A comprehensive review of Newfoundland and Labrador’s economic condition is in its early stages, and its leader says she will have to ask tough questions about the cost of services across the province in order to save her.
“When you’re in a hole, you absolutely have to stop digging,” said Moya Greene, whom Prime Minister Andrew Furey asked to volunteer to chair an economic stimulus team created in September.“We need to keep an eye on affordability. ”
Greene hinted at his strategy for managing the province’s finances Thursday night during a keynote address at a Newfoundland municipalities conference.
Greene, originally from St. John’s, has a tremendous business profile. She supervised both Canada Post and Royal Mail in the UK as CEO.
Greene’s appearance on Thursday night came amid a dramatic drop in interest in NL’s offshore industry.
“How can we diversify the economy so that we don’t depend so much on traditional industries, and not so dependent on oil and gas? She said, comparing the current situation to the collapse of the cod fishery.
Greene suggested that a sense of urgency should guide the development of other industries.
“You can be faster by pivoting [to] a field of economic activity, another field of economic activity, than we have been, ”she said.
“It took us 20 years for Hibernia and the offshore oil industry to develop. And thank goodness we finally got it developed, because we saw the cod stocks decline and it was a critically important area of economic activity. But I wonder, could we have been more nimble? Could we have been faster on this? ”
Health care, ferries under surveillance
Greene’s spending list includes two main sources of spending for the province: health care and shipping.
She hinted at recommending potential reductions of both.
“Part of being effective is helping people understand what something costs, its value,” she said. “Interprovincial ferry services in our country are a critical part of connectivity to keep us together as a nation. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s extremely important for people to know what it costs.
Rural medical centers are also on its radar.
“There is no doubt that this is a pressure on the government, and it is a pressure to know how to best configure the service and how to best ensure that we deliver in the most efficient way”, a- she declared.
Greene said his review will focus on restructuring services and finding new avenues for industries with a likelihood of long-term success. The analysis has yet to begin, but she hinted that her suggestions should bring radical changes to how the province operates today.
“We should never be prisoners of our history, but neither can we ignore it,” she said.
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