Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart looks to solve region's population problem

A New Brunswick MP is hoping to push Parliament to find ways to solve Atlantic Canada's population problem by exploring ways to boost immigration and to keep people in the region.

Liberal MP will put forward a motion in Parliament to look at why Atlantic Canada doesn't retain immigrants

Liberal MP Alaina Lockhart will put forward a motion in Parliament on Friday to look at why Atlantic Canada's population is on the decline, and how to solve it. (House of Commons)

A New Brunswick MP is hoping to push Parliament to find ways to solve Atlantic Canada's population problem by exploring ways to boost immigration and to keep people in the region.

Fundy Royal MP Alaina Lockhart will be putting a motion to the House of Commons on Friday that she hopes will create ideas on growing Atlantic Canada's population. 

The motion will call on the the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to find ways to increase immigration and improve retention.

Lockhart said the population is getting older by the day and there are more people dying than being born.

According to Statistics Canada, the province set a modern record last winter for both the number of deaths in a three-month period (1,953) and the fewest number of births (1,563). Both counts also extend back to 1946.

She says that makes it more important to keep any immigrants. 

"It's one thing to bring newcomers to Atlantic Canada, but how do we make sure they're matched properly with jobs or economic opportunities, and stay with us," said Lockhart. 

Lockhart used to work in human resource management and has seen the population problem up close. While working in that position, she found it was more difficult to fill jobs in Atlantic Canada.
Lockhart used to work in human resource management and has seen the population problem up close. (CBC)

She said that's what led her to putting forward this motion. 

"Over the last 20 years we've seen it become more and more difficult to fill some jobs in Atlantic Canada," said Lockhart.  

"People don't necessarily speak up and say immigration is our top issue but they're certainly talking about the stresses on communities and business from the lack of growth in our population."

Jobs left open

Lockhart said there are gaps in the workforce that need to be filled and that can be done through immigration. 

"In New Brunswick alone we have over 1,000 jobs that have gone unfilled for over a year," said Lockhart.  
The Fundy Royal MP wants Ottawa to look into Atlantic Canada's population problems. 12:20

Lockhart said she wants the House of Commons committee to research why people come to New Brunswick and then promptly leave.

She said she hopes the committee will provide options to solve the problem.

That committee will draw on experts from across Canada to solve that. 

While the motion has not been formally introduced yet, Lockhart said she has received support from both sides of the aisle about her idea.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton