Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Ayles, Mr. Arseneault, Mr. Gallant, Mr. Stewart and Ms. MacPherson, thank you for being here.
I do not agree with our colleagues Mr. Tilson and Ms. Rempel. I come from New Brunswick, from a constituency in the north where we have a critical shortage of labour. Unlike what those from urban areas may think, we have areas where the employability rate is 100% and the unemployment rate is 0%. Companies want to expand but they do not have the workforce to do so.
It would be too simplistic to say that, when I was studying at the University of New Brunswick, or wherever, there were no jobs and now, 30 years later, there are still no jobs. That is pretty simplistic. But I do not want to get into the demography of the Atlantic provinces and the whole sociopoliticocultural question that makes that Atlantic demography look the way it does today.
My constituency of Madawaska—Restigouche is the one with the oldest population in Canada. As for jobs, you could bring 500 people into the constituency and they could all be working tomorrow morning. We have to be able to make a connection between jobs, the type of jobs, and the training.
I was fortunate to sit on another committee where we dealt with matters of immigration. We said that we need first to attract immigrants, but once that battle has been won, and we have attracted immigrants to work, we have to keep them. Retention seems to be the biggest problem.
New Brunswick is doing quite well in terms of immigration, but there is still a lot of work to do. We can use the pilot project, but the problem is still retention.
This week, I was holding consultations in a small village of less than 1,000 people. They brought in 14 people from Belgium to work in a factory. They need some training, it is a specialized area. I bring that up because of the retention problem. As I understand it, the immigrants want to meet up as quickly as possible with people close to their culture, their ways and their language. Once they have work, they can get work elsewhere. If we are talking about a Belgian community, for example, they could go to Montreal to settle, because there are more Belgians there and they can all drink beer, and eat mussels and fries together.
As in Prince Edward Island, or wherever, what is the strategy in New Brunswick, for trying to achieve that retention in rural areas? Most of the Atlantic region is rural, as we know.