Sometimes reaching out to grab an opportunity pays off.

We hope that’s the case for Kelly Lamrock, New Brunswick’s education minister, who is in China this week to strengthen educational ties between New Brunswick and the distant land.

Lamrock is head of a delegation that includes representatives of New Brunswick’s universities. Their immediate objective: to recruit graduates from four private schools where children of wealthy families learn the English language. The schools have used New Brunswick’s education curriculum and employed teachers from the province for over a decade.

Lamrock says he was annoyed when he learned universities from Alberta were in China recruiting top students from these schools.

“They are very large schools,” he said. “They also tend to attract the very best Chinese students.”

Recruiting students from China to our universities means there could eventually be more immigrants to the province. That will serve New Brunswick well since our population numbers are on the decline.

The government trip to China was planned previously by the Tory government of Bernard Lord before the election. Following through with the plan was a good decision.

While in China, Lamrock will also attend the opening of the new Canadian International School of Beijing, a good public relations move for the education minister and for New Brunswick.

The ever-ambitious and ever-proactive Lamrock will also have his eye on business opportunities for the province while on his mission to China.

It is obvious the new Liberal government is serious about increasing immigration and economic development for the sake of New Brunswick. It is also notable that the government officials are not beyond crossing traditional ministerial boundaries to accomplish their goals. While Lamrock is in China, Greg Byrne, the minister of Business New Brunswick, is in India on a mission of his own but one also pre-planned by the former government.

On the education front, Charles Cirtwill, acting president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, says with current demographic trends in Canada it is clear fewer Canadian students will be available as a market for post-secondary institutions.

“The focus on attracting international students will have to be expanded if the institutions are to continue to exist at their current sizes,” Cirtwill said.

We accept the fact that often you have to spend money to make money and these international ventures by our elected officials have potential long-term benefits for New Brunswick.

We do caution, however, that for the peace of mind of the N.B. taxpayer the government must avoid unnecessary extravagance in its travels and as it determines how to achieve its objectives.