Premier Wade MacLauchlan holds economic forum

Ryan Ross
Published on March 19, 2015

Premier Wade MacLauchlan addresses the crowd at an economic forum he held Macyh 18, 2015.

©Heather Taweel/The Guardian

When it comes to investment in business, Premier Wade MacLauchlan says he didn’t think that responsibility should fall solely on government.

MacLauchlan said there is a tendency to put more of the risk on government, but, “I don’t think that’s the way we should be proceeding if we’re planning to grow our economy or do it sustainably,” he said.

Instead he said he wans to talk to lending institutions to make sure they understand their part in a growing economy.

MacLauchlan recently announced the creation of a board of economic advisors to provide advice and analysis on economic trends and policies.

Wednesday’s forum panelists included Tim O’Neill, a former economist with the Bank of Montreal and a member of the board of economic advisors, Jordan Fraser, CEO of BamText, and Steven Stewart from Vector Aerospace.

During his presentation MacLauchlan highlighted some of the brighter points in P.E.I.’s economy, including that the province’s GDP growth outpacing the rest of Canada in many recent years.

The province also exceeded national growth in sales of manufactured goods.

P.E.I.’s job growth has been ahead of the rest of the Maritimes and MacLauchlan said there were advantages to being small and nimble.

MacLauchlan referred repeatedly to what he sees as a need to shrink the province’s trade deficit by selling more Island goods.

“Every trade dollar that comes into the province is 100 cents of new money and it goes into somebody’s pocket,” he said.

He also said trade dollars were more valuable than dollars from transfer payments from the federal government.

“We’re making a contribution to some of those.”

MacLauchlan said he hoped the economic forum would become a tradition linked to the work of his board of economic advisors.

The forum had the same goals as the board, he said.

“To gain a greater understanding of our Prince Edward Island economy.”