Office of the Premier / Self-Sufficiency Task Force

Premier announces Self-Sufficiency Task Force (07/01/16)

NB 56

Jan. 16, 2007

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Premier Shawn Graham today announced details of the Self-Sufficiency Task Force.

Co-chaired by Francis McGuire and Gilles Lepage, the task force will assess the economic and fiscal challenges facing the province, convey those challenges to New Brunswickers and seek input from them as to possible courses of action required to bring the province to self-sufficiency by 2026.


"I am pleased and honoured that two such experienced and influential New Brunswickers are guiding this most important work," Graham said. "It is time to chart a new course for New Brunswick and we must do it quickly. I have asked Mr. McGuire and M. Lepage to reach out to New Brunswickers, to talk to them and to listen to them about the options facing New Brunswick. They are to report to me by the middle of April and I have asked that the report provide a list of specific reforms they believe we should implement if we are to achieve self-sufficiency."

The Charter for Change outlines government's vision that New Brunswick join the ranks of the 'have' provinces and become self-sufficient over the course of the next 20 years. The objective of the task force is to determine how to increase New Brunswick's population, employment, productivity, incomes, and economic growth, all keys to attaining self-sufficiency.

"Today, we're issuing a call to action. We need to chart a new course for New Brunswick," McGuire said. "First, however, we must ask ourselves some tough questions. We must be prepared to confront difficult truths, and we must overcome differences of opinion."

"Our aim is to better align our actions with our principles and essential values," Lepage said. "It will take courage and boldness to get there, but I am confident that we are up to the task"

Following today's launch, the task force will release three papers sequentially to generate discussion. The consultative process, which will be undertaken through January and February, will include focus groups and a series of stakeholder meetings. A website is also being launched today. The site will be expanded to contain a 'blog' or 'online forum' on Jan. 26.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Biographical information on the two co-chairs follows. MEDIA CONTACT: Communications, Office of the Premier, 506-453-2144.

Gilles Lepage - Co-chair

Gilles Lepage was President and CEO of the Mouvement des caisses populaires acadiennes from1994 until his retirement in 2004. He began his career with the Mouvement des caisses populaires acadiennes in 1969. Lepage has been actively involved with the economic development of the province. He was appointed to the McKelvey -Lévesque Commission on the cost of health care in New Brunswick , as well as the Maritime Forum of Cabinets.

Lepage is vice-chair of the New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation, a member of the Atlantic branch of the Regional Co-operative Development Centre; vice-chair of the CUMIS Group Ltd., a member of the Board of Blue Cross/Maritime Medical Care, a member of the Board of Literacy New Brunswick, Chairman of the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick and he was appointed a Director of the Bank of Canada in 2005.

He is on the Board of Directors of the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival and the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, a member of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, a member of the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and a member of UNB's NB Futures. He received an honorary doctorate from the Université de Moncton and was named 'One of the 10 Canadians Who Make a Difference' by Macleans magazine in 2003.

A native of Rimouski, Québec, Gilles Lepage has lived in New Brunswick since 1969. He holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Université de Moncton.

Francis McGuire - Co-Chair

Francis McGuire is the President and CEO of Major Drilling Group International Inc. Headquartered in Moncton, N.B., Major Drilling is a $300-million company that provides drilling services to its customers around the world. McGuire serves on the Board of Directors of both Industrial Alliance, Canada's sixth largest insurance company, and Kelman Technology, a Calgary-based seismic technology firm. He also serves on the Growth Works Advisory Board for New Brunswick.

From 1998 to 2000, McGuire was vice-president of Marketing & Business Development of MITI Information Technology Inc. In 1999, MITI was rated by Profit Magazine as Atlantic Canada's fastest growing company. During the two years that he was with the firm, MITI's revenues grew from $45 million to $130 million.

From 1989 to 1998, McGuire served as Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Tourism in New Brunswick under Premier Frank McKenna.

The department had three principal objectives: to diversify the New Brunswick economy through the attraction and creation of new industries (such as information technology, call centres and textiles/plastics); to modernize the Province's traditional industries such as tourism, forestry, minerals; and to encourage small-and medium-sized businesses in both new and traditional sectors.

In this capacity, McGuire also served as the chairperson of the New Brunswick Industrial Development Board. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Research and Productivity Council of the New Brunswick Electric Power Corporation and the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Francis McGuire was born in Halifax, N.S. on Nov. 7, 1951. He holds a Master's degree from the School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Washington, DC, a Diploma in European Politics from the Institut d'études politiques, Paris, France and a B.A. from Dalhousie University. He also completed a Management Training Course at the University of Western Ontario 's School of Business Administration and a Marketing Management Course at Queen's University.