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A Growing Opportunity: Atlantic Bubble to Atlantic Boom

A Public Dialogue: Co-hosted by the Public Policy Forum

In partnership with UNB Shaping the Debate, Public Policy Forum (PPF) hosted “A Growing Opportunity: Atlantic Bubble to Atlantic Boom” on June 14, 2022.

Atlantic Canada is experiencing a moment of growth with population at an all-time high and unemployment continuing to hit historic lows. But there is more to do. The region needs to close the productivity gap by embracing technology and raising up all Atlantic Canadians.

This half-day dialogue addressed important topics around building a sustainable, technological and science enabled economy to help close the gap in living standards and economic growth.

Couldn't attend the event? Watch a portion of the discussion.

Event agenda

12:15 p.m. | Registration
1 – 1:20 p.m. | Opening Remarks and Indigenous Welcome | Dr. David MaGee, VP Research, UNB
1:20 – 1:25 p.m. | Virtual greetings from Minister Ginette Petipas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
1:25 – 1:40 p.m. | Public Policy Forum’s Atlantic Initiative | Ed Greenspon, President & CEO, Public Policy Forum

1:40 – 2:30 p.m. | Fireside Chat: Scaling Up Business in Atlantic Canada — The Secret Sauce

  • Moderator: Dr. Dhirendra Shukla, Chair, J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship, UNB
  • Panelists: Terry Malley, President & CEO, Malley Industries; Mark McAllister, CEO, VeroSource Solutions; Laurel Broten, President & CEO, Nova Scotia Business Inc.
2:30 - 2:50 p.m. | Break
2:50 - 3:30 p.m. | Breakout Roundtables
  • People: How to ensure a growing and productive labour force as a critical component to building an economy that raises living standards for all Atlantic Canadians. Moderator: Adrienne O’Pray, ED, The McKenna Institute, UNB
  • Technology: How to ensure the growing population has the training, skills and adopts the technology critical to keep Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs, businesses, and service providers from being left behind their counterparts. Moderator(s): Dr. Dhirendra Shukla, Chair, J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship
  • Enablers & Dis-enablers: How to foster education and training, understand and adapt to trends including work from home, and optimize the regulatory framework to support a strong knowledge economy; and tackle the threats to growth and prosperity with an eye towards healthcare, housing, transportation and infrastructure as important when understanding the environment for inclusive growth for all Atlantic Canadians. Moderator: Katie Davey, Policy Lead, Public Policy Forum
3:30 - 3:45 p.m. | Closing Plenary
3:45 - 4 p.m. | Lightning Talk—Digital Transformation in the region | Adrienne O’Pray, ED, The McKenna Institute, UNB
4 - 4:30 p.m. | Armchair Discussion—Fueling socio-economic growth through digital adoption
  • Moderator: Ed Greenspon, President & CEO, Public Policy Forum
  • Panelist: Frank McKenna, Benefactor, The McKenna Institute, UNB
4:30 - 5 p.m. | Closing Reception
The agenda is subject to change.

About the Public Policy Forum (PPF)

The Public Policy Forum builds bridges among diverse participants in the policy-making process and gives them a platform to examine issues, offer new perspectives and feed fresh ideas into policy discussions. They believe good policy makes a better Canada. As a national applied think tank with long-standing connections to Atlantic Canada, including the four-year-old Frank McKenna Fund, PPF is well positioned to play a role in identifying and mobilizing levers of change in Eastern Canada.


Edward Greenspon

Edward Greenspon has worked at the intersection of journalism and public policy for more than 30 years. Before becoming President & CEO of the Public Policy Forum, Ed was a journalist with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and newspapers in Western Canada. He is also the author of two books on Canadian politics, policy and public opinion.

At the Globe, Ed specialized in politics, economics, foreign affairs and business while serving as Editor-in-Chief, Ottawa bureau chief, European correspondent and managing editor of the Report on Business. He was an early proponent of digital transformation as founding editor of

At Bloomberg News, he was Editor-at-Large for Canada and global managing editor for energy, environment and commodities, a group situated in 22 countries on six continents.

Ed is the author of Double Vision: The Inside Story of the Liberals in Power, which won the 1996 Douglas Purvis Award for best public policy book, and of Searching for Certainty: Inside the New Canadian Mindset. He was a winner of PPF’s Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism. In 2010, he chaired a 13-person panel for the Canadian International Council that produced a bold international policy strategy called Open Canada: A Global Positioning Strategy for a Networked Age.

Ed holds a combined honours degree in journalism and political science from Carleton University and was a Commonwealth Scholar at the London School of Economics, earning an M.Sc. (Econ.) with distinction.

Adrienne O’Pray

Adrienne brings deep leadership experience and a passion for economic and social development in New Brunswick to her role at the helm of the McKenna Institute.

Over more than 25 years in senior management positions in the public and private sectors, she has served as president and CEO of the New Brunswick Business Council and COO of Atlantic Lottery Corp., among other roles.

Adrienne serves on the Board of Assumption Life and is the Chair of the UNB Faculty of Management Advisory Board. She regularly volunteers to facilitate strategic planning engagements with local community organizations.

Adrienne holds an MBA from the University of New Brunswick and a BSc from Dalhousie University. She has also completed several programs through the Institute of Corporate Directors and Queen’s University’s Executive Education Program.

In 2018, Adrienne was recognized by the Ottawa-based Public Policy Forum with the Frank McKenna Award for Public Policy, presented to distinguished Atlantic Canadians who have built bridges between sectors, contributed to public policy and shown exceptional leadership. UNB’s Faculty of Business Administration has awarded her the Certificate of Achievement.

Katie Davey

Katie Davey joined PPF in March 2020. Recently recognized as a 2021 Young Impact Leader by Future of Good for her role in creating Public Policy Forum’s podcast, Policy Speaking, Katie brings an entrepreneurial spirit to public policy challenges of the day. Building on the success of Policy Speaking, Katie now heads PPF Media as the inaugural editor while maintaining her role as policy lead.

Katie is the creator of Femme Wonk — a policy and current affairs podcast with an Atlantic Canadian and intersectional flare. Katie served as Director of Policy and Stakeholder Relations at the Office of the Official Opposition in New Brunswick, Senior Adviser for Policy and Stakeholder Engagement in the New Brunswick Premier’s Office, and President of the University of New Brunswick Student Union. She was a member of the Youth Working Group on Gender Equality for the Government of Canada, and a 2019-20 Action Canada Fellow. Katie holds a degree in political science from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Applied Politics from Wilfrid Laurier University. Katie advocates for the integration of economic and social policy.

As President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc., Laurel Broten is responsible for providing overall strategic direction for the crown corporation. Working with a private sector led Board of Directors, Laurel is focused on transformative strategies that implement evidence-based decision-making to lead the business development agency for the province.

As a former Bay Street lawyer, Ontario Cabinet Minister, public policy expert and advocate, Laurel has a proven ability to build strategic alliances and partnerships between business, government and communities.

She earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University, followed by a juris doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. Upon graduation, Laurel was selected as a law clerk to Madam Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé at the Supreme Court of Canada.

When she’s not trying to grow the Nova Scotia economy, Laurel enjoys keeping up with her twin boys Zachary and Ryan, and spending time with her husband Paul and their entire family at the cottage.

Matt DeCourcey is a senior leader, community builder, and former Parliamentarian with extensive experience advising decision makers at the local, national, and international level. He currently serves as a Senior Advisor for Strategic Engagement to the President of the University of New Brunswick, and as Senior Fellow with the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy.

As Member of Parliament for Fredericton from 2015 to 2019, Matt secured federal investment to expand critical transport and trade infrastructure, advance preventative healthcare, and significantly increase the population and workforce of New Brunswick. He has experience educating vulnerable children and youth in the global south, and as a diplomat and spokesperson for the Government of Canada in such fora as the United Nations Security Council and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe.

His understanding of the political process, strategic partnership development, and how to shape public policy, has helped him advise international NGO’s, post-secondary leadership, and Canada’s Finance Minister.

Fluent in English and French, Matt is an accomplished athlete, coach and official at the collegiate level, an adjunct professor, and member of Canada’s leading public policy and leadership development Fellowship—Action Canada. He has published on public policy issues including healthy aging, research and innovation, workforce growth and immigration, and child rights.

A proud New Brunswicker, he is eager to work and volunteer with mission-driven organizations that advance socio-economic inclusion and community growth. He enjoys soccer, golf, running, and visiting the occasional craft brewery.

Dr. David MaGee

Dr. David MaGee is the Vice-President of Research at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). He is a native New Brunswicker, and received both his B.Sc. in Chemistry (1982) and his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1987) from UNB.

Dr. MaGee has been active with UNB in a faculty role since 1990, serving in many capacities, including: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor of Chemistry, Chair of the Department of Chemistry, and Dean of Science, in addition to serving on numerous university committees. Dr. MaGee’s research expertise lies in the development of new and/or simpler ways to make biologically-interesting and structurally-challenging natural products, including anti-cancer and anti-microbial compounds.

Terry Malley

Terry Malley was born and raised in Moncton, NB. He holds Masters Degree in Organizational Management from Crandall University, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of New Brunswick and a Masters Certificate in Project Management through York University.

As a family business, Malley Industries Inc. is one of Canada’s premier manufacturers of ambulances, vehicles for persons with disabilities and thermos-formed composite products. Terry became President and CEO in January of 2000.

Terry is very community minded and believes in giving back to the community by volunteering. He has served on the NBCC Board of Governors, the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Canadian Space Agency Board, and is a member of the New Brunswick Business Council among others.

Terry has been recognized numerous times for his contribution to business and entrepreneurship.

In 2014 he was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in manufacturing for the Atlantic Region. He was five times named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business Magazine and in 2010 was inducted into the Atlantic Business CEO Top 50 Hall of Fame. He has been honoured with the Harvey Webber Commemorative Award for contributing to the enhancement of the Chamber of Commerce Movement in the Atlantic Region as well as receiving the Better Business Bureau Award for Business Ethics. He has received the Greater Moncton Excellence Award for Community Service and the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium Award for Outstanding Member Contribution.

Terry is happily married to wife Kathy with two adult children; Myles and Kayla.

Mark McAllister

As co-founder and CEO of VeroSource Solutions, Mark is passionate about leveraging technology to drive digital healthcare transformation. VeroSource built software that empowered more than one million people to manage their health during the pandemic.

Mark has 20+ years of healthcare IT experience and is proud to have grown VeroSource in his home province of New Brunswick, doubling the team in the last year as it expands to additional provinces. Mark has a Bachelor of Computer Science from UNB and is a member of the Wallace McCain Institute.

Frank McKenna

Frank McKenna is one of Canada’s most respected political and business leaders.

He has been an executive with TD Bank Group since 2006 and joined TD Securities in January 2020. As Deputy Chair, he is focused on supporting the continued expansion of TD Securities’ global footprint.

He is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, Queen’s University and the University of New Brunswick Law School. He was awarded a prestigious Lord Beaverbrook Scholarship in Law and has practiced in courtrooms all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada. He achieved widespread acclaim for his successful defence of Canadian boxing legend, Yvon Durelle.

He was elected Premier of New Brunswick in 1987 in a historic victory that left him with all 58 seats in the legislative assembly.

His time as a Premier was marked with widespread acclaim for balanced budgets and unprecedented job creation. He was the only politician in Canadian history to ever be named as Economic Developer of the Year and was inducted into the Canadian Technology Hall of Fame.

He retired ten years ago to the day of his original election, keeping his promise to the people of New Brunswick that he would only serve ten years.

Since leaving public life, he was in widespread demand as a Corporate Director and acted as Counsel to two national law firms. He was named by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to the Security Intelligence Review Committee. He was also inducted into the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame and the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

In 2005 he accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Paul Martin to become Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America.

Upon completing his time as Ambassador, he resumed his corporate career with TD Bank Group, one of North America’s largest banks. He also became the Chairman of Brookfield Asset Management, a global asset manager with $500 billion in assets. Additionally, he became a Director of Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL), Canada’s largest oil and gas producer.

Mr. McKenna has a School of Public Policy named in his honor at St. Thomas University and the Frank McKenna Leadership Centre at St. Francis Xavier University.

His charitable work, particularly in Haiti, was rewarded with the Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year award.

Mr. McKenna is a Queen’s Counsel, Member of the Queen’s Privy Counsel, a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors, a Member of the Order of New Brunswick and a Member of the Order of Canada. He is the recipient of 15 honorary degrees.

He and his wife, Julie have three grown children.

Dhirendra Shukla

Dhirendra is an Professor and the Dr J Herbert Smith ACOA Chair in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. Dhirendra utilizes his expertise from the telecom sector and extensive academic background in the areas of entrepreneurial finance, masters of business administration, and engineering, to promote a bright future for New Brunswick.

Passionate about entrepreneurship, design, engineering, innovation, and leadership, Dhirendra ignites this same passion in others through his teaching at UNB, local entrepreneurial community outreach, and the creation of programs such as the Master of Technology Management and Entrepreneurship, Technology Commercialization Program and Summer Institute.

Recognition of his tireless efforts and vision are demonstrated through UNB’s 2014 award from Startup Canada as “Most Entrepreneurial Post Secondary Institution of the Year”, his nomination as a finalist for Industry Champion by KIRA, and most recently, his nomination as a finalist for Progress Media’s Innovation in Practice award.