Donald Savoie on RIM: redux

I can’t believe that Al Hogan actually printed this one but he did…

Times & Transcript
December 14, 2005
N.B. should have made pitch for N.S. Blackberry jobs: economist

There is no excuse why New Brunswick did not make a serious pitch to land Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion’s 1,200-job facility that ended up in Halifax, according to an expert on regional economic development.Donald Savoie, a professor at l’Université de Moncton, said he was deeply disappointed when he heard New Brunswick was not even on RIM’s radar when the technology giant, famous for its Blackberry handheld devices, went looking to locate a new technical support centre. Atlantic Canadians should revel in Halifax’s gain Savoie said, but New Brunswickers have every right to question the provincial government on why it wasn’t at the table trying to attract RIM.”I can tell you this with absolute certainty, Frank McKenna would have been there,” Savioe said. “Of course they (the New Brunswick government) should have been there. As a Maritimer we should be delighted it is going to Halifax. As a New Brunswicker it is a legitimate question to ask where was New Brunswick, was it asleep at the switch.

“Creating jobs isn’t done by sitting in Fredericton, Savoie said as he referred to McKenna’s reputation for pounding on Bay Street doors trying to bring new companies to New Brunswick.”Unless you pursue these with some chance of a success all this talk about an immigration policy are just vapid words, it means nothing. New Canadians will not come to New Brunswick if there is nothing for them to do here.”

Business New Brunswick Minister Peter Mesheau defended the fact New Brunswick was not a player in drawing RIM, saying the size of the proposed facility was likely too big for one provincial centre.”When you are talking 1,250 jobs, I would say they would be looking at least a metropolitan area of at least in excess of a quarter million people,” Mesheau said.”You are not going to fit everyone’s requirements. Sometimes what we have been able to do, some of the companies in New Brunswick, they will have different size operations around the province.”

Lord said McKenna’s Liberals saddled the province with too many bad debts because they jumped too quickly.

The UdeM professor said he worries the provincial government has grown lethargic in attempting to out hustle other provinces for jobs. Savoie said a former Nova Scotia premier once said his biggest problem in expanding the economy was McKenna because the New Brunswick premier always beat him to large corporations interested in creating jobs.

My Comments:

This excuse that the RIM project was ‘too big’ for New Brunswick is the ultimate cop-out. They are ramping up those jobs over five years – only 300 in year one. If Moncton or Saint John can’t handle 300 jobs – then we have a serious problem. Secondly, as has been proven with OAO, Speilo and a host of other IT companies, good paying IT jobs can bring in workers from across Canada. This would have been an outstanding project to repatriate some of the thousands of New Brunswickers that have left the province in the past few years.

But all that’s moot. The province has freely admitted they were never even in the hunt for RIM. And Savoie is right. McKenna would have been right in there fighting away.

Our guy would rather spend his time polishing up his national image and we are paying the price.

Kudos to Savoie for ‘speaking the truth to power’ and (I’m reaching for the Peptobismal as I write this) to Al Hogan for actually allowing this article to be published. It’s way out of character for him.

Maybe he’s on vacation.

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0 Responses to Donald Savoie on RIM: redux

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey dude, WEVE been talking about this for ages, maybe your blog has been seen by even more people than you thought! Perhaps its time for you to write more letters to the editor, maybe some of them will slip in.

    The idea that NB can’t go after big places because they need large populations is hilarious and shows just how retarded our provincial ‘leaders’ actually are. In a small province the people calling the shots are so important, and its so easy to go horribly wrong-and Lord is a perfect example, with of course his minions.

    Part of the problem is that with some of these companies NB politicians are WAY out of their league. You’ve got guys like Jody Carr who have never done anything in their life but politics. Economic development is not simply something you learn from reading The Globe and Mail.

    Also, as an international company if that were true about hiring requirements and population numbers they would have gone to Montreal, or simply expanded further in the golden triangle area where there are plenty of people.

    No doubt they are spreading it around because its becoming obvious just how much the feds are doing for them, its unfortunate something similar doesn’t happen with automakers.

    THe real unfortunate piece of news is that Shawn Graham doesn’t appear to be any brighter than Lord is. His only benefit is that he’s a liberal and IF there’s a liberal federal government they’re usually nicer to their friends. It’ll be just NB’s luck to once again have the reverse party in power to the one in Ottawa.

  2. David Campbell says:

    I tried to write letters to the editor – they rarely got in. That’s why I turned to a more lenient editor – myself. My hosting guy tells me that there are somthing like 1,000 visitors to this blog in any given month. Not exactly Warren Kinsella but I think there are a few likeminded folks around.

  3. scott says:

    I am not able to delve into the details on this one, but the consulting firm [which will remain unnamed] which I worked for in Ottawa last year and the year before that was responsible for much of the legwork which went into the creation of a brand for the NS provincial government, particularly Business NS. To set the ball rolling, the NS government decided to pick the brain of many of the top business minds in Toronto. I was responsible for recruiting the roundtable of business execs for the focus group.(let’s just say many of them you would see on TV or in the business section of the major national newspapers in Canada) The strategy was simple for Business NS, what direction do we want to go? Where should we be making our pitch and to whom? This was all hashed out within a weekend in TO(friday, saturday). But it started with a commitment from the NS government to strive for a healthier business environment. The bottom line is that they committed themselves to excellence. I suspect that this is primary reason why they were able to attrack a blue chip company like RIM. just sayin’

  4. David Campbell says:

    Nova Scotia Business seems to be on the ball and starting by talking to folks in Toronto was probably very strategic. As I have pointed out many times in this blog, Nova Scotia has kicked the hoo hoo out of New Brunswick for job creation since 1999 (about double the growth last time I checked). They could still do better. It’ll take 10 more RIM like projects to pull them strongly into population growth mode as opposed to stagnation or decline but you’ve got to like their chances. Cape Breton is back into coal + they have landed several very good investment projects – most recently a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Halifax is kicking a little ‘arse’ with RIM and a few other good projects. NB? Well there was Molson and its 50 jobs. And an Indian firm will hire 250 of the 400 workers that were employed in Nackawic. I guess that’s better than nothing.