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Premier highlights how province will build on its success in state of the province speech

CANADA, April 1 - FREDERICTON (GNB) – Premier Blaine Higgs delivered his annual state of the province address today, highlighting how the province is emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever and will continue to build on successes in health care, child welfare, making life affordable, and the economy.

“Thanks to strategic decision-making and a focus on what is important to New Brunswickers, there is a real sense of optimism in the province,” said Higgs. “Overcoming the challenges we faced over the last couple of years has left us feeling re-energized and ready to build on our success and find new opportunities to grow.”

He said the province’s economy is recovering faster than expected and that private investment is up. Over $2 billion was invested by private firms last year in capital construction and machinery and equipment. Statistics Canada predicts that capital investments from both private and public sources will exceed $4 billion this year.

Higgs noted that employment in the province hit an all-time high in November and that construction is booming. As well, New Brunswick had the nation’s second-largest growth in exports last year. The province has also experienced its highest population gains in 45 years, recently topping 800,000 residents.

To build on this momentum, Higgs announced that Opportunities NB will be launching an Immigration Navigator service in the weeks ahead to become more agile in helping employers and newcomers.

Higgs said the government is committed to playing a leadership role in energy innovation, ensuring Canada is recognized as a global leader in emissions reduction. Nuclear energy is a key resource in the transition to a low-carbon future and, as one of only two provinces in Canada with nuclear expertise, New Brunswick is well positioned to lead this evolution, he said.

To ensure prosperity across the province, Higgs said, communities must be vibrant, sustainable and safe places that are capable of attracting and retaining talent, and they must be inclusive.

Higgs said the government must also continue to make investments in health care. As was recently announced in the 2022-23 budget, over $3 billion has been allocated to the health-care system, which is the largest increase since 2008.

He said New Brunswick must also invest in education to allow every student to reach their full potential. This includes ensuring students have a solid foundation in literacy, math, language and computer skills, as well as exposing them to different career opportunities.

Higgs said that one of the reasons people want to live in New Brunswick and raise their children here is because of the province’s rich and vast natural spaces.

“In the coming months you will see us introduce more steps to maintain important biodiversity, protect waterways, and ensure abundant wildlife and fish habitats,” said Higgs. “You will see historic changes to private woodlot management to better assist landowners in the stewardship of their lands.”

Now that the province’s borders are open once again, Higgs said, the government is dreaming big and wants to build New Brunswick into a top vacation destination for visitors from around the world.

“Next week we are launching a new campaign, targeting New Brunswickers, to encourage them to share their experience and invite friends and family to discover all of the great things that New Brunswick has to offer,” said Higgs. “We know when people experience everything that we have to offer, they will want to stay longer. Maybe even a lifetime.”