N.B. government's ad about worker exodus challenged

The Opposition Liberals say they will introduce a bill in the new year to restrict political advertising paid for by the New Brunswick government.

Brian Gallant accuses Conservatives of using taxpayers' money to create political narrative

The Alward government is airing ads about bringing New Brunswickers back to work in the province. 1:44

The Opposition Liberals say they will introduce a bill in the new year to restrict political advertising paid for by the New Brunswick government.

Liberal leader Brian Gallant made the comment after the province launched another television ad promoting its message.

The 30-second advertisement shows New Brunswickers boarding planes for jobs in Alberta.

Progressive Conservative MLAs have cited the exodus to Alberta in arguments for the development of a shale gas industry in New Brunswick, although the ads don't make any mention of shale gas or Premier David Alward.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant says the ads are puzzling.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant is puzzled by the provincial government's ad campaign featuring people leaving the province to work. (CBC)
"To think that the premier has to tell New Brunswickers that there aren't enough jobs in this province is beyond me," said Gallant.

"What we can certainly tell by these ads is that they're not trying to add value to our economy, they're not trying to create jobs," said Gallant. "This is some type of political narrative they're trying to create.

"This is incredibly unfortunate because I think it'll actually do the opposite. It'll actually discourage investment, and discourage people from staying here in our province."

The ad takes on a mournful tone, with poignant images of children and spouses saying goodbye in an airport.

"Couldn't get enough opportunities to do it here," says one of the characters. "You have to do it out west."

"It's not easy for the family," says another.

While the Liberals are calling for a moratorium on shale gas development, the Conservatives have been pushing shale gas development as a way to bring New Brunswickers to work in the province.

Gallant says while the ad doesn't mention shale gas, the ad is designed to help the Tories politically.

"They're trying to say times are tough so let us do all the things that we want to do."

The next provincial election will be in September 2014.

Provincial government officials did not respond to requests from CBC News for the cost of producing and airing the ad.

A similar government advertisement in August about the proposed West-East pipeline project cost $15,000 to produce and $75,000 for airtime.


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