TJ affirms they don’t get it

In today’s Telegraph-Journal editorial:

Tapping N.B.’s new culture of opportunity

the writer correctly identifies what I believe is the top issue for this province: What is the Conservative plan for economic development?

However, they go on to make their wish list known:

New Brunswickers want commitments on infrastructure, such as improved highway connections to the U.S. and more secure ports, that will help businesses reach foreign markets.

They want greater commitment to higher education, which is transforming the Atlantic economy.

They want changes in taxation to encourage research and development and the creation of new businesses.

They want a change in the mandate and practices of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

They want policies that encourage responsible investment and reward success.

No, Mr. TJ, they don’t want any of these things. What New Brunswickers want (or should want) is communities that are growing not declining. Communities where kids can stay home and build their careers. Communities where people are moving in not out.

Why on earth wouldn’t the TJ state, as Alec Bruce, that we want to attract global companies here? Why on earth would they roll out the same old tired ideas about the ‘creation of new business’ or research and development. These are the exact same buzz words we here from the provincial Tories and the province has the second worst rate of ‘creating new business’ and is dead last in R&D.

You want R&D? Go get it.

You want new business? Go attract it here.

You want to invest more in education? You better have the jobs here for the graduates or they will go down the road and you will continue to be the labour market incubator for Ontario and Alberta.


We can do this but we take two steps back every time some politician or community leader reads another editorial about creating small business.

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0 Responses to TJ affirms they don’t get it

  1. David Campbell says:

    Alright, I’ll throw down the gauntlet. I would like the Telegraph Journal, the Times & Transcript and the Premier to provide me with a list of provinces, states or countries that took their economy from a remedial state to a thriving and growing state by stimulating ‘new startup businesses’ or local research and development. I’ll shut this blog down tomorrow if they can show me a handful of regions that did this.

    Ireland? Nope. Led the world in foreign investment for almost 15 straight years. Alberta? Nope. Natural resources, baby. British Columbia? Hardly. How about billions in Asian investment (from Hong Kong) not to mention the billions in foreign money into film production. How about Georgia? Nope. The governor’s strategy is all about attracting new multinationals and growing the ones already in the state. How about Illinois? Nope. The governor there has among the most aggressive investment attraction programs in the US. How about Alabama? Nope. How about closer to home – Cape Breton? Nope. They have been aggressively trying to attract businesses for a number of years and have had some success.

    Maybe the enlightened experts can find a location. Remember, it has to be an economy like New Brunswick that has declining industries, low rates of education and decaying infrastructure.

    Please post, thanks.

  2. David Jonah says:

    As Dalton Camp used to say, “as I read in my morning paper” Canada is also lagging in growth.

    Here’s an excerpt of a longer article in today’s National Post

    Canada to trail global growth
    by Eric Beauchesne, CanWest News Service
    Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2006
    OTTAWA – The growth in the Canadian economy will lag that of the U.S. and global economies, according to a survey of expectations of international investment managers released Monday.

    However, the expected three per cent growth here will be only marginally slower than the 3.1 per cent predicted for the overall global economy and just half a point shy of the 3.5 per cent expected for the U.S., the analysis of the results of the fourth-quarter survey said.

    Growth here( Canada) will also easily outpace the 1.9 per cent they expect for continental Europe and the 2.1 they see for Britain.

    These are important points, and one has to ask if they are being raised in the current election campaign by anyone nationally or in our local New Brunswick ridings.

    I think not.

    You are raising important issues and we need to challenge this lazy economic thinking that cannot represent what the Irving family owners really want for New Brunswick or believe.

    A declining New Brunswick does not suit their business future either as they are heavily invested here, to make a simple overstatement.

    Somebody in this centralized print media speak has to get with the program, and soon.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think its quite a thing to say here’s what New Brunswickers SHOULD be saying. After all, no doubt others have told YOU what you should think, but you (quite rightly) ignore them.

    The appriate argument to my mind isn’t a one or the other argument. For research and development, why does foreign investment need to be omitted? Nobody said that, or even hinted at that. The problem is that it simply isn’t being done. For the knowledge industry there is simply no marketplace in New Brunswick.

    Pharmaceutical research in Ireland is skyrocketing because there is no tax on patents. New Brunswick, let alone Canada, has no such thing, so of course comparitively little R&D is done here.
    Most universities in Ontario are heavily privatized. Wilfrid laurier is the place for business, but of course Toronto is right nearby- no insurance company is going to come to New Brunswick-they even said they don’t really even want to be SELLING here.

    New Brunswick has next to no ‘knowledge’ based higher education. What the heck is a graduate of St.Thomas going to do for a biotech company? Apart from ‘some’ fisheries what would ANY biotech company find in New Brunswick? NB doesn’t even have a medical school!

    So I don’t think the TJ is off base on ‘what New Brunswickers’ want, the debate could continue IF the government was actually doing those things-but of course we know they aren’t.

    The central problem is that New Brunswick has absolutely nothing foreign investors want. What are they going to invest here for? Every state and country is offering them tax free incentives, massive subsidies and dirt cheap yet highly educated labour. What the heck will they come to NB for? The pretty view of the Saint John river? Give me just ONE reason why anybody would invest here-the provincial government doesn’t even invest its own funds here!

    If the province were at least doing what the TJ says New Brunswickers wanted then perhaps global investors would have a second look. This worked in PEI with aerospace.

  4. David Campbell says:

    I consider it my mission in life to dispute your claim:

    The central problem is that New Brunswick has absolutely nothing foreign investors want. What are they going to invest here for? Every state and country is offering them tax free incentives, massive subsidies and dirt cheap yet highly educated labour. What the heck will they come to NB for? The pretty view of the Saint John river? Give me just ONE reason why anybody would invest here-the provincial government doesn’t even invest its own funds here!

    There must be reasons why companies would locate here or we should just fold up the tents and shut ‘er down. No crappy little province like New Brunswick can exist as a self sufficient economy. Multinational companies are here already because of fish, forests, energy and minerals. We need to figure out what other attributes would attract non-resources based industries. Global companies came here to establish call centres in the 1990s. We need to figure out what will attract them in 2000s. And if the value proposition isn’t strong, then we need to strengthen it. Cripes, you’ll freely support giving $700 million per year in EI but gripe about spending $70 million to create jobs? How weird is that? You freely support the nontion of spending $1.4 billion of Equalization to prop up the NB economy but would gripe about spending 10% of that to create jobs?

    Nah. Don’t believe it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    NOW you’re talking, although I’m not sure who the ‘you’ in there is, who gripes about spending 70 million to create jobs? I say spend MORE. On the latter part it depends, using 10% of equalization funds to ‘create jobs’ could well turn out like other NB businesses which means the poor become dirt poor, while massive amounts of money go to some guy who buys a Viper instead of employing more people (I’ve seen it done).

    However, I FULLY support tacking on another 10%, after all, the feds are literally awash in money as your previous chart shows. Canada has TONS more money to invest abroad than it brings in from foreign sources. Again, 120 billion of Canadian ‘investment’ sits in tax free havens (interesting idea Paul Martin has of ‘investment’).

    Of course we know the other reason that there is so little investment in NB or Atlantic Canada, simply because in a global market there are richer pastures out there and thanks to Canadian tax policy income on foreign profits is tax free. If I’m a multibillion dollar company why would I invest tons here when I could invest it in Pakistan where there are few taxes and its tax free on the canadian end?

    MY mission in life is to get economic developers to finally talk like you did in your last post. You STILL didn’t provide ONE reason to invest in New Brunswick, you simply admitted the policy decisions which COULD bring in foreign investment. And THATS spot on (though the reasons are really that mysterious)

    However, and this is the central issue, those issues are POLITICAL, which is why you can’t do it in a vacuum. Bringing out those issues and lobbying for tax planning is exactly what economists ‘should’ be doing. In other words, get active politically.

    350 million just got signed over to forestry companies, does anybody even know whether this was tied to job creation? Or is it more tax dollars going to Irving to add more technology to put more people out of work? How much is going to private woodlot owners and natives, who hire far more people proportionally than the ‘big five’. Has anybody even ASKED whether that is the case? Is there even a way of keeping track of it?

    New Brunswick is literally a fiefdom, millions, even billions gets pissed away on hairbrained schemes like orimulsion, hundreds of millions signed over to forestry companies carte blanche, millions is ignored from highway tolls, and we gripe that we have no money to spend on either provincial investment or enticing foreign investors. That in itself is probably yet another reason to avoid investing in NB, the province is OWNED by a few companies which makes it completely unpredictable. These things all have to be addressed POLITICALLY, and blogs aren’t going to do it! Otherwise, in ten years from now you’ll still be doing the same job.