Was it that long ago?
Bernard Lord was claiming to be the “only party to include hard job creation targets in their platform”.
Bernard Lord claimed he would develop a “made in New Brunswick approach to economic development”.
Frank McKenna was all about big corporate interests. Lord would take care of the small business.
I’ll have more to say about the PC Platform in the next blog, but for now suffice it to say we’ve come along way, baby.
The Tories now are all about focus groups and polling. Everybody knows that people like tax cuts. Everybody knows that people like spending on their little area of interest.
And the Tories are milking that for all it’s worth.
But economic development?
In 1999, the Tories had economic development as a central theme. In 2003, it was less evident but still front and centre.
Now it’s hardly mentioned.
Lord claims the election is about leadership.
Leadership is about doing the right things – not just pandering to the latest polls.
I am sure that the Tory bloggers will heap scorn on Shawn Graham about a lot of things.
But I’ll give him credit for his stance on tax cuts. He was raw and to the point in the T&T today (don’t expect them to be overly generous) stating that broad-based tax cuts are not appropriate until the province is more fiscally stable.
And he is right on the money.
Lord’s previous tax cuts have been paid for by increases in Equalization and everyone should know that fulfilling ephemeral political promises by going further into debt to the Equalization system is not good policy.
And everyone should also know that tax cuts do not automatically lead to some form of stimulation of the economy.
Lord cut small business tax rates and the number of operating small businesses dropped – only PEI performed worse.
How do you go from an aggressive, bold party with wide-eyed visions (admittedly no real plans but at least there were promises) in 1999 to one that is scraping for every vote and looking more and more pathetic each day that goes by?
I heard last night the PC advertisment where it ends with Lord saying in a high pitched sort of desperate voice – “I’m about children, families and seniors. That’s who I work for“.
Well, Bernie. Since you have come on board the rate of out-migration of these people you work for has increased steadily.
If you really were about children, families and seniors you would work towards creating a strong economic foundation that will keep them here.
I think even a lot of Tories are starting to think it’s time to rethink the PC party in New Brunswick. That’s my hunch why Mesheau left. He’s way to classy to come out and smear his own party but the rumours are that he is not even campaigning to support the PC candidate in Tantramar.
The Tories, like any party, have to strike a vision that goes beyond some form of quarterly tracking poll. A vision that will seriously address the fundamental economic challenges facing the province and the resultant demographic challenges.