Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

New Brunswick Premier David Alward stands in front of natural gas wells in the rural community of Penobsquis as he launches his re-election bid on Thursday, August 21, 2014. The dominant issue in the New Brunswick election campaign, which wraps up in just over two weeks, could be summed up in one word: jobs.

The Canadian Press

The dominant issue in the New Brunswick election campaign, which wraps up in just over two weeks, is jobs and whether the shale gas industry can provide a solution.

The province's economic growth rate was the worst in the country last year, which the Conference Board of Canada said was the result of austerity measures aimed at bringing its public debt levels under control.

The two main parties have come up with vastly different plans on how to tackle the problem and win over anxious voters and the province's relatively new but contentious shale gas industry is at the centre of the debate.

Story continues below advertisement

The governing Progressive Conservatives, under Premier David Alward, are telling voters the key to spurring the economy and creating jobs is supporting the province's relatively new but contentious shale gas industry.

On the campaign trail, Alward recently posed beside a large banner that read: "Say Yes to Natural Gas/Get 'Er Done." And on the side of his campaign bus is the message: "Let's bring our people home," a reference to the many young New Brunswickers who have left the province in search of work in the West.

"New Brunswickers are facing a clear choice between becoming a 'have province' or watching our people continue to leave home for the very same industries we can say yes to here," Mr. Alward says.

The Opposition Liberals, led by Brian Gallant, have called for a moratorium on the shale gas industry's use of hydraulic fracturing, the high-pressure process used to extract oil and natural gas from shale formations.

Mr. Gallant says the province needs to "press pause while we get more information" about an industry that has sparked public protests, including a violent confrontation last October in Rexton, N.B., where police arrested 40 people as six police vehicles were gutted by flames.

While the province's unemployment rate dipped to 8.7 per cent last month – slightly lower than its three Atlantic neighbours – that snapshot figure masks an annual trend that has seen steady increases since 2007.

Two weeks ago, the Liberals delivered their own jobs plan, which includes a commitment to spend $900-million over six years on building and repairing roads, bridges and other infrastructure, which the party says would create more than 10,000 jobs.

Story continues below advertisement

Don Desserud, a political science professor at the University of Prince Edward Island, said the job-creation promises from both parties have not inspired the electorate.

"There's not a lot of confidence in the Liberals or the Conservatives in their ability to actually fix any of the problems that they've identified," says Dr. Desserud.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies