Grow­ing the pop­u­la­tion

Lib­er­als tout plan to draw New Brunswick­ers back, re­tain young peo­ple

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC -

New Brunswick’s Lib­eral party is tout­ing a plan to re­tain young peo­ple and draw ex­pa­tri­ates back to a prov­ince that has strug­gled to grow its pop­u­la­tion.

“Un­for­tu­nately, for too long, we’ve had many of our young peo­ple leave the prov­ince look­ing for work,” Pre­mier Brian Gal­lant said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Fri­day - Day 23 of the pro­vin­cial elec­tion cam­paign.

“To con­tinue to grow the New Brunswick pop­u­la­tion, we need to keep our young peo­ple here, bring peo­ple who have left the prov­ince back here, and wel­come new Cana­di­ans to the prov­ince.”

Gal­lant said the Lib­er­als would ex­pand pro­grams that of­fer free tu­ition at pub­lic post-se­condary in­sti­tu­tions and free child care for low-in­come fam­i­lies.

He said they would dou­ble in­vest­ments in the youth em­ploy­ment fund, which places young adults and youth with em­ploy­ers for train­ing and men­tor­ing.

Gal­lant said if re-elected Sept. 24, his gov­ern­ment would also cre­ate a “re­verse head­hunt­ing” ser­vice to pro­vide Cana­di­ans and New Brunswick­ers liv­ing out­side the prov­ince a one-stop shop to help them find a job and move to New Brunswick.

The ser­vice would help ar­range in­ter­views, look for hous­ing, iden­tify child-care op­tions and find a job for their part­ner. Job fairs would also be held across Canada to re­cruit peo­ple to the prov­ince.

The cost for the new pro­gram was not avail­able Fri­day, but a spokesman for the party said all of the cost­ing for the Lib­eral plat­form - which has not yet been re­leased - will even­tu­ally be posted on the Elec­tions New Brunswick web­site.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2016 cen­sus, New Brunswick was the only prov­ince in Canada that ex­pe­ri­enced a de­cline in pop­u­la­tion over a

five-year pe­riod. The pop­u­la­tion dropped to 747,101 in 2016 from 751,171 in 2011.

Mean­while, the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives an­nounced Fri­day that a Tory gov­ern­ment would grad­u­ally de­crease the dou­ble tax on non-owner oc­cu­pied prop­er­ties.

Leader Blaine Higgs said the tax, which dou­bles the tax rate on build­ings that are not owner-oc­cu­pied, is un­fair and dis­cour­ages in­vest­ment in New Brunswick.

“This tax is re­spon­si­ble for rais­ing the rent for al­most 80,000 New Brunswick­ers, and sti­fles prop­erty de­vel­op­ment provincewide,” Higgs said in a state­ment.

“It makes our prov­ince less at­trac­tive than oth­ers for business de­vel­op­ment. With­out it, rents would de­cline and prop­erty sales would grow.”

The Tories said they would re­duce the dou­ble tax rate by 50 per cent over four years through grad­ual re­duc­tions. But it said to­tal elim­i­na­tion of the dou­ble tax is the goal.

Higgs also promised to con­duct a com­par­a­tive anal­y­sis of prop­erty tax sys­tems used in other prov­inces so that New Brunswick re­mains com­pet­i­tive in terms of at­tract­ing business.

CP PHOTO

The New Brunswick Lib­er­als are tout­ing their party’s plan to re­tain young peo­ple and draw ex­pa­tri­ates back to the prov­ince. New Brunswick Lib­eral Leader Brian Gal­lant and wife Karine Lavoie, sec­ond from right, are greeted by can­di­dates af­ter ar­riv­ing at a cam­paign stop in Fred­er­ic­ton on Sept. 5,.

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