Time to get serious

Another sign that prosperity rules in New Brunswick. According to a recent Times & Transcript article:

It’s the make or break year for the UPM Miramichi Mill.

Sharon Pond, UPM Miramichi spokeswoman, said company officials have said that the Miramichi location has to turn things around to show a profit for several months by the end of 2006.”This is certainly the crunch year for us,” Pond said.

“The challenge that we’ve gotten from our head office is that Miramichi has to show a trend this year, a positive trend and that doesn’t mean one month of being in the black.

Pond didn’t reveal how much money the company has to save but did say that it’s “significant.””Internally, we’re just not cost-efficient.”

Now, in my opinion, the union and community needs to get serious about the future of that mill. A few years ago, a union spokesperson said they would shut the mill down before taking a buck an hour pay cut.

I hope that attitude does not prevail this time.

I also hope that the government and the community finally realize that they must do everything in their power to stimulate economic development in some growing sector of the North American economy. I have stated many times that the computer animation sector is adding tens of thousands of new jobs every year globally and the Miramichi community college has a great animation program. Somebody should be calling every large animation studio in North America and figure out what it would take to get 50 or 100 animation jobs in the Miramichi.

This ain’t rocket science folks. One the CBC program, The House, this morning they had a Liberal MP from Newfoundland saying that it is inevitable that many communities in that province will die.

Maybe so

But we owe it to our people, our communities, are shared culture and our shared sense of history to make every attempt to save thos communities. Not through massive government subsidies such as an expanded EI program but through targeted attempts to leverage something, anything, into attracting private business investment. If we can spend a few bucks on infrastructure, training and a few more on marketing and promotion of these communities, I have got to believe there is some hope.

According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, ‘On Death and Dying’, there are five stages that people go through to come to grips with the idea of dying. I would suggest that model holds for our communities and indeed our provinces:

1. Denial – The “No, not me” stage.
2.Anger/Resentment – The “Why me?” stage.
3. Bargaining
4. Depression- The “It’s really happened” stage.
5. Acceptance

Now I think we know where Premier Lord is on this continuum. Maybe its good that he is still on the first stage. Out of Newfoundland, we are seeing a lot more 2,3,4 and even 5 (the MP from this morning).

I guess I am in denial as well.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Time to get serious

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting how we hear lots about the Mill owner’s needs and our need to acquience by whatever means possible. And yet there has never been a word said about the investigation into this companies ‘cartel’ activity. In fact, when have you EVER heard the word ‘cartel’ in the province? Even though five large companies have access to most of the crown land, and on any level its clear that a cartel not exists but flourishes here (against international-and national law)

    Not only that, but only one report ever made the completely sensible argument that companies that close down mills or cut back on staff should not be allowed access to cutting on crown land. Making more crown land available to natives and small woodlot owners would create tons of jobs, rather than the rape of the land being promised to the ‘big five’.

    Pulp is literally worth pennies, it costs more for the chemicals to treat it, yet we see NO impetus towards value added products. It’s all taken for granted that Irving needs massive pulp to make Majesta products and sell them in Ontario, meanwhile forestry workers keep getting the pink slip.

    Anybody who has ever been involved in union negotiations knows full well that companies like UPM are ALWAYS making threats. The simple reality is that if they didn’t make money, they wouldn’t be here. They are from Norway and have no love for the province and ‘good will’ doesn’t enter into it. Personally, I”d be happy if every single large corporation left the forests-so WE could use them sensibly and get the government out of their pockets.

    Computer animation isn’t going to help a mill worker, how about at least giving them an opportunity-like as a small woodlot ‘lease’ on crown land, or increased training and marketing in value finished wood products. Go to Ebay and check out how much musical instruments sell for and how successful the SNB co-op is.

    This industry, unfortunately, is the perfect reply to why we DON”T want big corporations investing here. Certainly not every industry abuses the land and the political system like they do, but the willingness to blindly accede to their whims makes one think carefully before welcoming the wolves in the door.