Brian Gallant 'hopeful' about federal budget infrastructure promises
New Brunswick premier says right investments will spur economic development, job creation
Premier Brian Gallant says he's optimistic Tuesday's federal budget will reflect the Trudeau government's focus on infrastructure and be flexible enough to meet the needs of smaller provinces.
"I'm really hopeful that they're going to stick to their guns; that they're going to make sure this budget is about growth," Gallant said.
"It's about making the investments to spur economic development and job creation in the short-term."
Gallant made the comments to reporters on Monday, after speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce.
Topping the list of the federal Liberals' campaign promises is $60 billion over 10 years for infrastructure projects — nearly double what the previous Harper government planned to spend.
Gallant said he believes the Port of Saint John, for example, is a "great investment."
The right infrastructure will help with imports and exports and move the province forward in a competitive fashion, he said.
Different opportunities, challenges
But the federal government has to take into account the different set of realities in smaller provinces, said Gallant.
"You could take an important highway in New Brunswick — while it may not have the same amount of traffic as an important highway in Toronto, but both pieces of infrastructure are important for those respective economies and provinces," he said.
"So I just hope that the programs will have that type of flexibility, understanding the differences in terms of opportunities and challenges when it comes to the smaller provinces in our country."
During his speech, Gallant said one of the keys to Moncton's success is its diverse and bilingual workforce. He also touched on the importance of immigration, education and small businesses.
Carol O'Reilly, the CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, says a recent survey shows most Moncton business owners are feeling positive about the future.
Something she says ties in with what the premier had to say.
"You know, maybe there could have been some more concrete examples, however, you know, everyone in the room you could feel the buzz."