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Chocolate milk and fruit juices to return to New Brunswick schools

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  • FREDERICTON — Chocolate milk is making a comeback in New Brunswick schools, after a much-derided ban on sugary drinks and snacks became an issue during the fall election.

    “One of the biggest issues during the election campaign was chocolate milk,” Premier Blaine Higgs joked Wednesday.

    Tory Education Minister Dominic Cardy said New Brunswickers expressed concerns about the level of restrictions under the nutrition policy imposed by the previous Liberal government.

    “These changes will provide flexibility and empower local school communities to make informed decisions about the health and well-being of their students,” Cardy said.

    He said as part of the new standards, flavoured milk and 100-per-cent real fruit juice may be sold in schools.

    Higgs, who gave reporters a thumb-up on the news, said the changes are just a modification of the existing policy.

    “It’s not a throw-out of the nutrition policy. It’s just making sense of some of the things that were in it, that just kind of didn’t make any sense,” he said.

    “In every aspect of what we do we want to bring a rational behaviour to it. That includes talking to people who are in the classroom, and in the case of chocolate milk, the volunteers, the fund raisers and all these things. It’s just listening and reacting.”

    During the election campaign, both the Liberals and Tories vowed to revise the policy.

    Higgs was even filmed drinking chocolate milk during the first week of the campaign for the Sept. 24 election, as the party said it would combat obesity in schools with meaningful programs, not token efforts.

    Higgs said he often drinks chocolate milk, and doesn’t see a problem with kids having it in school.

    Cardy said while much of the focus has been on school food criteria, the policy’s main goals are to promote health and well-being through nutritional literacy and educational programs.

    He said given the unique challenges associated with breakfast programming and the vulnerable students served by the programs, school districts will be allowed some flexibility while they work to provide the healthiest food options possible.

    “I am pleased that we have found a way to protect the integrity of the nutrition policy and will continue to promote and model healthy choices for our students while allowing for some flexibility where it makes sense,” said Robert Fowler, chair of the Anglophone South school district education council.

    “It is especially important that we have ensured our breakfast and lunch programs will continue to provide a much-needed service in our schools,” he said.

    Some parent groups said the ban extended to what could be sold during fundraisers that generated revenues for such things as school supplies and a lunch program for students who had no meals. As a result, some fundraisers were put on hold.

    At the time, Higgs said the Liberal government hadn’t read the policy closely enough before it was approved.

    Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press


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    National

    ‘We take action:’ Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

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  • EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it’s investing $3.7 billion to move the province’s land-locked oil to market by rail.

    It says 4,400 leased railway cars will move up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by 2020.

    Shipments are expected to begin as early as July.

    “Pipelines will always be the best, most efficient, most economical long-term solution,” Notley told a news conference Tuesday.

    “We must take action today to provide more relief to our energy workers and the families who rely on these good jobs across this province and this country.

    She says her government has been studying the plan since November and is ready to move forward.

    “Albertans don’t just stand by. We take action.”

    The province estimates the plan will lead to a $5.9-billion increase in royalties, tax revenues and profits over three years, meaning a net gain of $2.2 billion.

    It expects the discount for Western Canadian heavy oil versus U.S. light crude will shrink by US$4 a barrel.  

    The rail investment is meant to be a medium-term measure as new pipelines to coastal ports, such as the Trans Mountain expansion to the West Coast, remain in limbo.

    The Canadian Press


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    Canadian retaliation to U.S. metal tariffs causing pain: ambassador

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  • OTTAWA — Canada’s ambassador to the United States says he’s hearing complaints from some Americans about the pain caused by Ottawa’s retaliation against the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs.

    David MacNaughton was referring to Canada’s imposition of $16.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on American imports last year after President Donald Trump used a section of U.S. trade law to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on Canadian steel and 10 per cent on aluminum.

    The Canadian “countermeasures” hit products in U.S. states where Trump prevailed to win the presidency in 2016.

    They targeted a wide range of goods, including ketchup from Pennsylvania, bourbon from Kentucky, orange juice from Florida, toilet paper from Wisconsin and Ohio and panels for circuit breakers and fuses from Michigan.

    Mexico was also hit with the American tariffs and MacNaughton says the “strategic retaliation” the two countries have responded with is causing anxiety in some “important” states.

    MacNaughton told the Canadian Global Affairs Institute in Ottawa that the government is pushing hard to have the tariffs lifted.

    The Canadian Press


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