The natives are getting restless

There’s an article in the TJ today about a seminar in Fredericton yesterday about the ‘brain drain’ – the loss of university graduates to other provinces and the United States. A survey from the University of Prince Edward Island that said 34 per cent of all people who leave the region are university graduates.

Now, you have heard all of this on the pages of this blog. How out-migrants are more educated than those that stay, that our universities are subsidizing Ontario’s labour market, etc. But what was interesting was the comments by a VP of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. Remember teh NBIF was set up by Premier Lord to make New Brunswick a hotbed for research and development (tee, hee, hee):

Calvin Milbury, vice-president of business development for the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, says the time for talk is over and real action plans are required. “The feeling that I am getting is that there is a sense of urgency and everybody is talking about it,” he said. “There are these sessions and workshops but no one is really moving forward with any of the solutions.

“He said the penalty is serious is measures are not adapted soon.”If all the younger group is leaving and they are generally well educated, then in the longer term, if this does become a retirement haven and there is no strong young group of people, who is going to pay for all the services that the older people are going to require?” he said. “Our government will be facing a very difficult situation.”

This is a fairly strong criticism of the government that he works for but it is consistent with most stakeholders that are even remotely close to this issue. The Provincial Tories love to meet – round tables, sessions, conferences, committees, etc. but as Milbury says “no one is really moving forward with any of the solutions“.

My advice? Stop all this endless chatter. Stop the empty rhetoric. And go actually do something.

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0 Responses to The natives are getting restless

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey is the typo yours, or did you cut and paste straight from the paper? Perhaps some of those ‘educated’ people could stay as proofreaders, or are you just practising some flattering imitation?:)

  2. scott says:

    A survey from the University of Prince Edward Island that said 34 per cent of all people who leave the region are university graduates.

    Since that stat was relayed by Mr. Quigley, do you believe the policies, which make up the Atlantica project, are too Halifax centric?

    I love the concept, but New Brunswick always comes first for me. That is why I believe the port of Saint John would be a better hub terminal. Mainly because it is closer to major markets in the US and Canada. The only thing holding that gateway back is the lack of rail infrastructure to and from Saint John. This is something that should have been debated and upgraded a longtime ago by both levels of government IMO.

    We all know that trade does not flow North-South as freely as it should. So if the government is in the business of solutions, then they should look at this Atlantica project more closely.

  3. David Campbell says:

    I take no credit for the TJ’s typos – I make enough of my own.

  4. Anonymous says:

    In what way doesn’t trade flow north -south as it should? Gas, wood, oil, and manufactured goods seem to flow fine. McCain ships most of their product south, as does ganong. What specifically is being referred to that could flow more efficiently?

  5. scott says:

    What specifically is being referred to that could flow more efficiently?

    Your question is the answer. I propose we find new ways to do things in this province.(i.e. We must upgrade our infrastructure so that foreign goods can move to and from major US and Canadian markets. As well, we must develop new industries aside from longstanding corporations so that the province can begin to take a new look for the future) That’s a start.

    Secondly, we must establish a take risk attitude as well as an agressive approach to economic development. Instead of pointing out the obvious, hash out new ways and ideas so that the province can move forward in a healthy, proud and prosperous manner.

    Thirdly, all likeminded individuals should come together in a positive manner in order to push and steer all provincial and federal government members in the proper direction.

    They are aware of their shortcomings, but I honestly believe that they do not see the severity of not acting immediately.

    The time to start was yesterday, but there is always tomorrow.

  6. David Campbell says:

    What specifically is being referred to that could flow more efficiently?

    How about the 100% of US bound cargo through the Port of Halifax that is shipped to Chicago and then back to the New England states. If the rail traffic took a left turn and went through Maine it would be more a) efficient, b) direct and c) would gird up trade links along Atlantica. Imagine if we flowed our natural gas to central Canada and then back to New England. That would be absurd but I think it was most likely considered.

  7. Anonymous says:

    OK, I misunderstood, I thought you meant that the goods that NOW flow north to south weren’t doing it efficiently enough (which is kind of what you said).

    I don’t think ‘new’ industries need to be built, after all, information technology is now a pretty OLD industry but look how badly the province is doing at it.

    In politics though, particularly in a province where, I still claim (and may be wrong), that no more than five corporations have a stranglehold on the political economy, and THEY have no real reason to want to see future competitors.

    For example, Irving has stated that they ‘may be interested’ in doing something in plastics in the future because they have the petroleum products. The province invested haphazardly in one venture before, but not seriously. So anybody in plastics would be CRAZY to set up shop in the province.

    Public policy is very limited, and in politics, NOT rocking the boat is best. For one thing, most people are attuned to the Irving press where ‘its not so bad’.

    As for rail, that MAY be an idea, however, there are just too many variables. Highways are already taxpayer subsidized and transportation companies get big subsidies.

    For rail, that means opening up a rail route that was disbanded years ago because it wasn’t economically viable. Ever notice how economic transmission routes tend to die out when the government is no longer involved in them?

    I don’t know any more details of the matter, or even whether the old railway is still there. I’d actually say twin rails because it would be pretty cool to have high speed transit trains like in Ireland zipping from Halifax straight through to New York. But it’s the old problem-there’s no money for infrastructure development. Governments will bend over backwards for gas transit routes because corporations WANT them. But how many corporations are screaming for rail lines that used to exist to be revitalized?

    As far as ‘taking risks’ go, government is pretty loathe to do that. Look what happened with orimulsion! Personally, I generally agree, so the question is, who are those ‘likeminded people’ and HOW do you ‘steer’? I’d suggest that federally its a tough sell, but easily possible provincially, and if it was done provincially, then perhaps with some PR like McKenna we’d see some investment in the province as it wouldn’t be those ‘deadbeat maritimers’ at it again.

    I think though, that as far as economic development goes, you’d be hard pressed to find a New Brunswicker who DOESN”T agree that something should be done, however, the problem is the risk and the rewards. In other words the devil is in the details.

  8. Anonymous says:

    As for infrastructure development I think it would be great if a port were built in some hick town a la Yarmouth, and perhaps some lobbying could be done to the ferry company. Imagine this, building into their contract that one trip a day on the CAT goes from Maine to New Brunswick. Why this isn’t discussed I don’t know. Imagine the tourist dollars going to NS each day with all those trips. Imagine if one trip a day went to New Brunswick (not saint john because god thats an ugly port and what tourists want to hit saint john?-but that’s my opinion.

    If one trip per day went to NB, that would double tourist rates right there. Hell even getting them to update the digby-saint john ferry for faster (and cheaper because it costs more than driving-yes, that means subsidizing it!)

    But many tourists aren’t in that big a hurry, and if it were a daily run they could sightsee, then take the ferry the next day (which would be going to Yarmouth).

    The above is just to show that the best resource is empowering PEOPLE. That idea was off the top of my head, imagine groups of people getting together, imagine communities of people getting together. Trouble is, what incentive is there if the government is going to ignore you anyway?