We’ve got a way to go

I was asked to join a panel discussion on Maritime Noon today (CBC) about the role of government when it comes to providing incentives to industry. This has become a topical issue because of the Stora Enso pulp mill in Cape Breton and the company’s demands for support. It also applies to the pulp & paper mill in Miramichi, I suppose.

There were some interesting callers with points of view varying from governments should never give money to industry all the way to full support for subsidizing a plant indefinitely not to lose the jobs.

I think that economic development may be starting to raise the interest of the general public – which is a key objective of this blog – although the readership is limited to the Web-savvy segment of the public.

I think we need to discuss this in the town square. The public needs to know that there are things that can be done to help communities transition from being based on old economy industries to new ones. These are longer term strategies and involve reorienting a community around new ideas, but I think it can be done.

I’ll reiterate the Miramichi model. The community college in the Miramichi is cranking out highly talented video game developers. Many go out of province to work and in fact several have started successful video game development firms. There is very little direct value to Miramichi from this training program. I think the city and the economic development group should try and leverage that advantage to attract game development studios to the Miramichi. Over 10 years, it is reasonable to think that 300-400 gamers could be working and living in the Miramichi. Will it replace the mill? No, but it’s a start.

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0 Responses to We’ve got a way to go

  1. Anonymous says:

    Do we have any figures on that? How do you know that graduates from Miramichi are starting companies elsewhere? I’m not baiting, I simply want to know. There’s no doubt that if a person is graduating in gaming an d thinking of moving and starting up elsewhere, then we need to simply ask that person what is available elsewhere? More workers? That seems odd, since at comm college one suspects they’d have a whole class.

    Low taxes, well, NB has the lowest for small corporations, and I’m assuming they are incorporating. So I suspect it comes down to startup funds and long term support. That would mean a government that’s willing to pony up some investment, as well as keep bankrolling them.

    However, the central point may be that at comm college they simply are not trained in the entrepreneurial angle or how to deal with government. I think its far more the case they are leaving for jobs, then perhaps years later starting out on their own. THAT would be the time to get hold of them.

    So the big question is, what exactly is being taught at the comm college, and do they keep track of their students and work with the municipality or province to try and get those people back.

    Finally, when was the last time you were at a ‘town meeting’? With all the papers owned by one corporation you certainly aren’t going to see those kind of discussions. To be honest, the last time there was a real grassroots organization forming groups and having discussions was during the 92 referendum. And of course we VOTED there. Just go to a random public meeting of your town council and see how many people show up. Unless they are protesting something, chances are good you can count them on one persons hands.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey, did they at least plug your blog?

  3. PoliticsNB says:

    If you missed the show you can hear it here:
    How should government support industry?
    (Requires Realplayer)

    Good job David.


  4. David Campbell says:

    George Donovan. Miramichi boy. Graduated from Miramichi college. Started Infiknowledge. Sold to Traffix.com for big bucks. Now has 100+ programmers here in Moncton. I met another guy from that school but I can’t remember his name. As for Ubisoft, it’s true, they were lured into Quebec for tens of millions of dollars and then came to NBCC – Miramichi to recruit workers.