Paul Mazerolle named next UNB president

Paul Mazerolle, a pro vice-chancellor at an Australian University, will serve as the University of New Brunswick’s next president and vice-chancellor, the UNB Board of Governors announced last month.

Mazerolle, a New Brunswick local, graduated from UNB with a bachelor of arts in sociology in 1989.

“We are very pleased to be welcoming Dr. Mazerolle back to our UNB community,” Larry Hachey, chair of the Board of Governors, said in a news release. “He possesses a strong track record in both academia and management, with proven experience leading growth-oriented change and restructuring in a multi-campus environment at Griffith – a well-respected, publicly funded Australian university.”

Mazerolle currently serves as pro vice-chancellor of arts, education and law and is the director of the violence research and prevention program at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. He has held this role since 2009, which includes overseeing more than 400 faculty, 13,000 students, the Queensland College of Art, the Griffith Film School, the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and seven research centres.

In his current role, Mazerolle has developed experience in matters of reconciliation with Aboriginal communities in Australia and has led community efforts for employment expansion opportunities.

“As the landscape in post-secondary education becomes more competitive than ever, we are thrilled as we know he has the expertise and energy to take UNB to the next level,” Hachey said.

Following his undergraduate degree at UNB, Mazerolle went on to complete his master’s degree in criminal justice at Northeastern University in 1990 and his doctorate in criminology at the University of Maryland College Park in 1995.

The search process for the next UNB president began over a year ago. UNB’s joint nominating committee, tasked with hiring the new president, determined Mazerolle as its finalist to recommend to the Board of Governors.

Higgs calls New Brunswick deficit-free in State of the Province Address

The province is deficit-free this year and will have balanced budgets for the next two years, Premier Blaine Higgs said during his first State of the Province speech on Jan. 31.

Around 800 New Brunswickers and business leaders filled the Fredericton Convention Centre to see Higgs deliver the annual address, presented by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.

“Whatever your dream is, you should be able to live it at home, in the place you love, working with the people you love,” Higgs said. “There’s such an opportunity for us to work together with one goal in mind: and that’s rebuilding, fixing and seeing a New Brunswick that brings people home.”

Higgs’ plan is to focus on spurring private economic growth to generate tax revenue for services.

“Without citizens willing to give, no amount of spending and no amount of doctors could provide the care we need,” he said, speaking of several prolific blood donors. “That’s the sense of a shared mission we want to inspire. That’s the big citizenship our times demand. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach. Every single New Brunswicker can be part of the solution.”

Higgs also pledged to continue to fight the federal carbon tax. He said his party has accepted that climate change is real, and can meet emission targets without taxing people more.

Higgs promised the Progressive Conservative minority government will have a balanced budget for the current fiscal year.

He committed to maintaining a balanced budget every year he and the PCs are in power.

“I’m going to be part of raising New Brunswick, and I’m going to be part of bringing our province back on the map,” he said. “People are going to say, ‘what happened to New Brunswick?’ New Brunswick’s on the move.”

New Brunswick cancels plans to host Francophonie Games

New Brunswick has decided to cancel its plan to host the 2021 Francophonie Games after anticipated costs ballooned to more than seven times the expected price tag.

“We understand that this is a very difficult decision for the individuals and the communities who wanted the games to move forward,” Premier Blaine Higgs said at a news conference on Jan. 30. “This was not an easy decision.”

The cost of hosting the games soared in November to $113 million from the original $17 million figure used when the province was awarded the the ninth Games of La Francophonie in 2015. A revised estimate put the cost at $80 million.

Higgs said the added cost of the games were always going to be a “very steep hill” to climb, and that the pledged support from Ottawa to match funds was not enough. He called for changes to the federal government’s funding formula for major sporting events.

“We could not in good conscience invest more than we had already committed,” Higgs said.

He said the province will be naming a representative to begin the cancellation process. The province has already spent $2.65 million on the event so far.

The games, which would have brought 3,000 participants to Moncton and Dieppe, are organized by La Francophonie, an international organization of 58 governments with French language ties. New Brunswick and Quebec have “participating government” status within the organization.

Deputy Premier Robert Gauvin had previously set a Jan. 30 deadline for trying to develop a plan in collaboration with the federal government to save the event.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal cabinet ministers pledged to match provincial investment in the games but would not cover more.

Jack Sparks contributed reporting