New Brunswick

Spin Reduxit: The year in review and looking ahead to 2018

The latest Spin Reduxit podcast, with hosts Daniel McHardie and Jacques Poitras, looks back at the big political stories of 2017 and at the election year to come.

Hosts Daniel McHardie and Jacques Poitras take on the year's big political stories

Spin Reduxit is CBC New Brunswick's political podcast and analyzes the latest issues coming out of the legislature. The Year in Review and Looking Ahead to 2018 Edition was published this week.


The latest Spin Reduxit podcast looks back at the biggest stories of the year and ahead at the election year to come.

One of the biggest stories of 2017 was Parlee Beach.

Water quality at the beach came under scrutiny after a CBC News investigation determined the water was unsafe for swimming on many days in 2016.

The New Brunswick government worried about protecting the reputation of Parlee Beach and the Shediac economy when it developed a unique water-testing system for the beach in 2000. (Paul Hantiuk/CBC)

Parlee Beach, which has been one of New Brunswick's most popular tourist destinations for decades, saw a drop in the number of summer visitors.

Figures released by the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture showed fewer people stayed at the campground and visited the beach. Sales of vehicle entrance permits dropped to 17,110 from 23,569.

Next story on the list is New Brunswick's property assessment scandal.

Service New Brunswick's new digital property assessment system, launched last fall, produced inflated property tax bills for thousands of landowners across the province.

Rather than catching and fixing those mistakes, the department made up renovation amounts on some homes to justify the inflated values the new system wasn't properly detecting.

New Brunswick Auditor General Kim MacPherson found Service New Brunswick mostly to blame for a property tax foul-up this year but she couldn't determine if Premier Brian Gallant played a significant part in the scandal. (Maria Burgos/CBC)

In her investigation, Auditor-General Kim MacPherson blamed the leadership of Service New Brunswick for failing to acknowledge the "high risk" of "fast-tracking" a new property assessment system.

MacPherson said she "could not determine" if Premier Brian Gallant himself ordered the fast-tracking, though she found a May 2016 presentation of the new system and a followup call by Gallant's chief of staff Jordan O'Brien "contributed to SNB's perceived sense of urgency." 

Listen to the full discussion and subscribe to Spin Reduxit from the CBC Podcasts page or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Follow Daniel McHardie and Jacques Poitras on Twitter.