UNB appoints Herb Emery as Vaughan chair in regional economics

The University of New Brunswick is hoping to get a fresh set of eyes on the economic challenges facing the province. The university recently named Herb Emery, PhD, to the Vaughan Chair of regional economics.

Calgary professor feels growing mistrust of government plays a role in shale gas indecision by government

Economist Herb Emery is the new Vaughan Chair of regional economics and will study the New Brunswick economy. (CBC)

The University of New Brunswick is hoping to get a fresh set of eyes on the economic challenges facing the province, recently appointing Herb Emery to the Vaughan chair of regional economics.

Emery is exploring the challenges of shale gas exploration with the growing mistrust if government.

"This an opportunity to produce a resource, but increasing in Canada you have to balance the income with the concerns of the rest of the community," said Emery.

The New Brunswick government has extended its temporary shale gas fracking moratorium to indefinitely. Emery thinks politicians have a hard time balancing getting re-elected with doing something controversial but beneficial for the province.

In the past, Emery said governments would have just done it, but now a growing mistrust of governments has led to mayors having more sway than premiers.

Herb Emery says mistrust of government plays a major role in how things are decided. (Stefani Langenegger/CBC)
"If you don't have trust in government. This has been a big dynamic in federal and provincial. Once you lose that trust, it results in a gridlock in resource development."

But he's also aware that long-term planning is often absent. He's aware in some cases if a company has a short term interest, it will come extract the wealth and leave the government to clean up after.

"If you had a long-term interests of a company in a region you may not like what they're doing, but there is a long-term plan."

Emery was a professor at the University of Calgary and is already noticing problems in the province.

"I think people are a lot more negative than maybe they should be but I might also be confusing conditions in a capital city than the province overall," said Emery.

The Vaughan chair also noticed the quality of roads in New Brunswick, and has a unique view of the labour problems.

"If you think of New Brunswick as a bathtub and it's full right now, in terms of a boom being employment if you add more people, others will spill out the drain and go somewhere else."

We talk to UNB's new Vaughn chair in regional economics about how you turn around an economy when big players control all the opportunities. 16:38

With files from Information Morning Fredericton