A win-win partnership

I hear that the NB Liberals are coming out with their strategy for ‘moose fencing’ today. After reading the study on declining birth rates due mainly to the out-migration of young females to provinces such as Alberta, I had one of those light bulb moments.

Why don’t we combine the Liberal strategy to reduce moose collisions and the Conservatives strategy to enhance out-migration?

Hear me out on this – but remember my tongue is planted firmly in cheek – just in case my deficiencies in ironic prose become too obvious.

Why not send the moose to Alberta?

Presto. No need for expensive fencing. New Brunswickers have already beaten a path to Alberta for the moose to travel on. Heck, the moose might even send back some of those salt licks used to keep them off Alberta highways. Preston Manning would even be happy.

But there’s even a bigger benefit. A lot of New Brunswickers hunt for moose. If all the moose were relocated to Alberta, that would be an additional enticement to move there. Heck, I’ll bet the Alberta government would pay to move the moose in order to satisify their need for New Brunswick workers.

We could get really creative and move the Atlantic Salmon out there as well. Just dump them in the Bow river.

Heck, while I’m on a roll, why not move the entire population of New Brunswick to Alberta in one shot. A mass migration – just like the pioneers – except weirder.

If we did that, we could leave the moose here and one airport landing strip (we would fight about it but the Moncton airport would probably win). The airstrip would be used for the wealthy ex-New Brunswickers to come back and hunt.

Truly a win-win.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to A win-win partnership

  1. Anonymous says:

    Not so tongue in cheek-how about we put that fence around New Brunswick so people can’t leave.

  2. Cooker Boy says:

    I had the same reaction when I read the headline “Major Policy Announcement” by Liberals. I was optomistic, until I realized it was for Moose fencing… NB’ers should be demanding better from goverment and opposition. It shows how unprepared Shawn G is to become Premier.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Keep in mind that is just one policy. Go to the liberal web site as well as read some of the transcripts from the legislature and there is lots more.

    You can’t actually ‘prepare’ to become Premier, the work of the opposition is to ‘oppose’. However,there are tons of policies that the liberals have been touting over the years. The job of the media is to make sure they aren’t forgotten (which of course it hasn’t been doing).

    In this case,its pretty hard to show that Graham could possibly be worse than Lord, and if people actually get involved, it is harder for them to deviate.

    For example, I know Mr. Campbell is opposed, but this year the liberal party made public insurance a liberal policy. With respect to those who disagree, this is something that is quite well supported, and is a BIG step. If you want innovation, risk taking, and issue attention, just this one policy is it. How much attention they will give it now that rates have stopped climbing is hard to tell.

    I’m not bringing that up to turn into a whole debate on public insurance, that’s just an example, and there are plenty of others. However, you simply don’t HEAR about them in the press.

  4. David Campbell says:

    Let’s be clear, I will be supporting Shawn Graham’s bid to be Premier. I have no party affiliation but I honestly think that Lord has had seven years to make an impact and has not. If you stop and think about it, it’s quite staggering. Canada is in the midst of its longest period of economic growth in its history. We have had positive growth since the recession of the early 1990s. Canada’s population has risen by an amazing 3 million people – an unprecedented rise in the recent history of the country. And New Brunswick’s has declined. What, pray tell, will happen to New Brunswick should another recession hit? Or just following the same trend line? That’s why I will vote for Shawn Graham -even without seeing his economic development approach. I’ll then cross my fingers and hope that he understands how important this issue is to our future.

    And as for public auto insurance, you are correct. I completely disagree. There is no crisis. Rates are going down even as the ICBC (British Columbia public auto insurance syste) announced major increases in BC this year and in forecasting another round of increases next year. In addition, what signal are we sending to the international business community by socializing industry? If there was a problem, by all means. If you could put it to those cartelized, oligopolistic oil industry giants who make record profits as their cost of supply increases (as an aside, what other industry can make more profit when their cost of supply increases? – none that I know of – most can’t transfer those increased costs on to the customer in a formal way – but those oil guys, their costs go up and they can say we’ll make even more profit!)

    But I digress.

    Socializing industry should be a last step after all else has failed. The reforms in New Brunswick are working – at least enough to quash the notion of an expensive, public system.

    But I, like you, don’t want to debate this in great detail because for the Libs it has become a campaign issue like the removal of the toll highway was for the Conservatives in 1999. Now it’s political not rational. We have lost literally millions in revenue that could have been used for the public good because of a promise by Lord that he didn’t even need to win. I fear that Graham will head down this road with the public insurance issue. I hope not but I fear yes.

  5. David Campbell says:

    One more thing, that population increase of 3 million – is just since 1999. If New Brunswick had just grown it’s share, we would have added over 75,000 people during Lord’s time in office – not lost 20,000.

    Time for change.

  6. Cooker Boy says:

    I’m not going to argue that change is needed, however I don’t feel as if Shawn Graham is the best choice. Neither is the NDP.

    I am terrified with the thought of socializing an industry like insurance. In the end it will all cost us 10 times more then we estimate. I do have one question thought, do you think NBers are going to want a regulated Insurance industry when they have seen how poorly gas regulation has worked?

    “I say”, ala Al Hogan, if the Libs had anyone else other than Graham, it wouldn’t even be a contest.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, I suppose it is a blog and debate is what its all about.

    Again, people forget the central issue in public insurance. And that’s that every month almost a hundred dollars-more for some people, leaves New Brunswick to go to either the states or ontario.

    I would argue the opposite, in free market industries it has ALWAYS been the ‘last resort’ to socialize industries. Usually this is after large corporations have pillaged the resource and can’t extract any more out of it.

    Again, a perfect example is the forest industry. India is always touted as an economic giant-they are in forestry because they have a socialized forest industry. They also have a socialized textile industry. Their thinking, and I think its the right way, is that ‘commodities’ are far better controlled by government, whereas the value added products derived from the commodity is privatized to innovators.

    In New Brunswick the province is giving away the forests to companies that have said they will lay off people, and offer no guarantees that they will stick around for long.

    In fact, it seems absurd to say “taxpayers shouldn’t benefit from an industry when it is making money, they should only control it once there is NO chance to make money on it for a long period of time”.

    Keep in mind that British Columbia’s insurance is NOT completely public, if anything it is a public private mix. Just take a look at Saskatchewan and Manitoba to see really pubic ones.

    However, there is no point trying to change people’s minds. I think that is correct that the biggest issue is whether people still support it, and what message it sends industry. Of course, when you look at the industry players around the province, its not like its a huge mix. The number of foreign companies in NB is quite small, and few are in private insurance industry.

    If anything, playing hardball typically gets the respect of corporations. A heavily armed lobby group will always pull the ‘threatening’ line first, as they did during the committee hearings which literally had Lord changing his mind over the weekend. When its a sure thing, it tends to change. Perhaps some of those Toronto Dominion insurance call centres will locate in New Brunswick.

    I’m not sure where my figures are any more, but it was to the extent that one tenth of the insurance money that leaves New Brunswick is actually reinvested in the province to provide jobs. So insurance rates aren’t actually the biggest issue at all.

    That brings up the other issue, that in an era of ‘anti politics’ where media keeps harping that government can’t be trusted, what chance is there that people will support that? It seems odd that they would make it a policy now that rates are stabilized unless they had some idea of public support, but maybe there’r just as dumb as the tories.

    So keep in mind that one issue creates an opportunity to decentralize a government industry. Representatives and call centres can be set up in rural areas, all paid for by money that now is going to central canada. To me that seems win win, again, I don’t think there is any reason to call names at people who have a different opinion but just as much validity (in fact more in a lot of people’s eyes)

  8. Cooker Boy says:

    But there is nothing stopping private sector here in NB to create an Auto Insurance company.

    We have examples with Assp Vie where a private NB company can build a successful business model. It can be done, it just requires initiative by the private sector.

    I don’t want my taxpayer dollars waisted on a wastefull govt program. Considering that I was paying $4000/year for auto insurance in 99 because of a fraudulant claim, I am more then happy with the Lord goverments strategy considering i now only pay $800.00.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Again, thats fine as long as you only look at what you are paying-and not where your money is going. SOME individual rates may come down, but not all, and there is certainly no guarantee that at any time in the future the insurance companies will hit a bad investment year, and once again raise rates at the 48% a year they did in the past.

    A government program would keep that $800 you pay IN the province. It would stop going to southern ontario where it is now invested overseas to make them more money. Again, look at polls in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. People there are quite happy with their system.

    The ‘fact’ is there, public insurance would keep insurance funds in the province and the government would need to hire people to service it, something that is currently done in phone centres in Toronto.

    It seems somewhat hypocritical to me to talk about how we need money and jobs in New Brunswick, yet support an industry that provides hardly any jobs, and takes more money out of the province. So long as a person can accept that though, that’s their choice, it seems odd, to deny New Brunswick jobs and money and at the same time gripe that New Brunswick has no jobs or money.

  10. Cooker Boy says:

    What about the thousands of jobs in NB that are part of the private system? High paying jobs at that…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Uh, what high paying jobs? There are very few call centre jobs in the private insurance industry…I checked. The public system ala Manitoba has far better jobs.

    Even the threat of public insurance may at least get private companies to invest more heavily, now they invest almost zero. I’ll be finding those figures again before the election

  12. to it and at it says:

    > Uh, what high paying jobs?

    Dunno about high paying, but the various insurance companies do have salesmen and adjusters in NB, probably a couple of hundred in all.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The sales aspect was addressed by the commission on public insurance, check it out. That’s correct about ‘a couple hundred jobs’. Even call centres for the various banks don’t add up to that. Toronto Dominion merged with a previously existing Saint John call centre, with a full force of 50 people. Meanwhile, check this out:

    “With more than 1,200 employees working in 13 communities across Manitoba, Manitoba Public Insurance is one of the province’s top 20 employers. “

    Those are good jobs at good wages, decentralized throughout the province to bring income and keep money close to the communities which pays into the program.

    Take a community such as jemseg in Cambridge parish. There are 549 private dwellings, so we can ‘assume’ that there are 549 insurance policy holders.

    At an average rate of $75 per vehicle per household that is around $50 grand that leaves the community. Currently, not only does it leave the community, it also leaves the province one way or another. Even if, as mentioned above, some private insurer sprang up, insurance works by investing pooled resources, which means it would be invested elsewhere.

    However, as we have seen with changes to the New Brunswick pension fund, there is at least a political possibility of investing within the province. That means with a public insurance plan, some of those NB funds could be invested elsewhere to provide a return, and some here to provide jobs and innovation.

    Currently, it IS invested, but by the large insurers. The only people who benefit are large investors, and as we’ve seen before, NB’ers are among the lowest in the country at holding mutual funds,which means even that spurious aid isn’t accruing to NBers.

    Those Manitoba numbers would need to be modified somewhat. 1200 jobs for their population would mean only 800 here, but that’s FAR more than any private industries provide. Heck, that’s one third of what the entire refinery in Saint John supplies.

    Again, thats all New Brunswickers money. Why anybody would want to support a scenario that has NBers money leaving for Ontario and the US while looking for foreign direct investment seems to me to be guided more by gut reaction to an ideology than anything factual.

    However, I doubt Graham has the cajones for such an endevour. There is no mechanism in place that forces a Premier to adopt party policies, which means that approximately $31 million dollars will continue to head west.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Boy, you guys. I was hoping somebody would actually care enough to actually research this issue, but its clear that people like their own ideology far better than ‘facts’.

    That sounds pissy, and it is, because I was wrong above, and that never makes me happy. In fact, according to the committee, public insurance will have a net loss of 300 jobs. It was a good guess though, the 800 jobs was right on, but according to the committee there are 1100 people working in the industry right now. They SAY that it depends how its structured, but then government says lots of things.

    However, what it comes down to is another figure I got wrong, according to an insurance quarterly, there is just over half a billion dollars in the insurance industry in New Brunswick, which is serious scratch, but the study hasn’t concluded just what percentage of that is foreign and what is domestic, or where their investment lies. THAT seems to be the crux of it.

    So the jobs thing is out (although government would provide far better quality jobs), but it turns out that a good percentage in the insurance industry isn’t american at all, but various european countries.

    So what about this compromise, don’t privatize, but legislate how much companies have to invest in the province if they want to do business there. In that case they can’t sue under GATT rules, and anybody that doesn’t cooperate, you simply pull an Irving surprise-namely, create a bill especially for that company and taxing them on the value they are extracting from the communities.

    And people say its lefties who are unreasonable.

  15. Cooker Boy says:

    I was looking for those numbers but work got in the way… 😉

    Good on you to take initiative and be a big enought person to admit a mistake. Your gaining my respect more and more everyday.

  16. Cooker Boy says:

    Oh, your also forgetting how much money those companies pay into the legal and health care systems. health care being physio and the likes.. Or is that included in the 1/2 billion?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, work does that, no fault there, dealing with malcontents on the internet should always come after work and family.

    As of yet there is no knowing whats in that half a billion. Apparantly there is a study going on, since this is sure to be an election issue, contacting the liberal party might not be a bad idea. They may be just blowing smoke.

    The other thing I’d like to find out is just how generous these ‘lawsuits’ are that Lord is so keen on protecting. As a lawyer there’s no surprise there, but I have a suspicion that its not nearly as lucrative as he’ll like us to think. In a province that doesn’t even allow class action suits and has the worst legal aid system in the country, I doubt that insurers are parting with their money too quickly.

    From what I could gather, and this isn’t a sure thing, the half a billion is what NB’ers pay out in premiums