A giant within our midst

It never ceases to amaze me what it takes to achieve ‘fame’ in the modern times. No doubt every New Brunswicker knows who Casey LeBlanc but how many know the name Donald Savoie?

Without minimizing the accomplishment of Ms. LeBlanc, most people with sound mind would agree that here efforts pale in comparison to the work of Donald Savoie. U de M professor Savoie is one of the most influential writers and thinkers on regional development and democratic government models in the world. He has advised Prime Ministers and has receive accolades the world over. He has over 30 books to his credit.

Now, professor Savoie has been given a high honour in Britain. He has accepted a fellowship at the ultra-prestigious All Souls College at Oxford University in England. According to the Times & Transcript article this weekend, All Souls “…is certainly the oldest and likely the most famous and respected ‘think tank’ in the world.” The T&T further states, Savoie’s books and academic papers on economic reform and decentralized public administration are being closely studied by British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s reformist government initiatives.

So, with this in mind, we should all keep an eye out for Savoie’s upcoming book called Visiting Grandchildren: Economic Development in the Maritime Provinces, due out early in 2006. I understand it will be a powerful analysis of trends and Savoie’s recommendations for successful economic development in the region going forward.

If Tony Blair is listening, maybe so should we.

As for Casey, I hope her career takes off and we get to hear her wailing on the local radio station. But for something a little more important (no disrespect intended), we may want to hear what Savoie is saying or we may not be incubating the likes of Casey LeBlanc any more as her family (generically speaking) will have moved to Fort McMurray.

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0 Responses to A giant within our midst

  1. vivenewbrunswick says:

    I quite agree about Savoie’s writings, they are usually very well researched. There are other economists and historians in NB who are, unfortunately, similarly ignored.

    Savoie’s article in the UPT on economic development during the McKenna years was excellent, although he omitted one central feature: namely NB Works which was completely funded by the federal government. So the ‘self reliant’ attitude was PR for large measure.

    The problem is to listen to only ONE part of Savoie and disregard the rest, which is a great injustice to a thinker, and an emphasis on stopping or reducing equalization (which would put NB into third world status) when it should be expanded. When Paul Martin sits on billions in EI overpayments, budget surpluses, and yet more corporate tax cuts, (not to mention ad money going into Quebec, and the percentage of it that flowed back into the liberal party)there is no point in pretending that the problems aren’t political. It’s like getting robbed by the sheriff each week and then complaining about how your older brother cheats you out of pennies.

    As usual, Canada’s form of government is what screws over the regions, just as it has every time a surplus comes along. However, don’t take my word for it, here’s Savoie:

    The solution, or at least the beginning, is for Atlantic Canada to ally itself with the west in advocating Senate reform so as to make the upper chamber an effective voice of provincial interests within the structure of the national government – just as the American Senate, an elective body with two seats for each state, is. This is a long-term proposition, but it does get at the roots of the central Canadian dominance which has marginalized the east for generations. The question is whether Senate reform, which has been discussed almost since the beginning of the federation, is politically possible.

  2. vivenewbrunswick says:

    To fix a mistake made earlier, I was wrong about the Honda rumours being referred to. Honda is thinking, however, check out this weekends London Free Press. London is looking like the opportune location, notice that claim that “Windsor has been prone to unionism” so it’s out.

    In the Toronto Star was an article about how it was the Prime Minister himself who sold Toyota on Ontario. Now when your Prime Minister is acting as a huckster for southern ontario, you really do have to think about throwing up your hands on the auto sector. The article also states that southern ontario is filling up with plants, so perhaps they’ll be spillover-but whether it will head to Canada’s poorest province is a question.

    However, in some good news it’s been reported that Irving is thinking about getting into plastics manufacturing once the oil starts coming in. Hopefully they won’t be as cheap with their employment there as they are with their LNG terminal.