In­gre­di­ents for suc­cess

Premier Wade MacLauch­lan re­mains op­ti­mistic about P.E.I. econ­omy de­spite global tur­bu­lence

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERESA WRIGHT

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauch­lan be­lieves there are five in­gre­di­ents for Prince Ed­ward Is­land to achieve eco­nomic suc­cess, and he re­mains firmly op­ti­mistic about the year ahead, de­spite tum­bling world mar­kets and a slump­ing na­tional econ­omy.

MacLauch­lan de­liv­ered his first state-of-the-prov­ince ad­dress Mon­day evening in Char­lot­te­town at the Ro­tary clubs of P.E.I. an­nual din­ner.

He ad­dressed head-on the cur­rent world­wide “eco­nomic tur­bu­lence,” not­ing growth pro­jec­tions for 2016 in Canada have al­ready greatly shifted from the start of the year just three weeks ago.

This, cou­pled with de­clin­ing oil prices and a de­pressed Cana­dian dol­lar, will have im­pacts on P.E.I., MacLauch­lan said.

But, he vowed the prov­ince’s econ­omy will be his govern­ment’s great­est pri­or­ity and out­lined op­por­tu­ni­ties for P.E.I. to buck na­tional down­ward trends and achieve eco­nomic suc­cess in 2016.

“Prince Ed­ward Is­land does not need to be a vic­tim or a fol­lower of na­tional or global eco­nomic trends,” MacLauch­lan said.

“If we iden­tify our best op­por­tu­ni­ties and work to­gether to achieve the most that we can, the Prince Ed­ward Is­land econ­omy should be able to do rel­a­tively well, es­pe­cially in chal­leng­ing times.”

He pointed to his affin­ity for cook­ing and listed five key in­gre­di­ents he be­lieves would lead to eco­nomic suc­cess in Prince Ed­ward Is­land:

1. Grow the econ­omy at a greater rate than the na­tional av­er­age.

2. “Hus­tle” and pro­mote com­pa­nies and sec­tors that will boost pos­i­tive eco­nomic re­sults for P.E.I.

3. Ac­knowl­edge and sup­port lead­ers and en­trepreneurs who will drive suc­cess.

4. En­sure the Is­land has a top­notch work­force to build on P.E.I.’s rep­u­ta­tion for de­liv­er­ing qual­ity goods and ser­vices.

5. De­velop and pro­mote P.E.I.’s brand and rep­u­ta­tion more strongly and con­sis­tently across the coun­try and the world.

But the best way to help the econ­omy is to re­duce the prov­ince’s trade gap, which is cur­rently at $1.3 bil­lion, MacLauch­lan said.

“To do so, we must in­crease our ex­ports and look for ev­ery op­por­tu­nity we can find to spend more lo­cally and to do busi­ness with each other.”

MacLauch­lan high­lighted suc­cess sto­ries of many lo­cal busi­nesses, both ur­ban and ru­ral. He noted the prov­ince boasts job op­por­tu­ni­ties in emerg­ing sec­tors, like bio­science, aero­space and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, and that more must be done to en­cour­age young peo­ple they can build suc­cess­ful ca­reers in Canada’s small­est prov­ince.

As for tan­gi­ble ways to ac­com­plish th­ese goals, MacLauch­lan an­nounced he and On­tario are lead­ing a trade mis­sion to In­dia in Fe­bru­ary to help lo­cal busi­nesses con­nect with global com­pa­nies for ex­ports. An­other At­lantic trade mis­sion to Europe in June will also help Is­land com­pa­nies en­sure they get the full ben­e­fit from the new Canada-Euro­pean trade agree­ment. The prov­ince will also hold a new six-part ex­port readi­ness pro­gram for Is­land com­pa­nies in­ter­ested in grow­ing or be­gin­ning to ex­port.

A new web­site called Work P.E.I. will also be launched to help link job seek­ers with com­pa­nies look­ing to hire.

MacLauch­lan fur­ther re­it­er­ated his com­mit­ment to pre­sent­ing a bal­anced bud­get in the spring.

“Prince Ed­ward Is­land has a mod­ern, well-bal­anced econ­omy. We have high-qual­ity prod­ucts and ser­vices, we must hus­tle to make the next sale and to tie into new cus­tomers and sup­ply chains,” MacLauch­lan said. “With those com­mit­ments and in­gre­di­ents in place, and with a shared sense of pur­pose and de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­cess, Prince Ed­ward Is­land will have a pros­per­ous 2016.”

MITCH MACDON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Premier Wade MacLauch­lan, cen­tre, had a chance to visit with for­mer gov­er­nor for Ro­tary District 7820 Dun­can Con­rad, left, and Char­lot­te­town Ro­tary mem­ber Anne Gil­lis be­fore de­liv­er­ing his state of the prov­ince ad­dress at the Delta Prince Ed­ward Mon­day night.

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