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New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs is seen in this file photo. (Image: Zoom Screen Capture)

Premier Discussed Health Care, Energy And Kris Austin With PM

By Tamara Steele Nov 8, 2022 | 7:04 PM

The premier says he had a “thorough discussion” with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on energy, health care and even Kris Austin.

Trudeau met with Blaine Higgs on Tuesday following a number of stops in the Fredericton region.

Higgs said he understands the timing is crucial when it comes to converting the Saint John LNG terminal for export.

“The gas supply becomes the issue. TC Energy could make the gas supply available but it needs an upgrade in the portion of the lines along the way. Would that ever be approved in Quebec?” Higgs said.

He said that is one challenge and he understands the company’s reluctance after what happened with Energy East.

Higgs said another solution is the potential gas supply in New Brunswick, which requires the cooperation of Indigenous communities.

The premier said a decision on this would likely have to be made in three months.

Higgs acknowledged he was “surprised” when the prime minister raised the subject of Kris Austin during their meeting.

The appointment of Austin to a committee reviewing bilingualism drew the ire of many given his criticism in the past as leader of the People’s Alliance Party of New Brunswick.

The premier said there is no debate on the importance of official languages in New Brunswick.

“That is all well-established and we’re all fully 100 per cent supportive and that includes Kris Austin,” Higgs said.

He was asked directly why he appointed Austin to this committee in the first place.

“I am not the least bit concerned about where his views are and where he’s focused at this time,
If I was to have a committee of all like-minded individuals, what kind of a debate would that be?” Higgs said.

The premier said Austin will not be removed from the committee reviewing official languages.


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