This week, I’m travelling between Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax, and St. John’s as part of my work with the Atlantic Growth Strategy’s Innovation Subcommittee looking for examples of how the government can better promote innovation as part of its drive to grow the Atlantic region. I serve on this committee with Matt DeCourcey, M.P. for Fredericton; Andy Fillmore, M.P. for Halifax; and Nick Whalen, M.P. for St. John’s East.
We spent the day in Charlottetown yesterday, where I was pleased to show Nick (unfortunately, Andy and Matt had last minute issues arise) around. The day started with a roundtable hosted by the PEI BioAlliance. We had a fantastic discussion around the growth of the industry, and how we can further it. I am grateful for the input of all the actors in the bioscience community. The roundtable was followed by a tour of the National Research Council building at UPEI, where many of these bioscience companies base their operations.
At noon, I had the chance to announce federal support for Delivra, the manufacturers of LivRelief. The $655,000 repayable loan will help Delivra expand their market to include the United States – a major breakthrough for any manufacturer. Following the announcement, Nick and I were pleased to chat with the Hon. Heath MacDonald, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, about the work of the province in furthering innovation and its impact on the economy.
The afternoon was centered on exploring innovation in the food products sector, and included tours and meetings at Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, Holland College’s state-of-the-art research and development wing of the Culinary Institute. Afterwards, we checked out BIO|FOOD|TECH on the UPEI campus, which provides full-service food products testing and certification, and assistance with funding and development. The two institutions work closely together to help develop ideas into products and lead to Island products found around the world.
And what would a visit to Charlottetown be without a visit to one of our newest breweries? An Island success story, Nick and I had the chance to meet with Upstreet Craft Brewing’s management and ownership to discuss their experience in starting a business and scaling up quickly.
The day was jam-packed, but our notes and findings will be sent onward to the Atlantic Growth Strategy Leadership Committee to help lead to new ideas and practices in government to assist in making innovation easier. For now, our roadshow continues. On Monday, we started in Fredericton. Today, I am in Halifax and tomorrow, I’ll be in St. John’s. It is a whirlwind, but it is all a part of our government’s commitment to consult with Canadians on solutions that work. I look forward to reporting back to the Leadership Committee on our findings in the coming weeks.