Party pledges to increase the number of NBers by 2014
September 3, 2010
SAINT JOHN – Liberal Leader Shawn Graham pledged Friday to increase New Brunswick's population by 12,000 people by 2014, double the amount that came to the province in his first mandate.
Click to EnlargeTory Leader David Alward is promising to slash the provinces small business tax in half over the next four years if the Progressive Conservatives are voted into power. He made the announcement at a campaign whistle-stop in the small community of Napan at Bremner Farm Equipment. Pictured, from left, are Tory Leader David Alward, Bremner Farm Equipment owner Leon Bremner, Tory candidate Trevor Holder, Bremner Farm Equipment employees Stephen Dixon and Ryan Taylor.
During a campaign stop at a multicultural centre in Saint John, Graham said that the province needs to attract more immigrants and keep young people from leaving in order to develop the economy.
“We're looking at bringing your kids back home, but we're also looking at attracting new immigrants,” he told reporters.
“The face of New Brunswick is changing and that's a good thing.”
Graham promised new measures designed to increase the immigrant retention rate to 80 per cent, up from its current rate of 60 per cent.
The measures include expanding mentorship programs for immigrants, and strengthening partnerships with colleges and universities to encourage foreign students to settle in New Brunswick after graduation.
The population target announced Friday was more modest than those previously set by the Graham Liberals.
In their first mandate, the Liberals hoped to boost the population by 25,000 by 2015 and 100,000 by 2026, for a total of 850,000 New Brunswickers.
The Progressive Conservatives say that the Liberal government's dubious track record on population estimates should cast doubt on the new goal.
“It's just difficult to trust what they are saying,” said Tyler Campbell, press secretary for the party.
He said the Liberals are far from reaching their original estimate and pointed to recent reports that showed that the Department of Finance was projecting an increase of only 15,000 people in New Brunswick over the next decade.
Constantine Passaris, an economics professor at the University of New Brunswick and chairman of the Population Growth Secretariat's advisory board, said he would like to see all political parties stress the importance of population growth during the campaign.
“As far as I'm concerned, I think population growth is the lynchpin for New Brunswick's economic development in the future. Once we get this right we are going to see a lot of other things forming into place,” Passaris said in an interview, citing job creation, consumer expenditures, and increased tax revenue among the benefits of a population influx.
Judy Eatmon, programs director of PRUDE, said afterwards she was encouraged by the commitment to immigration services, but stressed that more needs to be done to prepare for the demographic challenges ahead.
“We need to take practical steps to ensure that the growth and retention rate expands, especially in the smaller urban centres like this one,” she said.
Graham wouldn't detail how much it would cost to implement the new programs, saying they would be released along with the rest of the party platform.
He also said he would press the federal government to improve its immigration process.
Passaris said improving the effectiveness with which Ottawa approves foreign degree credentials is an important issue that must be addressed quickly, with the help of negotiations by the province.
“The federal government is selecting immigrants on the basis of labour shortages that we have in Canada,” he said.
“But once those people come here, we're told, 'Oops,' you can't practise.”
Passaris added that immigration services will need to be further expanded in New Brunswick.
“With the kind of support that you can get in Toronto if you are a Chinese immigrant, you don't need the support,” he said.
“In New Brunswick, we don't have that critical mass.”
Experience demonstrates clearly that institutions providing higher education to foreign students are a poor subsitute for producing citizens, the record shows its been a dead policy for decades now. How many tens of thousands of chinese students recieved their education in New Brunswick the past 20 years? how many stayed after graduation to make their life here?
We can never expect people to cross oceans to live here if we cannot even keep our younger generations living here from going abroad in search of well paying jobs and opportunity.
The history of our provincial immigration is one of people coming and most then going elsewhere into North America. New Brunswick has always served as a landing place with a poor retention record.
You might land them here, but its in your ability in providing an immediate and rich system of support upon arrival, the provision of opportunity here for people who do not speak our languages that allows them to still be here two months after arrival.
Wally mann, Quispamsis on 04/09/10 08:30:43 AM ADT
Some of us left $50K jobs 10 years ago to come home…and we make far less have fewer benefits, no pensions, less vacation. Hmmm….why would anyone come back….I'm considering leaving again.
S. NB, New Brunswick on 04/09/10 09:51:26 AM ADT
Sadly the outflow of population continues and nothing the government has done is likely to alter the situation. People go where economic and social opportunities are best. High personal taxes, bloated government debt, poor investments in universities and other value-creating infrastructure, and confused economic strategies (anyone still remember the energy hub myth that was going to rejuvenate Saint John) just compound the problem.
iceonfire NB, Fredericton on 04/09/10 10:08:25 AM ADT
I hope Mr Graham and his party have something sustainable in mind to encourage the immigrants and newcomers he plans to bring into the province to stay here…because this family of immigrants is moving on!
We came to NB from NZ 9 years ago for a new start, and for the opportunities that Canada afforded our 3 kids. Kids who have all excelled in school here and 2 of whom are now in university. The youngest who graduated high school this year was placed 12th out of a class of 370! He plans to be a pharmacist, but not in NB.
In Feb 2009, when the recession hit the steel industry, my husband lost his job as an estimator, a job at which he is highly qualified. Unable to find another job here, he reluctantly left his family and the province to head to AB to work. Now, 18 months later, his family are leaving NB to follow him. We know he won't get work back here, so as much as we have come to love NB, we are leaving too. Farewell NB & to any newcomers, good luck. You'll probably need it.
Lisa Hodges, Saint John on 04/09/10 10:36:20 AM ADT
Where's my bribe to stay in New Brunswick? I was born here and the only thing keeping me here at the moment is family. If not for them, at the very least, I would have moved to Nova Scotia or taken a job in the US years ago.
Anonymous Anonymous, Fredericton on 04/09/10 11:26:29 AM ADT
Shawn Graham's promises are worthless.
Stu Pid, saint john on 04/09/10 11:45:57 AM ADT
Only 12,000 people. Who is going to fill those 20,000 jobs. This guy is talking in terms less and less tangible all the time. If his position continues to deteriorate I am worried about his grip on reality.
ed b, canterbury on 04/09/10 12:00:19 PM ADT
People we already have Shawn, all we need now are the jobs to keep them here.
Richard Paladin, Moncton on 04/09/10 12:58:28 PM ADT
WE do not need 12000 more people we need 12000 more jobs…not more people for the welfare rolls or pay them to come to NB.
it just gets crazy and crazer every day..
Why would anyone running for office suggest such a thing as this?
Spend millions on bringing people and in return to hell with us NBB,ERS who built this province..
This election is a like lunatic asylum with a bunch of nuts on the loose…
Thats My Opinion!
John Gallant, Moncton on 04/09/10 01:32:02 PM ADT
You guys said it all and there's nothing I can add. If you get it, why don't the politicians?
Sorry to see Lisa go but if you're not bilingual not much future here.