Stemming out-migration

The CBC is hosting a public forum on Oct 25 in Fredericton entitled “Turning back the tide”.

On Oct. 25, CBC is hosting a public forum at St. Thomas University about out-migration and the New Brunswick of the future. We’re bringing together students, young people in the workforce, business people, and political and community leaders for a discussion on how to make New Brunswick a more attractive place for people to live and work.

This would be an interesting event to attend; but I won’t be able to make it up to Freddy Beach so here are my comments.

I expect the CBC will get the usual diversions at this forum. We need to make ‘post secondary education’ more affordable. We need to provide tax incentives to stay. We need to create a better environment for young people so they will want to stay. There will be general discussion around New Brunswick needing to have jobs that are attractive to young people.

The truth is, there are two things driving out-migration: 1) the weak economy here and 2) the strong economy over ‘there’. I went to Alberta in 1991 to get a job and there were very few to be had. Now, if I went there I could get a blue collar job that pays more than my white collar one. BC is also attracting people.

I’ll make a bold (and maybe stooopid) statement. I don’t think we should do much to stop out-migration. Kids are going to leave. If someone wants to make $100k to work on the road seven days a week in the tar sands, so be it. New Brunwick will never compete. If I want to ‘spread my wings’ and move to the big city of Toronto, why should the government put incentives in place to try and keep me around? I’ll just use up those incentives (i.e. the $10k tuition tax credit) and leave.

We need to stick to the basics. New Brunswick needs to have a few key growth sectors that it is focused on and we need full alignment of the education sector, immigration strategies, marketing activities, etc. There will always be out-migration. What we need is in-migration and those folks won’t come unless there are good jobs here.