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Blaine Higgs to present economic recovery plan for New Brunswick to all-party cabinet committee

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs speaks with the media in Fredericton, New Brunswick on Monday February 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Stephen MacGillivray

New Brunswick’s premier says an economic recovery plan in response to the titanic economic shifts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is on its way for the province.

Blaine Higgs made the announcement during the provincial COVID-19 update on Friday.

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The plan, he said, would identify different businesses that could open and different services in municipalities that could begin to operate when the New Brunswick government begins to relax its state of emergency.

He said the plan will be presented to the province’s all-party committee on Wednesday.

The committee is composed of Higgs, Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart, Health Minister Hugh Flemming, Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard, Education Minister Dominic Cardy, New Brunswick Liberal Party Leader Kevin Vickers, Green Party Leader David Coon and People’s Alliance Party of New Brunswick Leader Kris Austin.

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Higgs stressed that municipalities will play an important role in the province’s economic recovery and that he had a call with the leaders of the municipalities on Friday morning.

“In our province, we’re coming up together,” said Higgs.

“We want the municipalities to set priorities and we’ll work with them so we’ll all be doing it harmoniously.”

Last month the New Brunswick legislature passed a budget with a $92.4-million surplus.

Higgs said that three weeks after the budget was passed, the surplus is now “gone.”

“It’s not worth much,” he said. “Things changed so rapidly.”

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Higgs said the province is now in deficit territory and that it is working to see how that will affect New Brunswick going forward.

But he stressed that the province’s top priority will remain protecting New Brunswickers.