kingswood University late last night. The shelter was released early this morning.

A report on the Sussex town website from this morning says water levels reached their peak last night and are trending downward.

In Moncton, eight people were forced to flee an apartment building after powerful winds tore away part of the roof. The Canadian Red Cross has provided emergency lodging and meals for several days. There were no injuries reported form the roof damage.

Almost 6,000 NB Power customers are without power as of 6 a.m. Friday morning, most in the Kennebecasis Valley Fundy, Central York Sunbury and Kings/Queens regions.

In the Anglophone South School District, schools are closed Friday in Apohaqui, Norton, and Sussex Corner.
Elsewhere in the district all buses are running on a one-hour delay.

Schools are also closed across the Anglophone North and Francophone Northeast school districts.

In Anglophone West, schools are closed in Zones 5 through 9. That includes the Stanley, Boiestown, Doaktown area, the Greater Fredericton area – including New Maryland, Keswick Ridge and Nashwaak Valley, Lincoln, Oromocto, Burton, Geary, and Fredericton Junction, Chipman and Minto and Gagetown and Cambridge Narrows.

In Francophone South, schools are closed in Baie-Ste-Anne, Fredericton, Miramichi, Oromocto, Richibucto, Rogersville, and St-Louis-de-Kent.

On the highways, the transportation department is reporting conditions are much improved across the south.

The no-travel advisory has finally been lifted on the Trans Canada between the Grand Lake area and Moncton.

Most highways are bare wet, with some icy and slushy patches.

In the north, parts of Route 2 and Route 11 are snow covered or snow packed, with ice and slush.

Miramichi city police urged people to stay off city streets last night because of « extreme flooding. » 

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Ottawa doesn’t appear to be offering new money for Francophonie Games in N.B. – New Brunswick

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It doesn’t appear Ottawa will be offering up any new money for the embattled Francophonie Games in New Brunswick.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the funding during a stop in the New Brunswick community of Quispamsis this morning.


READ MORE:
‘We went on the information we had’: Francophonie Games faces skyrocketing costs

Trudeau reiterated his pledge to match a provincial proposal dollar-for-dollar, but didn’t say there would be additional money.

New Brunswick’s new Tory government has said the Games could be too expensive, with cost estimates ballooning to $130 million from the original bid of $17 million.

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Woman arrested after shots fired at first responders following N.B. traffic accident

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A woman has been arrested after she allegedly opened fire on emergency workers responding to a motor vehicle crash in Dieppe, N.B., on Saturday afternoon, police said.

According to an RCMP news release, a car went off the road on Adélard-Savoie Boulevard, about a half kilometre from the Moncton airport at approximately 2:30 p.m.  

When firefighters, paramedics and police responded to the scene, the woman fired shots at them, according to the RCMP.

None of the emergency workers were injured. Several streets were then closed to traffic to « ensure the safety of first responders. » 

After about 45 minutes, the woman was taken into police custody and taken to hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during her arrest. Police have not released any details about the extent of the woman’s injuries, or whether she’s still in hospital. 

Police would not say how many shots were fired during the incident on Saturday. (Submitted)

Police declined to provide any additional information when contacted by CBC News on Saturday evening.  

Several roads in the area remain closed as the investigation continues. 

Ron Legere of the Serious Investigative Response Team confirmed to CBC News that SIRT has received a request to investigate the incident. 

SIRT is a Nova Scotia-based independent police oversight body. They can be called in to investigate matters that involve death, serious injury, sexual assault and domestic violence or other issues of significant public interest that may have arisen from the actions of any police officer.

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Department investigating after snow plowed from N.B. overpass shatters windshield – New Brunswick

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Donald Gallant was on his morning commute to work when snow came crashing down from the overpass above, shattering his windshield.

He claims a provincially-owned snow plow travelling ahead of him on the Harrisville Boulevard overpass is what did the damage.

“As I saw him coming, I could see the snow starting to come over the edge,” says Gallant.

“I’ve never been so scared in my life. I was covered from head to toe,” he added. “My seat is still covered in glass.”

READ MORE: Bundle up: Snow on the way to southern, eastern New Brunswick through Monday

Gallant says if he hit the brakes, he would have been rear-ended by a transport truck following him

Callum Smith / Global News

Gallant says that when he saw the plow, he knew he had a tough decision to make — to hit the brakes or take the impact of the snow.

“There was no way I could slow down,” says Gallant. “I had a transport truck I just picked up off (Route 2) behind me, and I had a car passing me on my other side.”

Jeremy Trevors, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, confirmed to Global News they’re aware of the incident and are investigating.

Gallant says if the plow driver was travelling slower, and the barrier was built higher, the incident could have been avoided

Callum Smith / Global News

WATCH: Motorist reacts after flying snow breaks windshield






Following the incident, Gallant tried to file an insurance claim at the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure office in Moncton.

“I got passed a piece of paper which was a claim sheet,” he says. “I had a lady talk to me for about two minutes to tell me that my claim wouldn’t be processed for another four to six weeks.”

“I was a little upset, I was scared, I was terrified. I had just almost been killed by falling snow off a truck.”

An attempt with his own insurance company was also unsuccessful.

“[I] tried to go through insurance, but due to PLPD, they can’t cover me on my end,” he says. “But again, that shouldn’t be covered on my end. That should be covered by the government.”


READ MORE:
Snow removal truck collision kills pedestrian in Laval

The RCMP says winter weather conditions can provide additional concerns for motorists.

“You need to take into account all kinds of hazards that are out there compared to other seasons in the year,” says Sgt. Mario Maillet of Southeast District RCMP.

Gallant says if the plow driver was going slower and the barrier was built higher, the issue could have been avoided.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Woman dies while helping motorist along Trans-Canada Highway in N.B.

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A 33-year-old woman died while trying to help a motorist who crashed into the ditch along the Trans-Canada Highway on Tuesday, according to police.

In a news release Wednesday afternoon, New Brunswick RCMP said that a truck had gone off Highway 2 near Havelock and rolled over in the ditch. Two other motorists pulled over to assist the injured driver.

READ MORE: Kingsclear First Nation to build pedestrian passage in wake of woman’s death

Police say a transport truck travelling in the same direction jack-knifed while trying to move into the left-hand lane, away from the vehicles on the right side of the highway.

That caused the trailer to strike the two vehicles that had pulled over. The man and woman drivers, who were standing outside of their vehicles, were both struck, according to police.

The woman, who was originally from Burton, N.B., but had been living in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., died at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle was sent to hospital with serious injuries.

The driver of the transport truck was not badly injured.

READ MORE: Woman, 27, dies after being struck by pickup truck in Fredericton area

The section of highway was closed for several hours, but has since reopened. Police believe weather conditions played a factor.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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