N.B. Liberals cut gas tax on first day in power

Premier Shawn Graham and his new cabinet lowered the provincial gas tax by 3.8 cents litre in their first meeting after being sworn into office Tuesday morning in a ceremony at the legislature.

Premier Shawn Graham and his new cabinetlowered the provincial gas tax by 3.8 cents litre in their first meeting after being sworn into officeTuesday morning in a ceremony at the legislature.

"This reduction not only puts money back in the pockets of New Brunswickers, it also means that New Brunswick's gasoline tax rate is the lowest in the Maritimes, and the second lowest in Canada after Alberta," the Liberal premier said in a news release.

"We will ensure that New Brunswick's provincial gasoline tax remains the lowest east of Alberta throughout our mandate."

The gas tax reduction was one of a number of issues the Graham government tackled on its first day in power.

"On Sept. 18, when the people of New Brunswick entrusted us with this mandate, I made a number of very clear commitments that would be addressed on our first day in office," Graham said. "I am pleased that today we have fulfilled those commitments."

Help for university students

The ministersalso approved the creation of $2,000 grants to first-year university students and agreedtoremoveseniors' homes, assets and life savings from the formula to calculate nursing home fees.

At the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday morning, Graham appointed Victor Boudreau asfinance minister and T.J. Burke was named minister of justice and attorney general,the first aboriginal member of a New Brunswick cabinet.

There are five Saint John-area MLAs in thecabinet: Jack Keir,Roly MacIntyre,Stuart Jamieson, Ed Doherty and Mary Schryer.

The new Liberal cabinet is:

Premier: Shawn Graham

Finance and local government: Victor Boudreau

Attorney general and justice: T.J. Burke

Health: Michael Murphy

Education: Kelly Lamrock

Energy: Jack Keir

Fisheries: Rick Doucet

Business New Brunswick: Greg Byrne

Environment: Roland Haché

Natural resources: Donald Arseneault

Family and community services andstatus of women: Carmel Robichaud

Transportation: Denis Landry

Supply and services: Roly MacIntyre

Tourism andhouse leader: Stuart Jamieson

Public safety and solicitor general: John Foran

Agriculture and aquaculture: Ronald Ouellette

Human resources: Hédard Albert

Labour, post-secondary education and aboriginal affairs: Ed Doherty

Seniors andhousing: Mary Schryer