We have worked diligently to flatten the curve. This has not come without sacrifice. Right now, it appears we have the virus in check. But complacency could fuel it again.
As such, we have to carefully navigate our way through a continued re-opening of the economy and ensure we are positioned to endure a second wave.
This of course, is complicated by our immense debt.
As we heard from Finance Minister Osborne recently, we have our work cut out for us. There are difficult decisions to make and swift actions to take, to change the path of our province—and no one can fix this problem alone.
The solutions will have to be plentiful, but they are not going to be easy, and they are not going to be supported or endorsed by everyone.
What now? Where do we go from here?
We have just witnessed first-hand what we can accomplish when we work together. We can use the principles of acceptance, collaboration and collective good that we successfully applied to the health crisis to address our economic crisis. We must also borrow from the agile and determined leaders in our business community and apply their ingenuity and will to the problem to set our province on a new path. I know we can do it - we’ve just proven it.
The St. John’s Board of Trade does not have all the answers. There is no one person, or group, who does. Moreover, our provincial government alone cannot solve our problems.
But many people and organizations, including the St. John’s Board of Trade, have views worth discussing when it comes to addressing our province’s massive debt, and recovery.
Solutions will not be derived from social media confrontations or callous ill-considered comments feverishly typed and sent from a smartphone.
Criticism alone does not help.
Collaboration and conversation are needed to get us where we need to be. Together we can devise the actions that should be taken to change our current direction.
We are heading into a critical period in our province’s history — one that will be remembered and recounted by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for years to come. What we do next and how we move forward will shape the lives of our future generations.
And while this can sound daunting, we can get this right.
As I said in a recent open letter to our provincial government, they should not tackle this alone. We hope they leverage the expertise and insight that exists throughout our province, independent of any political allegiances or affiliations, to inform our path forward.
We can help. Labour organizations can help. Opposition parties can help. The federal government can help. Economists can help. Let’s all be part of the solution.
Let’s come together to have in-depth discussions. Call it a task force. Call it a think-tank. Call it whatever you want. The goal is more important than the label.
The government of Newfoundland and Labrador does not need to do this alone. The St. John’s Board of Trade and many others want to help fix it.
Persistence and solutions-focused mindsets can prevail.
The St. John’s Board of Trade frequently engages with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to forward an agenda and policies that assist its members, and by doing so also benefits the economy of St. John’s and the province as a whole.
When our provincial government is ready to call on the St. John’s Board of Trade, we will be ready to answer quickly, as swift planning is vital to us all.
Andrew Wadden is the 2020 Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade, and a partner with Wadden Peddigrew Hogan Law. He also teaches Business Law at MUN’s Faculty of Business.