DIEPPE, N.B. — An alliance of New Brunswick business groups released policy priorities Tuesday for federal party leaders, asking for a clear plan to drive economic recovery and post-pandemic growth.
Krista Ross, CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, held a news conference along with other business leaders in the province and said the alliance's priorities involve three main categories: recovery and self-sufficiency, immigration, and competitiveness and fairness.
She called for the federal parties to commit to grow the labour force and to create an Atlantic investment tax credit that would encourage interprovincial investment in startups, exporters and small and medium-sized businesses.
"The idea would be to have a program that would encourage investment from the Atlantic region in the Atlantic region," Ross said in an interview Tuesday following the media event in the Moncton area.
The business alliance includes Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick, the New Brunswick Business Council, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce, and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
The group is also seeking incentives or tax credits to help businesses transition to a green economy, as well as a simplified immigration process and more support to help retain newcomers.
Ross said a key issue right now is getting people back into the workforce.
"In June 2019, 27,000 people were collecting EI in the region," she said about employment insurance. "In June 2021, that figure was 57,000. That's an extra 30,000 people not in the workforce. We need to find ways to get people back to work."
Prior to the federal election being called, the alliance met with the platform committees of the national parties. Ross said they are now looking to explain their message to local candidates. She said the six groups that compose the alliance have split up the ridings in the province and are offering to hold meetings with candidates between now and the Sept. 20 election.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2021.
— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.
The Canadian Press