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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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    New psychiatric assessment ordered for alleged Fredericton shooter

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  • FREDERICTON — A Fredericton man accused of murdering four people in an August shooting spree has been ordered to undergo a 60-day psychiatric assessment.

    It will determine if Matthew Raymond can be found criminally responsible for the crimes he has been accused of.

    He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton police constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello, and civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.

    Raymond was previously found fit to stand trial after a shorter assessment. Details of the arguments seeking the assessments are under a publication ban

    Defence lawyer Alison Menard said Tuesday the longer assessment is to assess the mental state of an accused at the time of an alleged offence.

    “Did they suffer from a mental disorder which would exempt them from responsibility?” she said outside court.

    “In certain circumstances, people who suffer from a mental disorder can be found not criminally responsible because they are lacking the intent element of the offence because of the mental disorder.”

    The case returns to court on Feb. 8, 2019.

    Raymond is alleged to have fired from his apartment window with a long gun, killing the two civilians as they loaded a car for a trip on Aug. 10, and the two police officers as they responded to the scene.

    Raymond has previously told a judge there is evidence that would allow him to be “exonerated” immediately because of temporary insanity.

    As he has in previous court appearances, Raymond stood in court Tuesday, and complained to the judge about the jail-issued orange jumpsuit and orange sweatshirt he was wearing.

    “I should be in casual clothes. I’m not supposed to be in orange at all,” he said.

    Raymond was also upset over documents he took from a file folder and waved in the air.

    “It concerns these documents I should not have in my possession. There are photographs and evidence. Only the court should have these documents,” he said.

    The documents concerning the investigation are under a publication ban, but Raymond said guards where he’s being held are able to see them.

    He said a guard came into his cell in the middle of the night and was looking at the documents.

    “There’s no (expletive) way someone should be in my (expletive) cell in the middle of the night looking at my (expletive),” he said.

    Former friends and acquaintances of Raymond have offered varying memories of the accused murderer, ranging from a boy who retreated into video games, a pleasant supermarket co-worker and an increasingly isolated loner in recent years.

    Some business owners have described Raymond, who is in his late 40s, as becoming reclusive and occasionally unpleasant in the year before the alleged shootings.

    Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press




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    Longtime New Democrat Robinson considers political return in Burnaby riding

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  • OTTAWA — Former New Democrat stalwart Svend Robinson says he is strongly considering a return to federal politics, noting his former party is facing challenging times.

    Robinson, 66, represented the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby for 25 years.

    He left politics in 2004 after he admitted stealing a diamond ring from an auction, saying he was under too much strain at the time.

    Since then, he has spent time in Switzerland working with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. After retiring last year, Robinson and his partner moved to Cyprus.

    If he decides to run, Robinson said he would seek election in Burnaby North—Seymour and hopefully help out the NDP candidate in the next riding — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is expected to face a byelection in Burnaby South in February. 

    In the 2015 federal election, the NDP won Burnaby South by just over 500 votes.

    “I will do everything I can to support Jagmeet and support him in his campaign for election in Burnaby South. Hopefully if I’m a candidate in a neighbouring riding, that will be of some assistance,” Robinson said on the phone from Cyprus.

    Despite insisting he hasn’t made up his mind, Robinson said he spent a month door-knocking in the riding this fall and sent a letter to residents saying he is seriously considering a run. His letter closed by pointing out a nomination meeting will take place early in the new year. “And then we will have to work very hard together over the months leading up to the election in October of next year to take back the riding. Let’s do this!”

    Speaking from Cyprus, Robinson said he thinks he could add some veteran know-how to the federal NDP given the number of experienced caucus members not standing for re-election next year.

    Liberal Terry Beech is running again in Burnaby North—Seymour, which is set to become a battleground riding next year over Liberal pledges to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. The pipeline ends in the riding.

    “I think the next election is going to be a make or break election for the future of the climate and if I run, those issues will be front and centre,” Robinson said.

    Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press



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    december, 2018

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