Graham vows to make New Brunswick an economic leader again

I decided to post the entire Liberal press release for a purpose. See my notes below:

A Liberal government will make New Brunswick a leader in economic development again as part of their “Charter for Change,” Liberal Leader Shawn Graham vowed today. “My vision for this province is as straightforward as it is challenging. I want New Brunswick to join the ranks of the ‘have’ provinces and I want the province to accomplish this over the next 20 years,” said Mr. Graham “We’ll put our province on the road to self-sufficiency by turning New Brunswick into a leader in energy conservation and generation, by going from worst to first in education and by making job creation a priority again.”

Mr Graham announced that his government would work co-operatively with the private sector, the universities and colleges, the education system, unions and all levels of government to lead New Brunswick towards this goal. “I believe that a Liberal government will create a climate where business will want to invest, where entrepreneurs will turn their idea into a reality and where workers can reach their full potential.”

Mr Graham outlined key elements that distinguish his approach from the current government, including strong and involved leadership, meaningful support of small business start-ups, a new energy program, support for traditional industries, being first users of NB-generated Information Technology products and investment in infrastructure. “We need a government that will be at the table when business comes to call, not asleep at the switch. We need a government that will open the door to investment and innovation, and that will support our traditional industries.

A Liberal Government will be hands-on and make New Brunswick an economic leader again,” said Mr Graham. “We won’t sit by or wait-and-see like the Lord Government has done for almost eight years.”

Under the current Lord Government, New Brunswick’s economic growth rate has lagged behind the rest of Canada since 2001. GDP growth was second last in the country last year, and increases in real personal income have not kept pace with the rest of the country. At the same time, New Brunswick has one of the highest inflation rates in the country.

My comments:

After all the grand language coming out of the Lord government, I would have preferred a more understated position from Graham. A little more “watch what I do, not what I say”. Joining the ranks of the ‘have’ provinces is a noble goal and one I support but I don’t think people understand the massive undertaking it would be. But that’s just me. It’s hard not to be cynical after all the “billion with a ‘b'” shtick we are seeing these days.

I still think politicians don’t like to talk about ‘attracting businesses’ to the provinces. Even Graham talks about “meaningful support of small business start-ups, a new energy program, support for traditional industries, being first users of NB-generated Information Technology products and investment in infrastructure.” Both Graham and Lord talk about ‘investment’ but that is a relatively ambigous term. One of these guys should say we are going to build new growth sectors in the province by attracting world class firms and supporting the growth of entrepreneurs. Is that so hard?

Overall, Graham is sounding like a guy who has been consulting with both McKenna and Donald Savoie. And that can’t be a bad thing.

Contrast that with Mr. Lord who turned his back on the McKenna approach calling for a “made in New Brunswick solution for economic development”.

I may be a voice in the wilderness but I think we need to bring back McKenna’s ideas on economic development.

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0 Responses to Graham vows to make New Brunswick an economic leader again

  1. Anonymous says:

    The simple question is, where is the money to pay for it? How much is too much, how much is enough? My biggest complaint of this blog has always been, what companies are sought? How much should be allotted to them? Is a ‘molson’ model the type of thing that is needed?

    In other words, like government, there has been a lot of negative talk, not much positive. I mentioned before about ‘what specific policy proposal would be lobbyied if there was only one’? And never got an answer.

    Don’t get antsy, this is the best blog out there for what it does and thats not an insult, one individual can’t do anything.

    But from the critic of the critics point of view, or from Lord supporters, the question is, ‘what exactly ARE the ‘Mckenna policies’ of economic development’? More importantly, where does that money come from? I’ve been looking around, and lots of industrial investments sectors, such as housing, saw the greatest tax increases brought in by McKenna. Taxes that have killed low income housing and investment in housing. New Brunswick is highest in the country for taxing investment properties, and the gentlemen here awhile ago mentioned the taxation on small business-also brought in by McKenna.

    Plus, of course, when you are deficit spending and get tons of money fromt the feds, then it is far easier to put money into other programs.

    But you are right on about the liberal “Charter for Change”. I agree that saying ‘worst to first’ is the DUMBEST slogan anybody ever came up with. The question is just how dumb ARE people? Meaning how little do they know?

    Do they know, for example, that in education that is going to cost them over 200 million dollars? Where is that money coming from? In a province that now has zero surplus and will see even less forest user fees coming in, that’s a pretty big deficit. Are people prepared for that?

    Like Lord, the press release says all things to all people. In fact, change a couple of words around and you’d have a press release from the tory government. In energy conservation they haven’t done as much as they could, but Grahams thoughts about TWO nuclear plants would certainly make most people think “well why hell do we need conservation then?”

    I’m not sure, but they might be the first government to offer a rebate on hybrid cars, if they actually do that. Again, that’s MORE money leaving government to go to people who are buying a $30,000 car and so can clearly afford it. So if he has a real brain once a few letters to the editor come in saying “where am I going to get that kind of money and how about a rebate to get a new exhaust for my chevy?”

    So that one is just an eye catcher, unless he’s dumber than he looks, and he looks pretty dumb.

    Don’t fall into the Charles Leblanc trap of thinking the new boss is going to be any different from the old boss just because he’s the only alternative. Even Charles is starting to see the light on that one. The vote is still for ‘stinky number 2′ as far as economic development goes.

    I would think the only thing that would come out of it is if McKenna really is that ‘secret weapon’ he is pathetically referring to. A lot of big business goes by connections. Hopefully McKenna has more connections than just his pals at the Caryle Group, because some economic development is just plain evil.