Imagine a Better, Stronger New Brunswick...
How Might NBBC & Other N.B. Leaders Help with Provincial Recovery?
Dear Premier Higgs,
Let us begin by first offering our sincere thanks for your strong leadership throughout the current COVID-19 crisis that we are collectively facing as Canadians.
We are grateful and inspired by the commitment and collaboration shown across governments and throughout our communities. Everyone is doing their part and going above and beyond to ensure New Brunswick comes through this in a way that strengthens us as people and a province.
There have been many articles, theories and roadmaps for recovery and, admittedly at times, it is overwhelming. There’s no playbook and, surely, what’s ahead is daunting. But it is not without hope.
Once a week for many weeks, N.B. leaders representing businesses, not-for-profits and the immigration sector have been meeting to share information, support each other and think about this important question:
How can we contribute & collaborate with N.B. government in a meaningful, helpful way?
Through our learning and discovery as a group, we looked at the way forward as three (3) phases:
1. Response – The government and communities’ response has been nothing short of amazing! We are so encouraged and grateful for the leadership and rapid response that has led New Brunswick’s risk level to be minimal. This has set us up to deal with the crisis effectively and to minimize the impact on New Brunswickers.
2. Reopen – How we approach recovery will certainly be led by our Public Health experts and their global counterparts for how to best “re-open” our communities.
3. Reimagine – Our group of leaders found solace in taking an hour a week to lift our hearts and minds from the day to day crisis and begin to think about how NB could emerge stronger and better. The economic and financial fallout for government and communities will be like none that New Brunswick has likely ever experienced. New Brunswick will have to operate differently and this time provides an opportunity for deep change in our province.
Reimagining N.B.: Prioritize and Coordinate Swift Action
We don't yet have all of the answers. We're still working on having all of the right questions. What we do have is a strong desire to participate in a reimagining of New Brunswick, along with our government, academic, business and community leaders.
Although there are many unknowns, we do know that we will have to prioritize for swift action and ensure that we have a provincially coordinated plan that clearly defines roles and ownership of key action plans.
In your view, how could a small group of cross-sector leaders work on a short-term basis, shoulder-to-shoulder with government to examine questions like:
- How to invest limited resources in high potential industries where NB can win on a regional, national and global scale?
- How do we set realistic public expectations for what the government can do post-pandemic (accounting for the negative impact on government finances during the State of Emergency)?
- How can we get the private sector investing in the go-forward plan?
- How to invest strategically in infrastructure to stimulate the economy while addressing social needs such as limited affordable housing and the digital divide?
- How can we build on the success of Future Ready NB to connect young people to employment opportunities right here in New Brunswick to build leading organizations?
- How do we advance the use of technology and automation to ensure provincial improved productivity and global reach à this enables us to be competitive!
Premier Higgs, please know that you have a network of partners that are keen to engage and bring our individual and collective strengths in an effort that supports your government.
We strongly believe that partnership and collaboration with the private sector, community sector, academia, and public sector will lay the groundwork for a faster recovery and a stronger long-term future for our province.
We recognize there are tough choices ahead, but there are also big opportunities.
Let's work together for a better New Brunswick!
We look forward to exploring opportunities to contribute with you and your team at the Government of New Brunswick.
Respectfully and with gratitude,
Adrienne O'Pray, New Brunswick Business Council
Marie Chamberland, Conseil économique du Nouveau Brunswick
Ron Marcolin, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Sheri Somerville, Atlantic Chamber of Commerce
Krista Ross, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce
Cathy Simpson, TechImpact
Karina LeBlanc, Pond Deshpande Centre
Alex LeBlanc, New Brunswick Multicultural Council
Hon. Mary Wilson, Minister of Economic Development and Small Business
Hon. Ernie Steeves, Minister of Finance
Hon. Trevor Holder, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training & Labour
Cheryl Hansen, Clerk of the Executive Council
Sadie Perron, Deputy Minister, ONB
Dan Mills, Deputy Minister, PETL
Charline McCoy, Executive Director, Cities of New Brunswick Association
Eugénie Boudreau, Directrice des Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick