Frank McKenna did not pull any punches when he addressed business leaders in Saint John as keynote speaker for APEC's Outlook conference.
"Make no mistake about it, our destiny is looking increasingly desperate," he warned the audience. "A tsunami is coming and the early waves are starting to hit our shore. It is not hyperbole to say that we are literally facing an extinction event if we do not take action."
Sinking under the weight of slow growth and declining population, he said staying afloat only by alarming levels of government debt is clearly not sustainable.
But the deputy chair with TD Bank Group, insisted the situation was not hopeless. With the recent election of a federal liberal government, there has never been a more perfect alignment of political forces in Atlantic Canada with the Government in Ottawa.
``This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get it right. Shame on us if we blow it,`` he said.
The full text of Mr. McKenna`s speech, detailing four very precise and transformational interventions for the economy, is now available.