A word on downtown development in Moncton

If you read the ‘Sleuth’ today in the Times & Transcript, you would have read of ‘big new plans’ for downtown. However, they all depend on Premier Lord and his legacy. The new justice centre, apparently, is critical to the development.

Well, if history is any judge (read: Gunningsville Bridge), they could be in for a long wait.

Is it just me or does it seem to you that whenever government money is involved things take ten times longer to get done.

Maybe one of the signs that Moncton has become a ‘real’ city would be when it could get a few deals done without waiting for years for the political climate in Fredericton to be right.

Here’s a thought. Build your hotels, office buildings, convention centre, et. al. Leave a hole for the Justice Centre. When, and if, Fredericton gets around to approving the funding for it, it will get done.

But Moncton’s downtown development would get done without worrying about a Premier’s legacy.

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0 Responses to A word on downtown development in Moncton

  1. scott says:

    Are you anti-statist? Because you just made a clear-cut case for limited government.

    In my opinion, this is what has limited the growth of New Brunswick over the last three decades. Big government.

    New Brunswick has placed way too much emphasis on government not only as a means of solving social problems, but as being the preferred means of attaining a higher level of social satus. In other words, it really doesn’t matter how smart, entrepreneurial and accomplished you are, but who you know in Fredericton and Ottawa and whether you qualify as a potential beneficiary of a government grant, assistance or help.

    That was evident this week in both Nova Scotia (RIM-Research In Motion ) and Ontario (DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc). The government was in the business of picking winners and losers. Something that i am definitely not a fan of.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an answer to BOTH the above-Moncton, build your own damn justice building! If you want to separate the new church (corporations) from the state, you might as well pack up and move now, you think Irving got as far as he did by running gas stations? He made his fortune with government money and government land cutting plywoods and veneers for british warplanes. We DO have limited government-it’s pretty much limited to handing out goodies to corporations (just ask any environmentalist, health care worker or person on welfare)

  3. David Campbell says:

    Am I anti-statist? That’s a good question. I went to a university where the whole economics department was anti-statist. I studied Hayek, Von Mises, Bastiat, Shumpeter, et. al. I think on a philosophical level, I believe that the government should be limited to things that can be defined as public goods (i.e. things needed in society but where there is no effective market mechanism to provide them without creating significant externalities). An obvious example would be national defence. However, in the real world, nobody plays by those rules. Alberta, which some would say is Canada’s bastion of free market ideology is the biggest subsidizer of industry (namely agriculture). The U.S., which claims to be the most ‘open’ economy in the world is also the biggest user of corporate incentives to lure industry (broadly defined including tax breaks). So, if all the competition is spending billions to, in your words, pick ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ and we decide to take the high road, where does that leave us? If Ontario didn’t give Toyota $100 million and they went to Alabama that province could have claimed some form of moral superiority but would be out 3,000 jobs (direct/indirect) and a billion dollars in private sector investment.

    So, I have turfed my original ideology in favour of pragmatism. If we want to create the so-called ‘just’ society where government pays for health care, education, roads, garbage removal and all the rest, I think we have an obligation to ensure that the economic foundation underpinning this welfare state is secure. In New Brunswick, and Atlantic Canada, it is not and it is getting worse. In the past six years, we have become more dependent on Equalization and Federal transfers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

    So, back to my central premise. We need to attract new industries to New Brunswick to replace the ones that we are losing. And we need to do this at an accelerated pace because of the massive rise in provincial government spending (up a whopping 40% since the Conservatives took over in 1999).

    Or, we take some moral high ground and face two options:

    1) The current model featuring massive increases in government spending on a declining population base leading to more dependency and ultimately serious implications for our society when the next major recession hits; or

    2) We slash and burn. Out with EI. Down with Equalization. Forced migration outward to Alberta. Centralized health care and education in one or two cities. This also would lead to serious upheaval and threaten our future existence as a province.

    I, for one, have parked my ideology and am for massive change to our economic base.

    Alberta’s prosperity is based on its natural resources.

    British Columbia’s prosperity has been built on a variety of things not the least has been the massive Asian investment into that province. There are close to a million Chinese immigrants now in BC – and several of them are billionaires.

    Ontario’s prosperity has been based on at least three things: being the services hub for all of Canada (financial, etc.); the government hub for all of Canada; and the direct stimulation of several huge industries – led by the auto sector.

    What is New Brunswick’s prosperity going to be based on?