David Campbell

Moncton's David Campbell has been hired as New Brunswick's first chief economist. (CBC)

Economic development consultant David Campbell of Moncton has been hired as the province of New Brunswick's first chief economist.

He will be part of a leadership team for the New Brunswick jobs board secretariat along with Jacques J. Pinet, who is the chief executive officer, and Susan Holt, who is chief of business relationships.

"I think I'll be an advocate for economic development, doing a lot of the things I do now only inside government ,so thinking about ways we can grow the economy, sectors that have opportunity for growth ... and promoting that inside government and hopefully across the province with the general public as well."

Campbell says the idea behind the jobs board is to develop economic policy that takes a provincial view.

Campbell says he will use his experience in the private sector in his new position with government.

'We risk becoming essentially one big retirement home and this recent talk of converting hospitals to nursing homes is one of many signs this is currently in progress.' - David Campbell, chief economist for government of New Brunswick.

"I will be bringing a very strong bias toward getting the economy moving because I do think if we continue to see weak growth in the province it's really going to put a strain on our ability to fund public services and we're going to continue to see our young people leaving."

Campbell brings private sector experience

As a consultant, Campbell has supported shale gas development and he says he continues to support the industry, even though the Gallant government has brought in a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick.

"The premier has set a very strict set of guidelines under which this new government would allow shale gas to go forward ... but I work for government now and I accept the policy that's underway right now."

In a post on his blog, Campbell said earlier this week that he sees his new role as a homecoming of sorts.

"If we don't find a way to get the province's economy back to at least a moderate level of economic growth no amount of fiscal austerity will be enough to bring balance to the province's books," Campbell writes.

"We risk becoming essentially one big retirement home and this recent talk of converting hospitals to nursing homes is one of many signs this is currently in progress."

Campbell says he hopes to help create a new agenda that will bring that growth to New Brunswick.

"Maybe, just maybe in ten years from now we won't be lamenting a failed 'prosperity plan' or a failed 'self-sufficiency agenda'," he writes. 

"Maybe we will be celebrating living in a province with its mojo back — a place that is attracting young professionals and families from around the world. A place that is incubating hundreds of ambitious entrepreneurs and attracting capital from far and wide."