New Brunswick is making immigration one of the cornerstones of its policies to help the province become self-sufficient, but it must take the second step and ensure the policy actually works by putting in place a system that truly welcomes newcomers and nurtures them, enabling them to quickly become full and active participants in our economy.
The Special Report in the Times & Transcript yesterday on the experiences of Werner Rosswog and his family provides a case in point. Mr. Rosswog merits tremendous praise for having persevered through years of efforts to change outmoded laws and remove bureaucratic hurdles so he could realize his vision of starting the province's first winery and distillery of alcoholic beverages made from fruit.
His efforts removed roadblocks for others who have followed. Mr. Werner is a prime example of the positive aspects of welcoming immigrants.
We must wonder, however, how many other such immigrants have given up and moved on whether out of frustration with the official roadblocks or from a lack of financial resources to stay the course literally for years. Instead of having a fruit distillery and winery, a popular stop for tourists, interesting new quality products at farmers' markets and a solid family business, the province could have easily ended up with nothing. Mr. Werner's success story has a message the province needs to hear.
Indeed, even today Mr. Werner cites three obstacles in our outmoded liquor system that could, and should, be altered immediately. It is abysmal that after meeting with small cottage wineries last fall, NB Liquor has still not acted on a reasonable request to provide a "New Brunswick Products" shelf in its stores to highlight and promote home-grown products. How hard is it to do? This could have, and should have, been done within a matter of days.
The examples pertain to small wineries and Mr. Werner's experience, but similar hurdles face others seeking to implement their ideas and new businesses. The government needs to create a culture of making things happen and removing obstacles.
For without it, entrepreneurs and immigrants will as often as not give up in frustration and take their skills and vision elsewhere more welcoming.