Business experts along with government and university officials from across Atlantic Canada will be re-examining the region’s potential for human and financial resources when they meet here June 7-9 for a regional economic development conference.

The main focus of the conference is what will make Atlantic Canada a more vibrant and prosperous region.

Both human and financial resources are essential ingredients for the future development of the Atlantic Region. One issue is the dwindling population.

“Without a skilled workforce, Atlantic Canada enterprises will be unable to expand and take advantage of new opportunities. The other key factor which can hinder regional development is the lack of access to financial capital,” said Dr. Carla VanBeselaere of the economics department of Mount Allison University.

Peter McKay, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, said this forum is important because it is engaging regional leaders on issues related to economic development of the region.

New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham said that “by bringing together government and business from across Atlantic Canada and talking about such issues as migration, education and skill transfer, capital and investment we forge ties which carry us in the right direction.”

The session is entitled Re-imagining the Atlantic Economy: The Dynamics and Trajectories of Human and Financial Resources and involves a number of key note speakers among them Francis McGuire, co-chairman of the New Brunswick Self-Sufficiency Task Force, and Elizabeth Beale, president and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.

Other speakers include Charles Cirtwill, acting president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies; Stephen Dempsey, president of the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce; Wade Locke, professor of economics at Memorial University of Newfoundland; John Jacobs, director with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; Monique Collette, president of ACOA; Donne Smith of the New Brunswick Securities Commission; Robert Cook of CNQ Stock Exchange; Ross Finlay of First Angel Network; Michel Boudreau of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour, and Darin Steeves of the Nova Scotia Business Inc.

Other officials expected to attend are Joseph Day representing the Senate of Canada and Andy Scott, MP for Fredericton.

Honorary committee members include Scott McCain, president of Maple Leaf Foods, Donald Savoie, Clément Cormier Chair in Economic Development at the Universit√© de Moncton, and Dr. Robert Campbell, president of Mount Allison University where the conference is being held.

The conference is co-sponsored by ACOA, the New Brunswick’s Enterprise Agencies and Mount Allison’s Centre for Canadian Studies and its Faculty of Social Sciences.