Learning the wrong lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic

There have been a couple stories this week outlining why New Brunswick didn’t get hit as bad by the Covid-19 pandemic. The reasons stated include because we don’t have an international airport, we have less immigration and international students, we have less trade with Asia, etc.  Essentially we dodge a bullet because we are a small, mostly rural and disconnected place.

So what do we learn from this?

That we need to have less international travel, bring in less travelers, do less trade with countries around the world, bring in less immigrants and attract far fewer international students.  Let’s cut ourselves off from the global economy.

Small, poor and isolated.

Sounds like a good strategy to me. How about you?

We need to come out of this doubling down.  Attract more people to our shores.  Expand international student enrolment.  Attract more international entrepreneurs and business investment.  Attract more tourists from abroad.  If others are closing borders, let’s open ours.

Yes, there will be a period where some of this is tricky because of the lingering pandemic.  Yes public health measures will play a more dominant role in our thinking but looking out into the future as things are getting back to normal (maybe a new normal) we need to get right back on the horse.

Herb Emery recently mused about the potential of this being an advantage for smaller places like New Brunswick – maybe more people will want to live here in the future.

We need to keep our eye on the ball here.

Turning inward will do nothing to help our prosperity and I would argue public health either.