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New Brunswick Recently Announced New Economic Development Plan

New Brunswick Recently Announced New Economic Development Plan

By Sean Mitton

This interview with Paul Robichaud, who is the New Brunswick Deputy Premier and Economic Development Minister, discusses the recent launch of a new Economic Development Strategy. I spoke with Minister Robichaud from the Southeast US- Canadian Province Alliance meetings in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"Premier Alward and I, launched a new Economic Development Strategy about two weeks ago with a focus on 6 pillars or sectors. Those sectors are Aerospace & Defense, value added food, value added wood, modular fabrication, Biosciences and ICT (Information and Communications Technology). These are not necessarily the sectors from which we normally grow our GDP.

For over a year, we had experts from inside and outside government look at what was the potential for NB to grow our economy. Those six sectors represent about 25% of our GDP. So we looked and said there is a huge potential to grow those sectors and there's a huge potential for exports around the world.

There is no doubt that we will maintain focus on our traditional markets and our traditional niches, but we see a huge potential with these six new sectors where we have expertise and huge potential to grow the economy.

This is a five year plan and we will evaluate progress on a yearly basis.

Normally, when governments are talking about economic development, we always want to talk about job creation. Job creation is very important, but we also want to grow our economy, grow our GDP. Sometimes, governments are very fast to say we created 25,000 jobs, but what is the value of those jobs? So we want to make sure we add jobs and grow the economy.

Additionally, I believe there is currently better collaboration between Atlantic Provinces. We are too small as Atlantic Provinces to work in isolation. If we unite our provinces, it carries more weight together. It will benefit us in International Trade Missions like Asia. We want to have better relationships with our neighbor provinces in a different kind of way.

With respect to the Halifax Irving Shipbuilding contract ($25 billion over 25 years), the Province of NB is very pleased to help support in the execution of this contract. The supply chain will be significant to us over the 25 years and have a huge impact on NB."