October 26, 2017
Innovation is something we hear a lot about in Atlantic Canada. At its most basic, innovation is about doing things differently to make things better in ways that benefit everyone: better jobs, better opportunities, better health, better living standards and a better future. Innovation can take on many meanings.
Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to see innovation in action throughout southwestern New Brunswick. It started at Fundy National Park where I participated in the release of 1,000 wild salmon into the Upper Salmon River. These wild salmon, raised by Cooke Aquaculture and the Atlantic Fish Farmers Association at the World’s First Wild Atlantic Salmon Marine Conservation Farm on Grand Manan. That’s right, the first. What a great example of innovation and collaboration between federal and provincial governments, private industry, and Indigenous communities, raising salmon in new ways to lead to the sustainability of one of our most important resources.
When I was elected as the Member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest, I found science-based decision making was under pressure. This was particularly evident at the St. Andrews Biological Station where the books had been destroyed, and the library closed. When I reflect on what has happened over the last two years, one of the things that stands out for me, is that our government has kept its promise to restore science to its rightful place. Science leads to innovation.
Last September, our government made a significant investment in the Huntsman Marine Science Centre to increase the salt water supply, helping create the opportunity for additional research projects and an additional nine jobs. Atlantic Canadians should be celebrated for innovations like this.
It has been remarkable to see the results of these investments, not only at Huntsman, but in the community and region as well. As we see more scientists, technologists and their families making this place their home, and introducing new ideas to the region.
Huntsman is the only independent marine research and education centre on either the New Brunswick or Nova Scotia shore of the Bay of Fundy. With close proximity and excellent working relationships with the St. Andrews Biological Station, this facility is strongly positioned for significant research projects in the future.
Finally, on Saturday morning, I ventured to Christie Farms in Lynnfield, a supplier for Agropur Diary Cooperative, located in another corner of New Brunswick Southwest in Roachville.
While there, I was introduced to robotic technologies that help improve the efficiency of feeding and milking the cattle. These technologies help Christie Farms be more productive, competitive, and ready for expansion.
My colleagues from across Atlantic Canada have similar examples to share where innovation is leading to job creation. Our government’s support for innovation will help drive productivity, competitiveness and economic growth.
We must continue to focus on encouraging small and medium-sized businesses to innovate, pursue commercialization and spur value-added opportunities. We are seeing this at work in our established industries including fisheries, forestry and agriculture. Businesses that innovate tend to export more, attract more investment, be more productive and pay higher wages.
Through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, our government is supporting regional innovation ecosystems and industry clusters which will help more businesses grow by developing, adopting and commercializing new technologies.
I am proud of the talented and energetic people that work at the research facilities and companies in New Brunswick Southwest and to share the stories of our local innovations.