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Premier’s speech to the Economic Club in Toronto (April 2016)

Did you know that New Brunswick has the largest, most sophisticated oil refinery in the country in Saint John?

Did you know that two of the largest exits in Canada in the tech sector in the last five years were right here in New Brunswick with Radian 6 and Q1 Labs?

Did you know that Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John topped KPMG’s rankings of the most cost-competitive cities to do business in Canada?

You may wonder why you’ve never heard these facts before. You may be puzzled after reading those reports and columns that only talk about the challenges New Brunswick is facing. But those articles don’t tell the full story.

We are at times too humble as New Brunswickers. So on behalf of the people of New Brunswick, I’m going to tell you the other side of the story and explain why we are #NBproud.

We are #NBproud of the innovation that is happening in New Brunswick. We have a world class cybersecurity cluster in Fredericton with researchers, academics and businesses like IBM all contributing.

Large scale tech and innovation firms such as Salesforce, BMM Testlabs, Accreon, CGI, and Siemens all have operations in New Brunswick.

Out of more than 3,000 entries, Eigen Innovations, based in New Brunswick, was the only Canadian company to make it as a finalist in Cisco’s Grand Innovation Challenge. Eigen Innovations is a leading innovator in the emerging Internet of Things sector and is poised to modernize the manufacturing process.

New Brunswick businesses such as Sylvar Technologies, BioMatcan, MyCoDev Group and LuminUltra are making global strides in biotechnology.

New Brunswick has the best Internet access in the country by a significant margin over other provinces, with average download speeds of around 27 Mbps according to a new report from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority . Due to our connectivity and bilingual and skilled workforce, we are national leaders in business services.

To support our entrepreneurs and start-ups, we have the Pond-Deshpande Centre which was set up by innovator Gerry Pond and Desh Deshpande, who was co-chair of Barack Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Innovation is part of New Brunswick’s history. For example, NBTel, a pioneer in the telecommunications industry, was the first company to use a fully digital switching network, the first telephone company to provide internet service, the first company to offer all customers voicemail service and the first telephone company in Canada to be given permission from the CRTC to provide television services.

The snowblower was invented in Dalhousie and St. Stephen brought Canada its first chocolate bar. You’re welcome.

We are proud of our universities and what they contribute to our economy. The University of New Brunswick was named the Post-Secondary Institution of the Year at the Startup Canada Awards and was ranked as the most entrepreneurial university in the country as it does a fantastic job of commercializing its research.

St. Thomas University is small but mighty as demonstrated by their innovative partnership with Harvard School of Business.

L’Université de Moncton is the largest French-language university in North America outside of Quebec.

Maclean’s has ranked Mount Allison University the #1 undergraduate university 18 times in the past 25 years. There have been 53 Rhodes Scholars from Mount Allison and 12 of them from the past 14 years; once again this is one of the best records in the country.

We also have significant success in our traditional industries. New Brunswick is the most forestry-based province providing both wood and value-added wood products across the globe. We are the third largest producer of maple syrup in the world, we are home to the lobster capital of the world and we are poised to be the largest wild blueberry producer in the world. McCain’s from Florenceville-Bristol has been serving up New Brunswick potatoes across the globe for over 35 years. Beausoleil Oysters can be found in restaurants from California to London. The salmon you are eating for lunch right now is from the New Brunswick business True North Salmon. It was harvested Tuesday off Grand Manan island in the Bay of Fundy. It was processed in St. George on Wednesday and on a truck Wednesday night to be delivered right here yesterday. Now that’s service. Now that’s fresh.

Saint John – with its infrastructure and deepwater ice free port – is an energy powerhouse that is an important piece of the puzzle to advance Canada’s energy industry through projects like the Energy East pipeline. A project which will create thousands of jobs and transport Canadian oil safely from Alberta to Saint John, New Brunswick.

New Brunswick is a Great Place to Live, Work and Play

Moncton is ranked fourth in the country as the best place to find a job. And from November 2014 to November 2015, New Brunswick saw the second highest wage growth in Canada.

In your free time you can go whale watching in the Bay of Fundy which has the highest tides in the world, fish salmon on the Miramichi or Restigouche rivers, swim in the warmest ocean waters north of Virginia in Shediac, surf on the Petitcodiac River, and hike, ski or snowmobile on our endless trails.

Our industries, business, cities, institutions and landscapes are innovative and world class, but our people are our biggest asset.

New Brunswick is home of the world renowned artist Antonine Maillet. New Brunswicker Willie O’Ree was the first black hockey player in the NHL. Jake Allen from Fredericton currently backstops for the St Louis Blues, Jockey Ron Turcotte from Grand Falls rode Secretariat to a Triple Crown, a year after he won two of the three Triple Crown races aboard Riva Ridge. Hero and ambassador Kevin Vickers calls Miramichi home. Donald Savoie, the country’s leading public administration academic is from Bouctouche. Singer Roch voisine is from a small community in New Brunswick called Saint-Basile. He’s my mom’s favourite.

New Brunswickers are renowned for their friendliness, warmth and hospitality. My family knows this firsthand. In 1952, my grandparents packed up their things in the Netherlands and immigrated to Canada looking for a better life. They arrived in Minto, New Brunswick with virtually no money, without the ability to speak English or French, and with 17 kids.

Thankfully, Oma and Opa chose a country that would not judge them based on where they were from, which language they spoke, or how much money they had. Canadians embraced them while New Brunswickers supported them in their time of need.

So it is no surprise that New Brunswickers have committed to bring in the most Syrian refugees per capita in the country. We have a rich cultural heritage from our Anglophone, Francophone and First Nation communities, along with the contributions of generations of immigrants from all over the world.

For all these reasons, I am #NBproud.

Premier Brian Gallant.

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