An editorial in the Telegraph Journal today suggests that Saint John must ‘think smaller’. It refers to a recent letter to Saint John common council from retired business professor Gary Davis that suggests the city reduce its size by 50 per cent – a move that would result in a 10 per cent smaller population and a much greater reduction in the cost of services.
At the same time, the editorial in the Daily Gleaner earlier this week stated:
Sustained advancement and growth ….can do nothing but solidify Fredericton’s stature as lead city in this small province. Fredericton and the institutions must always be developed to play a core role in the future evolution of all points of this province.
Meanwhile, Al Hogan at the Times & Transcript continued to gush over Premier Lord in this week’s editorials – but I digress.
My point is that in Saint John the recommendation is to downsize while in Fredericton, they still live under the delusion/illusion they are the ‘lead city’ in New Brunswick.
What do I want? I want Saint John to re-emerge as a dominant economic force in New Brunswick – maybe the dominant force – the way it was for the first 100 years of this province.
And, I want Fredericton to stop interpreting high paying government and university jobs into some perceived sense of one-up-manship over Moncton. Fredericton should look around and try to find the high paying jobs in that city that aren’t directly funded by government. Fredericton should attempt to foster an entrepreneurial culture eminating out of UNB – exactly what has been done by UdeM in Moncton. In that city, almost all of the brightest young entrepreneurs are UdeM grads. For Fredericton to grow long term, it has to break this culture of government/university domination and grow some real private sector-driven industries- especially if Maritime Union is inevitable (and I think it is unless there is a real change in economic fortune in this province) and the massive, high paying government jobs in Fredericton will dry up and move to Halifax.
Finally, all three southern cities in New Brunswick need to play a larger role in the province’s economic growth. For all Fredericton and Moncton’s huffing and blowing, the provincial population is in decline.
Can’t say that about Ottawa and Toronto in Ontario. The growth in these two cities more than compensates for any decline in northern Ontario.