On Tuesday, September 20, an interview with Premier David Alward appeared in the Business section of the Wall Street Journal's online website. The interview discussed Invest NB, a new agency set up to lure foreign investment to the province. The article not only promotes the province's low corporate tax rate, but also stated the province supports responsible shale gas development, and won't be backing down on it anytime soon, despite protests.
UPDATE: Since posting the link above, the article has moved into the WSJ pay wall and can only be accessed if readers subscribe. However we have found it elsewhere online and have published it below:
INTERVIEW: New Brunswick Premier Aims To Draw Foreign Investors
By Nirmala Menon
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
SAINT JOHN, N.B. (Dow Jones)--David Alward, the premier of New Brunswick, is hoping to draw foreign investors to the Atlantic province, which has the third-highest jobless rate in Canada.
Alward set up a new agency, Invest NB, to spearhead the exercise to lure investors from overseas and other Canadian provinces into sectors including information technology and advanced learning. The agency's goal is to secure 35 new investments between 2011-2013 and increase New Brunswick's gross domestic product by C$293 million (US$296 million) over the next three years. New Brunswick's GDP totaled C$27.5 billion in 2009.
This is Alward's first major economic development plan since he became premier when his Progressive Conservatives defeated the Liberals in provincial elections a year ago.
The move comes at a tough time, as the Canadian and global economies face headwinds from a slowing U.S. economy and the euro-zone debt crisis, which prompted the International Monetary Fund Tuesday to slash its Canadian economic growth forecasts for 2011 and 2012.
Even so, Alward said it's a good time to tout what his province has to offer to investors.
"We believe that New Brunswick has a lot of competitive advantages," Alward said in an interview after launching Invest NB. They include a low corporate tax rate and more intangible benefits such as quality of life, Alward said, citing surveys that rated the province's cities as some of the best places to do business.
New Brunswick cut its general corporate income tax rate to 10% effective July 1.
The premier said "hundreds of jobs" in the province are unfilled because "there hasn't been the right connection with skill sets." At the same time, he said classes at universities and colleges go unfilled because young people in New Brunswick haven't realized the opportunities that are available.
The province's unemployment rate was 9.2% last month, almost two percentage points higher than the national rate of 7.3%.
Alward said there are "lots of development opportunities with China and India," which make "great sense" for all provinces, a fact that has and will continue to be a key focus in talks he holds with his fellow premiers. There are also "tremendous opportunities" still in the U.S., which takes up some 85% of New Brunswick's exports, he said.
Meanwhile, Alward isn't backing away from shale-gas development in his province despite protests from environmentalists, saying it makes "good sense" for the province. He said his government is "very supportive of responsible development" of natural gas.
Shale-gas development in New Brunswick is still at the exploration stage, and Alward said it will take between two and five years to come to fruition.
-By Nirmala Menon, Dow Jones Newswires; 613-237-0668 firstname.lastname@example.org
Post script: We received a comment this morning on the above article that we would like to share along with our response. Perhaps you, along with the commenter, can help us out.
Mike M said...
Might be a bit more balanced report that the Premier actually launched the program in three separate announcements around the province yesterday. Your headline would seem to suggest that it was limited to an interview in the WSJ which is not a fair representation of what happened.
The Purple Violet Press said...
We just came across that article by chance late last night and weren't aware the Premier announced it in other places yesterday.
If readers want us to take a more balanced approach to government announcements, we suggest they contact Communications NB to ensure we be put on the government press release or media list.
Since departmental communications officers refuse to acknowledge our phonecalls,e-mails and trips to their offices, perhaps you, Mike M, can contact them on our behalf and tell them to answer our inquiries or put us on the press release/media list.
That way, you will have the "fair representation of what actually happened" that you are looking for, because we would love to provide that fairness to our readers if the government would just extend us some professional courtesy.
We await your response for suggestions to our problem or how you can help.