Where are the lobbyists?

Like ’em or hate ’em, Moncton’s Petitcodiac Riverkeeper must be considered a successful lobby group. The issue of removing the causeway from Moncton to Riverview was a backburner issue before the Riverkeeper rolled up its sleeves and got to work.

Now 11 of 12 regional candidates for the Federal government have backed federal funding to remove the causeway and the Premier has made it one of his issues in his Accelerating Prosperity plan (not sure how that will accelerate prosperity but that’s another issue).

My point is that a well-organized, properly funded lobby group can still get results in New Brunswick. The toll busters was another similar lobby group.

So, the next logical step is to ask where are the lobbyists for the economy?

The local Chambers of Commerce should be the typical candidate for such lobbying but I have not seen a strongly worded rebuke of government policy in this area in a long time.

Industry associations have had mixed success. The forestry lobby received a package recently but what about the IT industry lobby? According to my research, while some 100,000 jobs have been created in Canada in the IT and related sectors since 1999, there have been almost none in New Brunswick. As a reward for this success, it seems that the IT industry groups seem to be very thankful. Anything I read tends to be very positive.

The Canadian Federation for Independent Business (CFIB) seems to be very effective getting its small business message across. The government has cut taxes for this group.

But who is lobbying for the attraction of business investment? If not the chambers and industry groups, then who?

Maybe when Daniel LeBlanc is done over at the Riverkeepers, we can recruit him to lobby for the province.

Heck, the survival of the provincial economy should be at least as important as the Petitcodiac river, no?

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0 Responses to Where are the lobbyists?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t that your job?:)

    Seriously though, you have a group of bloggers (although they all seem to be from Moncton, which has done proportionately well in this area), so when there are empty shoes to fill…

    I seem to recall a blog about changing Moncton’s status in the census, so clearly there is SOME political interaction.

    So the question is, are you fellas bloggers-or ineffective lobbyists?:)

  2. Anonymous says:

    The real trouble is, if you economy bloggers were in the north or Saint John then you WOULD be lobbyists. Because hundreds, even thousands would be reading what you say as being true and using it as election fodder.

    Of course it HAS been fodder for a long time in the north, but they have little effective political representation. Plus, economic development in the north means something completely different than in Moncton, there it is literally survival. In a recent article there was much praise given because a subsidiary highway was getting fixed up so that a gas station could open with a restaurant-you guessed it, creating jobs.

    That’s a far cry from southern ideas of economic development, and shows how just a little investment would go a long way. The feds idea of investment is giving $2500 to two anti poverty groups and over a million in a program to bring african immigrants in to take New Brunswickers jobs. There’s investment for you!

    An interesting anecdote is that I’ve seen several places where the Parti Acadien is starting to make some rumblings again, its about time.

  3. scott says:

    I second what anonymous #1 said. Probably because i’ve said it before as well. lol

    The one thing that I learned after being in Ottawa for five years, nothing is written in stone. Those who want it, go after it.

    It’s seems like you want it, so the logical next step…

    Anyway, here’s hoping you do. I hear from a certain ‘source’ that you’re doing a good job on this front anyway.

  4. David Campbell says:

    I am not sure this as ‘Moncton-centric’ as you might think. I can’t tell where the viewers are coming from although I have received feedback from a few northerners, SJers and Frederictonians. If the content is skewed a bit towards Moncton it is just that I am reading the local rag daily so there is more fodder there.

    But this issue is much deeper than just Moncton. In fact, Moncton is a bit on autopilot right now. We need to see growth across the province or else Moncton will begin to suffer.

    You raise an interesting point. It could be that the blogosphere raises a new angle on ‘lobbying’.

    You can bet your arse that Warren Kinsella has swung a few thousand votes away from Paul Martin (he claims that upwards of 200,000 viewers on a given day). But, he has said he will vote Liberal and you can bet that post Dithers he will be crapping all over the Tories. So he becomes in effect a lobbyist for his ideas (and that weird band he plays in).

  5. Anonymous says:

    If you read the Moncton rag then you should have a password for ALL Irving Papers, if not then you just give them a call. If you don’t read french then obviously thats a problem for some of the northern papers.

    The ‘bring in global business’ is a hard lobby though, if a New Brunswicker HAS a job they may not want to bring in ‘outsiders’, for any variety of reasons. If you aren’t in a city then you are going to be opposed because you know its going to be in a city. Then it becomes ‘which city’ and everything resorts to a pissing match. SJ’ers get mad because investment goes to Moncton.

    That’s the problem with provincial governments, and of course thats also why far more decisions and taxation powers are available to cities in Europe and the US. Here, well, this is Canada, we do as the Queen says.

    However, a group of economic developers would be welcome to many of the organizations who already DO lobbying-they just aren’t listened to. We KNOW that a quarter of a billion dollars in the forestry sector isn’t going to enhance it, twenty years of subsidies tell us that. Of course, if your blog is for MORE large corporations in industries, then I guess that sort of partnership is out of the question.