FREDERICTON (GNB) – The process for finding measures to eliminate the province’s deficit was announced today by Health Minister Victor Boudreau, minister responsible for Strategic Program Review. Boudreau was joined by Michael Horgan, chair of the Strategic Program Review advisory committee.

“If we are going to have the means to invest in job creation and make life more affordable for families, we must first right our fiscal ship,” said Boudreau. “We do not believe that we can do this alone. We must consider all ideas. That is why we will be talking to New Brunswickers, building upon previous efforts and engaging a panel of outside experts to find creative solutions to address our fiscal challenges.”

In Moving New Brunswick Forward, the government committed to undertaking a strategic program review similar to that used to balance the federal budget in the 1990s.

“We will of course rely on our platform, on the great ideas of New Brunswickers and on public servants,” said Boudreau. “But we do not have to start from scratch. We have been able to get a head start on this important work thanks to the efforts of former Finance Minister Blaine Higgs.”

Boudreau said that the work of government would be complemented by ongoing advice from an external advisory committee made up of experts in various relevant fields including Michael Horgan (chair), David Alston, Rachelle Gagnon, and André Leclerc. The role of the advisory committee will be to provide an external set of expertise in the key areas of governance, innovation, human resources and economics.

“I am honoured that these four individuals, with distinct and complementary skills, have agreed to assist us,” said Boudreau. “However, all New Brunswickers should be part of this exercise, and I look forward to taking the time to consult broadly.”

“We are facing a major structural deficit that cannot be fixed without significant changes,” he said. “Tough decisions will need to be made, but this is also an incredible opportunity to make these decisions together. We do not have all of the answers, but collectively New Brunswickers do have the solutions.”

The work of Strategic Program Review will be supported by a secretariat.

The advisory committee is made up of the following individuals:

·         Michael Horgan (chair), a federal public servant for 36 years, he retired in 2014 as deputy minister of finance. Highlights of his career included serving as assistant secretary to the cabinet in the 1990s, responsible for designing the program review process which successfully balanced the budget, and playing a lead role advising the prime minister and federal finance minister in the recent effort to balance the budget by 2015-16. Horgan lived in Moncton for four years when he served as president of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency from 1998-2001and has deep roots in Prince Edward Island.

·         David Alston, an entrepreneur in the information technology field in New Brunswick, has extensive experience in marketing strategy and communications in numerous companies throughout the province. He has been involved in numerous successful start-ups, including Radian6, and his current role as chief innovation officer for IntroHive.

·         Rachelle Gagnon is a member of the senior management team at Assomption Life in charge of human resources and organizational development. She holds a masters of business administration and a bachelor of psychology from Université de Moncton, and a certificate in public administration from the University of New Brunswick. She has taught courses on human resources and organizational development at both universities and at the New Brunswick Community College.

·         André Leclerc is a professor of economics at the Université de Moncton’s Edmundston campus where he holds the research chair in cooperative movements. He holds bachelor degrees from Université de Moncton and Université de Sherbrooke, a master’s degree from Université de Sherbrooke and a doctorate from Laval University. His research focuses on cooperatives, the economy of Acadian New Brunswick and the economics of the financial sector