FREDERICTON – Liberal Leader Brian Gallant wants to ensure local communities have the tools they need to fully participate in job creation in the province.
”Strong, locally-led economic development organizations are critical to successful job creation efforts in our province,” Gallant said. “However, we must be careful not to recreate the mistakes of the past and present with agencies that do not serve this purpose.”
The Alward government has created 12 regional offices for the Department of Economic Development. Gallant says this approach is deeply flawed because it takes responsibility for local solutions away from communities and gives it to the provincial government.
Gallant underlined that the Liberals were not looking to re-invent the wheel. Some regions have these agencies and those would remain in place. In other regions, the Liberals would assist communities in building agencies that fit their needs, recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach was unlikely to be successful.
The objective would be to see agencies in all regions of the province that would:
- have independence from the provincial government, giving the agencies the clear ability to advocate on behalf of the unique needs of their local communities;
- focus on assisting small businesses in areas where they need support, especially training and navigating government;
- establish local job growth plans for their regions.
”It is our communities who understand their unique challenges, assets and aspirations,” said Gallant. “We will assist communities in establishing these organizations, but we’ll ensure they’ll be operated by and for communities, not the provincial government.”
Gallant said a Liberal government would assist these agencies by providing them access to provincial resources – such as training resources for small businesses and back office services – at no cost.
“One-size-fits-all economic development solutions will not work across New Brunswick’s diverse regions. That’s why these local agencies are such a critical component to a successful job creation model. They can champion and advocate for job opportunities in their regions in a way provincial representatives never can,” said Gallant.