FREDERICTON — Economic development was front and centre on New Brunswick’s election campaign trail Wednesday, with the Liberals pushing for nuclear energy and the Progressive Conservatives promising more assistance for the province’s businesses.
During a campaign stop in Saint John, Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers said if he’s elected premier, he’ll partner with the federal government on the production of small modular nuclear reactors.
The project could make a huge number of profoundly talented and lucrative occupations in the province, said Vickers, including he accepts he has a superior possibility of arriving at a funding deal with Ottawa than Tory leader Blaine Higgs.
“It seems every time Premier Higgs goes to Ottawa it ends up in a fight,” the Liberal leader said. “I don’t recall a positive conversation coming from a meeting between Premier Higgs and Prime Minister Trudeau.”
Vickers told reporters he has been working collaboratively “behind the scenes” with New Brunswick federal cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc on the issue.
During a campaign stop in Moncton, Higgs said his cabinet was already on the nuclear file. His government, he added, has attracted interest in the development of the nuclear reactors from a number of other provinces.
“We signed (memorandum of understandings) about a year and a half ago with Ontario, Saskatchewan and now we have Alberta coming on board too,” Higgs said. “The federal government agrees this is the path to the future.”
Colleen d’Entremont, president of the Atlantica Centre for Energy, says the small modular reactors are next-generation technology that will take about 10 years to develop.
She says the proposed units could be installed throughout Canada and around the world, using spent fuel from reactors such as the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station in New Brunswick.
Higgs told reporters if his government is re-elected, he’ll continue to implement his plan to help businesses compete in a post-COVID world.
He said his government has improved the province’s credit rating, implemented changes to protect New Brunswick’s financial security, increased wages for home support workers and presented a balanced budget.
Meanwhile, Green Leader David Coon used a bus stop in Fredericton Wednesday as the backdrop for an announcement on transit. Coon said a Green government would have a plan to save public transit in New Brunswick cities.
eople’s Alliance leader Kris Austin called on Wednesday for three-year motor vehicle registrations in the province. Currently, drivers have to reapply every year. He said the move would help New Brunswickers keep more of their hard-earned money.
The provincial election is set for Sept. 14.
Photo credit: The Canadian Press
News source: The Canadian Press