Liberal, NDP leaders find Alward's speech lacking

David Alward's State of the Province speech Thursday left political opponents wanting to hear more.

Brian Gallant, Dominic Cardy wanted to hear more about forestry plan, structural change in government

David Alward's State of the Province speech Thursday left political opponents wanting to hear more.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant wanted to hear more about the government's long-term forestry plan, while New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy was hoping to hear about more than magic bullets.

Alward said the government has developed a strategy to make the forest industry more competitive and create hundreds of new jobs in the sector. But the speech was shy on details, indicating only that an announcement would be made in the coming days.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant questions why the Alward government has waited so long to unveil a new forest policy. (CBC)
Gallant said that announcement should have been made years ago.

"We wanted details on the plan three years ago," said Gallant after the speech. "The industry has been asking for it for years.

"I don't understand how he can continuously talk about resource development and not present that plan."

Alward said the forestry plan will focus on increasing the amount of wood fibre in the system will create more than 500 jobs in the sector and another 1,000 jobs or more in the construction sector.

Gallant said he hopes those numbers prove true.

"But I think it's incredibly important that New Brunswickers realize that would have been true two years ago," said Gallant. "And we have lost the opportunity to have those jobs in the province for the last two or three years, to have those investments be made and help us when we were having a tough time under this government."

Alward also used the speech to reiterate his government's commitment to developing a shale gas industry in the province.

New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy says structural changes are needed in the New Brunswick government. (CBC)
​Cardy didn't hear what he wanted to hear in Alward's speech.

"We heard a lot of stuff about how bad the situation has been and no real plan for fixing it," said the NDP leader.

"I don't see any really work to try and fix the systemic structural problems in our province, to really deal with the way that our government is run," he said. 

"Instead, it's just another Liberal or Tory government hoping that a magic bullet is going to save us. David Alward's magic bullet is shale gas."

"To me, hope comes with a message that would be hard and difficult for people to hear about the structural changes we need to make in this province," he said. "Our government has continued to grow while the quality of service it provides has continued to drop.

"And until we can fix that and change the situation around, no magic bullet — whether it's shale gas, or Atcon, or Bricklin, going back through the decades of Liberal and Tory economic disasters — none of those are going to turn our province around."