Federal and Provincial Budgets
New Brunswick premier touts growth in population, employment in state of the province address
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs delivered a rosy outlook on his province’s performance when it comes to growth in both population and employment.
“From the beginning, we promised to do things differently,” said Higgs. “And now we are seeing the outcomes of our actions – positive results that many thought were impossible just a few years ago.”
He said that employment in New Brunswick is rising, as are wages, including the minimum wage. In addition, the population is registering the highest growth since 1867, with Moncton being recognized as the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country. Businesses are expanding and attracting strong private investment across the province, while all exports, manufacturing sales and housing sales are climbing, he said.
Higgs said the government remains committed to becoming a leader in energy innovation and development to support growth at home, lead in reducing emissions, and help global allies grapple with an energy crisis.
The government is actively supporting a number of clean energy solutions and transition fuels to support a path to net zero, he said. It has invested in small modular reactor technology, is developing a long-term provincial hydrogen roadmap, and is well positioned to supply Europe with liquified natural gas and would be the first location in Canada to do so.
Higgs also acknowledged some of the challenges the province is facing, in both health care and education.
“We are investing record amounts in health care, but money alone will not solve the issues we are seeing,” he said. “That is why we have been making changes to relieve some of the pressures on the health-care system and allow all of our medical professionals to practice within the full scope of their knowledge.”
Higgs spoke of several changes made to the health-care sector over the past year, including:
- allowing pharmacists to diagnose and prescribe for more ailments;
- introducing and expanding the NB Health Link program, which will support those waiting for a family doctor or nurse practitioner;
- continuing the use of eVisitNB, an online care option;
- using the MyHealthNB application to provide COVID-19 vaccination status and test results; and
- launching a pilot project in Bathurst to reduce the wait list for cataract surgery.
“New Brunswickers are our province’s greatest asset,” said Higgs. “That is why our government has taken, and continues to take, steps to ensure that life in our province provides opportunities to grow, prosper and thrive.”
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