The Office of the Official Opposition is expressing serious concern about the state of the provincial economy after seeing the government’s third-quarter results for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
“The numbers released yesterday clearly show that our economy continues to falter under the Higgs government” says Roger Melanson, Leader of the Official Opposition. “Revenues that we typically expect from our own economic outputs and own revenue sources are down $260 million. Economic indicators paint the gloomy picture: GDP is at -3.9%, the labour force is shrinking, and unemployment is up 22.6%. Manufacturing sales are down 17.6%, international exports down 22.3% and non-residential construction is down 25.1%. Simply put our economy is in a dangerous situation, it is shrinking.”
“Given this report, it’s conceivable that we could be heading into a protracted period of continued economic decline and with that continued structural deficits. We’ve seen this before – from 2010 to 2014.” says Melanson. “We need to focus on growing the economy and that takes vision and an action plan – things we are just not seeing from this government.”
Melanson points out that governments in most jurisdictions around the world and all other Canadian provinces are providing significant economic stimulus packages to ensure a swift and robust return to economic growth.
“The federal government is contributing almost all the financial aid going to citizens, businesses and even governments, while Premier Higgs avoids making any investments in sustaining the backbone of New Brunswick’s economy: small and medium-sized business.” says Roger Melanson. “Government has the opportunity, now, to offer targeted help to struggling businesses, and to New Brunswickers whose jobs have been lost because of the pandemic. It’s pretty difficult to grow an economy on shuttered businesses and growing unemployment – we need action now to ensure economic growth beyond the pandemic.”