New Brunswick to tackle dwindling economy

New Brunswick Lieutenant-Governor Graydon Nicholas



New Brunswick's lieutenant-governor outlined the province's plans to stimulate the cash-strapped province's economy in Tuesday's speech from the throne.

"As New Brunswickers, we have all lived through the effects of the global economic downturn of the past number of years. We have experienced job losses and other changes brought by slower economic growth here and around the world," said Graydon Nicholas.

"While Canada and the rest of the world continue to recover from the downturn, it has become clear that growth will come, not from looking outside, but from the ingenuity and innovation of our New Brunswick people and businesses."

New Brunswick's projected deficit has almost doubled to $356 million this year and the province has a jobless rate of 11.6%, the highest in nearly a decade and greater than Canada's unemployment rate at 7.4%.

The government plans to create a research and innovation council to provide public policy guidance, and expand the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, which provides funding for research and development projects.

"The foundation will focus its efforts on our key economic development sectors," Nicholas said.

The province plans to create a jobs committee and release a labour strategy, he added.

New Brunswick will also consider exploring shale gas development.

"If the estimates for the potential amount of natural gas are accurate, it has the potential to heat every home in our province for several hundred years, and to provide a significant competitive advantage for our economy," he said. "Your government intends to continue to identify and act on the opportunity for greater scientific work to be done relating to shale gas exploration."

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