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March 6, 2015
For immediate release

Premier announces Board of Economic Advisors, upcoming Economic Forum

Premier's Office

Premier and Finance and Energy Minister Wade MacLauchlan today announced two initiatives to engage Islanders on the state of the province’s economy and to help set a new strategic path of economic growth for Prince Edward Island.

Three leading economists, with deep ties to Prince Edward Island, have agreed to serve on a new Board of Economic Advisors.

The board members are:

• Tim O’Neill, of Cape Traverse, former Chief Economist and Executive Vice President for BMO;

• Elizabeth Beale, president and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council; and

• Michael Horgan, former federal deputy minister of finance.

O’Neill, who moved back to Prince Edward Island in 2005, will serve as chair of the board.

“These individuals bring extensive expertise in the private and public sectors, as well as a strong understanding of, and affinity to, our province, and will provide valuable advice on economic factors such as population growth and export growth,” said the Premier. “This work will assist Prince Edward Island in understanding our economy and enhance our ability to be strategic.”

The board will provide seasoned advice and analysis to the Premier and government on economic trends and policy. This will enable Prince Edward Island to build on the successful work currently being done in all sectors of the economy by local enterprises.

“I look forward to working with my home province on facing our economic challenges and seizing the opportunities before us,” said O’Neill. “Elizabeth and Michael are two of the most experienced and insightful economists in Canada.”

As part of its mandate the board will engage with Islanders and provide advice to the Premier, which will be openly shared with the public.

The board will meet three times yearly, including opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the Island economy in a national and international context. The Premier will host an economic forum on March 16, with a focus on a provincial economic overview and consideration of Prince Edward Island’s successes as a trading province and ways that Islanders can work together to seize opportunities.

“We will continue to meet and engage with all Islanders on how to grow our economy and build on the successes we’ve seen throughout our business community, in areas such as food exports, manufacturing, small businesses and the service sector,” said the Premier.

The forum will be an opportunity for the public and business community to hear directly from the Premier on the province’s fiscal position, including areas of success and challenges. Representatives from the Department of Finance and Energy will present on the province’s trade and export sector, including trend lines and recent achievements.

The audience will hear from Island entrepreneurs who will talk about their experiences launching and developing businesses on Prince Edward Island. Following the presentations there will be an opportunity for a question-and-answer session.


Dr. Tim O’Neill

Tim O’Neill returned to Prince Edward Island in 2005, after serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Economist of BMO from 1994-2005.

He is the founder and president of O’Neill Strategic Economics and recently served as the Visiting Professor in The Fuqua Business School at Duke University. He was appointed the first H. Ian MacDonald Visiting Economist with the Ontario Ministry of Finance from 2005-2007

A past president of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, O’Neill authored the Report on the University System in Nova Scotia, prepared for former Premier Dexter.

O’Neill has taught in the Economics Department of the University of Prince Edward Island. He also served as Chair of the Global Associates, an advisory group to the UPEI School of Business, from 2007 to 2011.

Elizabeth Beale

Elizabeth Beale is President and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC), a position she has held since 1996. Her policy and research interests cover a wide range of topics related to the economy of Atlantic Canada, including energy, labour market and innovation strategies.

Beale is familiar with the economic challenges that Prince Edward Island faces through her work with APEC. She has also served as a Director of the Three Oaks Foundation at the University of Prince Edward Island.

This group manages the transfer of knowledge and innovation to commercial development or public use for the economic and social benefit of the University, its researchers, and the people of Prince Edward Island.

Beale has authored numerous studies on public policy topics and is a frequent media commentator. She was a lecturer in Journalism at University of King’s College from 1981-1991 and a Governor of Dalhousie from 2000-2010. She resides in Halifax.

Michael Horgan

Michael Horgan has strong ties to the province as his parents were both Prince Edward Islanders.

His father was a native of Stanhope and his mother was from Charlottetown. Michael had an extensive career with the federal government, most recently serving as federal Deputy Minister of Finance from 2009-2014.

Horgan entered the federal public service in 1978 as an energy economist in the Department of Finance, going on to serve as Deputy Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and as Deputy Minister of Environment Canada. He also served for three years as President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Media Contact: Mary Moszynski
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