Smoke & mirror do not make big fire

This is an old adage that seems to be more and more relevant in New Brunswick these days. When you look at our ‘IT’ industry, most people with any kind of objectivity would admit that it is really hurting. Many if not most of the top IT companies from the late 1990s (including BKM, e-Com, JOT, etc.) have gone out of business and yet the politicians continue to perpetrate the myth that things are booming. Consider this canned, PR quote attributed to the Premier recently:

“VE Networks Inc. is yet another example of how New Brunswick companies are leading the way in exporting to foreign markets,” says New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord, when asked to comment, “We have grown to be the number one province in Atlantic Canada for exports and number five in Canada, a testament to the quality of products and services that New Brunswick has to offer.”
Envoy Magazine Spring 2005

Now, the Premier knows as well as I do that our export growth has been based on oil coming out of the Irving Refinery and not because of ‘VE Networks Inc.’. In fact, take out the refinery and we have among the worst performance for export growthin Canada. Is that a “testament to the quality of products and services that New Brunswick has to offer.”

Why don’t we just tell the truth? Why is it always about spin? Don’t politicians realize that even the average New Brunswicker realizes this?

So for ten minutes, I’ll take a job as a PR person for the Premier (I wouldn’t last five but indulge me). I have rewritten the Premier’s comments for Envoy magazine.

“VE Networks Inc. is another example of an underfunded, precarious IT firm and we hope (cross our fingers!) that they will last at least a few years,” says New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord, when asked to comment, “We have seen many of our top IT firms go under in the past few years and this is causing me grave concern. I have convened a group of top IT companies and stakeholder to try and address this. I for one don’t want to be totally dependent on resources-based exports for New Brunswick’s future.”

You will never see this in a million years. Not for IT. Not for forestry. Not for any sector. Politicians are not geared these days to talk bluntly and openly about challenges.

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