Setting up a population secretariat

On Friday, the Premier announced he would be setting up a population growth secretariat that will start up on April 1.

For once, I agree with Jeannot Volpe. There is a population secretariat already in place. Has been for several years.

This is not about population. It’s about jobs and economic development. Then its about finding the population (workers) to feed those jobs.

Time to revive my preferred framework for economic development in NB:

5% of provincial budget matched by the Feds.

Create a Department of Economic Renewal

That would have several divisions:

Global marketing (attracting industry) – I would recommend at least as many foreign offices as Ontario.

Export development – not just bragging about Irving oil exports – really focusing on export development.

Product development – this would be about creating the environment where targeted industries can succeed in New Brunswick. This group would be dedicated, for example, to the task of creating one of the best environments in North America for animation development.

Workforce development – aligned with first three, this would be about pumping out a workforce for targeted industries. It would involve working with universities, colleges, repatriation, immigration, etc.

Infrastructure development – not roads – I would see this more about natural gas, industrial parks, rail, port, – investments that will lead directly to tangible economic development and definitely aligned with the first four activities.

Why do we need these under one umbrella? Because the population secretariat will go off and do its own thing – like it has been. There will be limited if any alignment in activities – and that is one of the root causes of our problems.

Come on.

You know you like.

Department of Economic Renewal.