Among all the discussions of how New Brunswick can achieve self-sufficiency, one note has sounded again and again, though it does not appear in any Task Force report.
The idea of maritime union is gaining new credence – and as a strategy for keeping the tax rate down, bringing investment and job creation up, and delivering public services in a sustainable manner, it has much to recommend it.
Greater political co-operation between the Atlantic provinces has been a hallmark of discussions on Atlantica. Co-ordinating improvements to sea and airports, rail lines and highways, will require a regional vision. So will transforming New Brunswick into an energy hub, capable of shipping fuels to the United States and electricity across the region. So will attracting new and permanent immigration, according to the latest report by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.
The argument that a single maritime government could keep the cost of administering services down is a new addition to the debate, ventured by Catherine Swift, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
All of these notions are worth considering.
New Brunswickers, hit with tax increases and the certainty of approaching service cuts, know the status quo is not working. If maritime political union could help lower taxes or improve delivery of health care and education, it’s an option that demands serious exploration.