This Week in New Brunswick

Oland re-acquires presumption of innocence

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for the conviction of Dennis Oland in the second-degree murder of his father, Richard Oland. Richard Oland was found dead in his room on July 7, 2011. The jury had originally found Dennis Oland guilty, but he has now re-acquired the presumption of innocence. The appeal panel said that the trial judge had wrongly instructed the jury regarding a key piece of evidence. Oland was released on bail on Oct. 25. A $50,000 surety was required, which was paid by Oland’s uncle. According to the CBC, the Crown could decide not to retry Oland if there is no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction. If Oland is tried a second time, his case will likely be heard by both a judge and a jury again.

Canaport LNG’s 90 per cent tax break cancelled

The Gallant government announced that they will be cancelling the 2005 tax deal that gave Canaport LNG, which is owned by Irving Oil Ltd., a 90-per cent discount on its property tax. The tax break, which was supposed to last until 2030, will be repealed, effective next year. According to the CBC, Irving Oil currently pays $500,000 in taxes on the Canaport parcel, whereas the property’s assessed value is $299.4 million. Without the discount, Irving Oil would pay over $8 million per year in property taxes. It is still uncertain whether or not Irving will appeal its change in tax assessment. In the meantime, the new revenue will be held in a trust account. Once the process is finalized, the revenue will be given to Saint John and other entitled local governments.

Residents asked to forego clown costumes Memramcook posted a notice on Facebook recommending that residents not dress up as clowns on Halloween night due to recent incidents. In September and October, individuals dressed as clowns have been spotted all over the Maritimes, particularly in Nova Scotia. The incidents appear to be part of a larger trend already existing in the United States, where individuals dressed as clowns have been scaring children and pedestrians. In Nova Scotia, police, the government and teachers have been working together to put an end to the incidents. Schools in New Brunswick’s francophone districts asked children to avoid wearing clown costumes to school on Halloween day. Canadian Tire removed clown costumes from their shelves all across Canada.

Fire at Irving Oil refinery under investigation

At 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, one of the larger towers at Irving Oil’s refinery in St. John caught fire. Emergency responders joined the refinery’s fire brigade to extinguish the flames and were on the scene for seven hours. Officials say that Irving Oil will proceed with an investigation into the cause of the fire. Kevin Comeau, platoon chief at the refinery, said it is believed that the incident was caused accidentally by a worker. None were injured.

New Brunswickers appointed to federal senate

Among nine new senators appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, two are from New Brunswick. Under the Trudeau government, the process to appoint senators is now nonpartisan. Nancy Hartling, one of the New Brunswickers appointed, will be sitting as an independent. Hartling ran a support centre for single parents in Moncton for 34 years before retiring. René Cormier has experience in the Acadian and Canadian theatre communities and is the current president of the Societé Nationale de l’Acadie. Both senators applied, were vetted by an independent committee and were ultimately selected by the prime minister.

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