NB premier warns intimidation from shalegas opponents threatens new chance for economic

FREDERICTON — The effort to proceed with shale gas exploration in New Brunswick’s Kent County is a “beachhead” for development of natural resources in the province, Premier David Alward said Friday.Alward said those who oppose a shale gas industry are the same people who are against new mines and the proposed Energy East Pipeline project.“We cannot allow the intimidation or the loudest voices to ultimately deter our province from our ability to grow our economy and to allow our citizens to build their lives here,” Alward said.His comments come as the Elsipogtog First Nation seeks an injunction to stop SWN Resources from proceeding with shale gas exploration.That application says there is a risk of a repeat of the violent clash that occurred between police and protesters near Rexton on Oct. 17 because SWN is resuming exploration.“These circumstances combine to create a very real danger that, as active seismic exploration is recommenced in the coming hours and days, outside radical elements, the Respondent SWN and the RCMP, other police and even military forces, all interact,” says the application, which will be heard later Friday in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton. read more

Penny Mordaunt calls for more honesty as she pledges to take on

The Defence Secretary has said she will take on the Treasury to secure more money for the MoD, saying there should be more “honesty” about the cost of defence.Seeking to end the “vicious circle” of unfulfilled defence reviews, Penny Mordaunt said she was “determined” the equipment pledges made in 2015 are delivered.In her first speech as Defence Secretary, she announced a new policy to “lay the blueprint for how we use [the aircraft carriers] to deliver global Britain’s objectives around the world”.“I’m not going to be shy about asking for more money,” she said. The Treasury will not welcome or agree with her, she warned, but said: “I can promise though, that the Treasury will hear this message”.Speaking at the First Sea Lord’s last conference as head of the Royal Navy, she said the 2015 Defence review committed to buying eight new Type-26 Frigates, a further five Type 31E, two offshore patrol vessels and four nuclear-missile armed submarines.So far only three Type-26 ships, the offshore patrol vessels and the submarines have been ordered.“What is the point of methodically reviewing threats and tasks…and then not delivering it?” Ms Mordaunt asked. A recent review of MoD equipment programmes found average costs rose 35 per cent and delivery time by 45 per cent.In her speech, during which she mentioned former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher three times, Ms Mordaunt said this was not just costing time and money, “it’s damaging our operational effectiveness.“The old days of changing requirements on a whim and being vague about what we need in the long-term must end. Let’s have some honesty about what it will cost.”No detail was given about how Britain’s two new £6 billion aircraft carriers would be used and Ms Mordaunt would not repeat her predecessor’s controversial commitment to ordering HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Asia-Pacific region next year, a move that soured relations with Beijing.However, she said there would be no change to the MoD’s policy towards China, describing the country’s rise as a “challenge” and said she wanted the armed forces to be “more forward deployed” in future.“When HMS Prince of Wales joins the fleet in the near future we will have one carrier available at very high readiness at all times,” she said.“Our citizens want our nation to be able to affect and improve the world,” Ms Mordaunt said,“they want us to go and sort out problems”. There is widespread concern in defence circles as to whether the Type-31E ships be delivered for the £250 million the government says it is prepared to pay for them. The MoD hopes that the Type-31E will prove to be such a value-for-money ship that it will drive defence exports. Any increase to costs will be a blow to that aspiration. She called Britain’s new aircraft carriers “a mighty symbol of our intent”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more