On gimmicks and economic development

According to media reports, Business New Brunswick Minister Peter Mesheau will be travelling to San Francisco to hold a repatriation session at a San Francisco pub with a group of Canadian ex-patriates belonging to a group called the Digital Moose Lounge.

I am all for the Minister travelling abroad – it should be a main requirement of his job – but I think he would b better served meeting companies out there and trying to convince them to set up a studio in New Brunswick. Trying to convince IT workers making six figure salaries in Silicon Valley to come back to New Brunswick is fine – but to what? I personally know several people that have moved back to the Maritimes from California – but in all cases it was to take a similar job with similar wages (adjusted somewhat for cost of living).

Anybody that follows these things closely will know that the high tech industry in New Brunswick has been all but hammered in the past five years. Many of the brightest companies such as e-Com, BKM, CyberDesign, JOT, etc. have gone by the wayside. There are a few bright lights, however. But I still think the emphasis must be on attracting investment into the IT sector – either through greenfield operations (new businesses moving here) or investment into our local IT firms.

So, good luck to Minister Mesheau.

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0 Responses to On gimmicks and economic development

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the great link! I checked it out though, and the group seems mainly Ontarians and BC’ers. There’s even a big ad for the University of Waterloo, so like you say, the idea of leaving a massive metropolis like San Fransisco, to NB doesn’t seem real plausible. Nothing against cities in NB, I personally prefer them to larger cities, but Saint John ain’t no San Fran! If people are moving home I’m assuming it’s because of downsizing out there, or else family back home (personally I also find the political climate down there somewhat frightening, more on that in a minute).

    However, is it possible that (hopefully) the Minister is also looking for investments. I mean, these people would have investment funds and disposable income, what better way to promote canadian identity than buying shares in an NB company. I don’t KNOW that that’s what he’s doing, it would be interesting to find out-it seems a pretty self evident plan to me. “Ok, you won’t move home, what about INVESTING in home?”

    THey also talk about how many influential and wealthy canadians are in the showbiz industry, are any of these people targetted to invest in entertainment in Canada? I know people like Norman Jewison is, but mostly for Quebec and Ontario. Yet one connection could be all it takes, I know tons of people trying to work on independant films, documentaries, TV pilots, but only have access sometimes to a few meagre funds. More important would be the connections, I mean, how hard is it now to shoot a reality show? There have now been feature films shot only on digital hand cameras, so production is literally in anyone’s grasp-with the right connections or tenacity.

    On that other point, I know of six cottages sold in one particular area sold to americans who told me (confidentially of course) that one of their main motivations was the political climate in the US and the fact that they had kids of ‘draft’ age. You would think that’s a ready market, after all, these people have money, sort of like another loyalist movement from the northern states like in the 1700’s, but without burning out the french.

  2. David Campbell says:

    Super point. I personally know a guy who went to California in the mid-1990s to work for a firm that went public and he cashed his options. He moved back to Halifax and invested in several small start ups. The Minister should encourage this type of investment in NB.

    On the entertainment/media idea, I also like this as it raises visibility and provides jobs and economic activity.