Dumping the name Business New Brunswick

The TJ is reporting this morning that Business New Brunswick will be getting a new name. I have said on these pages before that BNB meant nothing as a concept. After 10 years of trying to educate folks about the term ‘economic development’ and finally getting traction the government switches to BNB which means nothing – it could mean a trade association, a lobby group, anything.

I prefer Department of Economic Development.

But as Donald Savoie points out in his comments, changing a name means little.

The real test will be how the mission changes and how that is cascaded through the entire economic development structure of New Brunswick.

Byrne and Murphy are rumoured to be the picks for the job – I heard it would be Lamrock. All three of those are senior guys that would be aggressive and visionary leading that department (I hope).

I still think they would be better off (as I have said before many times) to spin off a small, elite team of experts focused on attracting industry and targeted trade development. I think the new Dept. of Economic Development should focus on policy development, embedding economic development thinking across government and up/down the system in New Brunswick. I think that the entire focus on small business should be re-evaluated. I don’t see much economic development value in encouraging folks to start small businesses that service just the local market and that have an 85% failure rate. Rather, government should seek out the top creme de la creme gazelles – fast growing, high potential firms and see what it can do to support them through the formulative stages of growth (if anything).

I also think that the political layer of government must bring leadership to economic development. True leadership. I still remember, hauntingly, a senior official with then EDT telling me that Minister Mesheau was ‘saying a lot of things’ but he will ‘eventually come around’ after ‘we circle the wagons’ around him.

That is wrong. Rightly or wrongly, the Minister and the Premier cast the vision and the department is supposed to deliver.

Over the past eight years, there has been no real vision and no real action.

So the new Minister needs to do a few things. Make sure the senior leadership team is very strong – not partisan (either old Tories or new Grits) and has a clear understanding of the vision.

The the department has to be properly structured and resourced to achieve the vision.

Easy to say, hard to do.

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0 Responses to Dumping the name Business New Brunswick

  1. MonctonLandlord says:

    Sounds great, looks like there is an opportunity to put vibrance in the provincial economy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Uh huh. WHERE are those ‘gazelles’? No science, no technology, no medical schools. If you look at BNB and their investments, they are all at least viable. It’s not like ‘my buddy bob invented an improved pacemaker but couldn’t find funding’. That’s NEVER the case.

    That’s why its so easy to talk hypothetically. I found it funny that one of their big investments in Woodstock and Saint John was in a broadband tech company that services rural areas. Now the CRTC is forcing Rogers and Bell to service those communities, so this company’s very existence is on the line, and by a federal department.

    That’s the problem with picking winners and losers and why people’s instincts are partly right. In a small economy, investments will ALWAYS be political. Because those people are the only ones even trying.

    This is where some of that ‘conservative ideology’ comes in handy-you don’t directly subsidize, you create the markets where people can compete. So again, MY picks:

    1. New Brunswick Television- hard to go against Rogers but they’ve proven they are only interested in garbage talk shows. I know for a fact that apart from interviewing public officials they won’t even touch political issues.

    That creates vast cultural opportunities for the animation people in Miramichi, and there is the HOPE that was discussed. Kids can do childrens’ shows, how hard is it to do ‘canadian idol’? Reality shows, political shows. All those can be done with a camcorder-anybody can do it. It creates a venue for all those films the co-ops put out and gather dust.

    With satellite networks, meaning local volunteer councils, setting local programming, you can have regional shows. Then NB Producers would actually have a place to tell investors and buyers, “hey, you can see my product here”, instead of pitching an idea.

    Unfortunately, the government can’t do that on its own, New Brunswickers have to step up because a government owned television station simply isn’t going to happen. That’s why I suggested bloggers get together to get the ball rolling and create a non profit, unite with small local stations like in St. Andrews.

    2. Medical School. That’s a no brainer, even the government is realizing that but they are doing it so half assed that nobody is going to take them seriously. In Sudbury the Cancer Research Centre focuses on clinical studies, which is the best area for new research because it doesn’t require as many scientists and every place has lots of people. The government is still going around begging for some school to expand here. They already invest in doctors, have some balls and build a damn building and hire some top of the line scientists. There are tons of post docs out there.

    3. Listen to people. This is an industry wide thing. They promised price guarantees for small woodlot owners, we’ll see if they deliver. Contrary to popular opinion, virtually every resource sector has investment opportunities to add value added products, and if the multinationals that are wiping out the forests can get funding and massive tax exemptions, the same should be true of new enterprises. But some of them need actual cash.

    However, its easy to go to the maritime fishermans union in Shediac and help out investments by upping municipal payments and giving income tax exemptions to fishermen tied to investment. That way the individuals have more money to invest in their local industry.

    4. Education. Massive spending to municipalities tied to educational opportunities. Education is done locally. Its pathetic that I can’t even take an animation course online from Miramichi. Community college teachers and professors should be told to have their courses ready to go online in one year, or get the *&^% out. Students shouldn’t HAVE to set foot in the province to write a cheque to the province.

    None of those require ‘elite teams’ or any of that silliness. It requires PEOPLE to step forward and no think their government is something to be watched on television. I remember one time Alec Bruce talking about illiteracy and a lady posting that she’d welcome him as a tutor in their organization any time he’d like. I don’t know whether he did or not, but if you are reading this and not volunteering with the laubach literacy organization you are part of the problem.

    A government reflects its society , like any mirror its skewed somewhat, but thats basically true. Got a pathetic government, look in the mirror to see why.

  3. Trevor says:

    Medical School: We have a medical school in NB as of Sept, a second one is in the pipeline:

    Click Here

    Education: I am not disagreeing, but the mandate of NBCC is to educate NB students in a physical sense. Plus, the students need access to costly equipment to help them learn for courses like animation and carpentry. I may be wrong, but I don’t think NBCC has a mandate to teach a subsidized program that can be taken online from someone elsewhere in the world? Perhaps it’s time to revamp NBCC?

    New Brunswick Television: You have mentionned this many times and I do not disagree that more NB content is a bad thing, but would an industry like NB animation really benefit from a local TV station? When I speak to my friends at Fatkat, they don’t seem to have much trouble finding work. I see the issue with why we haven’t built a huge animation industry in the Chi yet is due to a lack of startup funds for animators to get in the game. We must be carefull not to subsidize a competitor to a thriving NB animation studio if we do fund startups like the Premier has promised in his platform. That’s why I would like to see NB follow Silicone Valley’s model of Banks who have a special tech loans program.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good post, to be more specific I’m talking english language programs for medical schools, not french. That have VERY limited uses in New Brunswick for obvious reasons. It also doesn’t address the research angle, but only medical training and medical practise. It is designed to just train doctors, not researchers. Obviously its a step, but just look at Sudbury’s accomplishments in the last ten years, and they are just a city.

    For the community college system there is no ‘mandate’ for ‘physically training’. There is no rule that says we CANNOT train other people. An online course can service New Brunswickers as well. I’m not talking about carpentry and typing, I’m talking about high tech innovation. Even ‘hands on’ courses have theory though, and many programs simply require a student to work with either a local company or tutor, or else attend the school for one term. There may be some bureaucratic reason for not doing it, that’s precisely the problem.

    Even hands on courses are changing though. I can do online video simulations in the mining industry from Cambrian, I can ‘sit’ in a classroom at the University of Alberta from where i am now. Animation certainly doesn’t require being present in a classroom, not in the least.

    Finally, that’s a strange take on the television station. How exactly does CTV exist to ‘subsidize’ a competitor to any producers? Producers provide product, the station merely purchases it and shows it.

    Who cares about fatkat? I’m hardly suggesting it as an idea to benefit them. They could provide content, but so can anyone else. I can do ‘wayne’s world’ in my basement. Charles Leblanc is already talking about doing ‘man on the street interviews’, and there are endless opportunities for journalism students at St. Thomas, whose ‘products’ will sit at some website nobody knows exists. Meanwhile ALL the issues will be decided by Irving and CBC.

    Just take a look at Maine Public Access or Manitoba’s televesion stations for a look at what real innovative organizations can come up with. In NB, as I’ve said, the last election was almost completely void of any analysis on policy. The government said their peace, and the media restated it to the public.

    And as said, film is one of the biggest innovators and cultural icons around. Name one film from a film festival in New Brunswick? The only place CBC even shows canadian film content is at midnight on sundays or something. And its a heck of a lot easier to find a buyer of a film if you’ve already had exposure.

    That doesn’t even get into cultureal and societal problems. If a local industry does something, what can you do? You call a media, and hope they cover it. If they do cover it, it will be as as one time story and then forgotten. But these things need exposure and innovation. Just take a look at Rogers and you’ll see the result of that. Endless boring programs that nobody watches. Take a look in St. Andrews to see the exact opposite, a community rallying around an idea. Do that for the whole province, and you’ll REALLY begin to see changes. Which of course is why it would be a challenge.

  5. Trevor says:

    Your missing my point about animation.

    I was trying to say that there is ample work out there globally to support an animation industry in this province. I would rather see public dollars go towards helping the growth of startups to reach new markets versus dumped into a publically funded TV station.

    On the Md School, the research piece will come along with having a Med school and an english school is being proposed for SJ. So I do have hope thta the new minister of Health will work on this as a priority.

  6. scott says:

    I’ve always spoke ad nauseam regarding the fact that the “rubber hits the road” in Ottawa. Deals are done in that city in the funniest of avenues. I’ve witness Lockhead Martin make a multi-billion dollar deal with the feds in a bar in 2000. They [Lockhead Martin] had a representative there, who will renain unnamed, that was hired solely to pitch deals to highranking government and Ottawa officials. (they even pitched the potential government ppl/opposition) His schedule had him in the city for 2-3 months at a time and then he would fly home to California for a few weeks. He was to continue this schedule for a three year period.

    That’s why I believe, if New Brunswick is serious about economic development, they will begin by designating a New Brunswick Office of Federal-Provincial Relations in Ottawa and appoint a provincial representative in Ottawa to focus mainly on ED. I think they need to be better known in that city outside fed/provincial Premiers meetings. just me. 😉

    Alberta did the same thing in Washington.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, yes and no. There is, of course, work out there for ALL industries. By that thinking nobody should be funded, certainly not the lumber industry (china has lots of wood). And of course Mr. Campbell’s auto example is a non starter as there are tons of opportunities elsewhere.

    That’s not the point. First, any reasonable look at New Brunswick, I submit, shows a desperate NEED for a television station. Second, if you’ve EVER been involved in the entertainment industry, and I know many who have and have even dabbled in it myself, you will note that while there is ‘airspace’, there is not ‘opportunity’. Most film festivals now require that you’ve got a ‘track record’. And of course the most important thing for an industry is investors. It’s a hell of a lot easier for “the trailer park boys” to get funding for a movie when they can say “just watch us on bravo on friday”. Without that, you’d have a group walking into a film production company saying “yeah, we’ve got this film about three vulgar ugly guys that would make a great movie”.

    As anybody in the industry will tell you, opportunitys are VERY sparse, even Toronto is hard hit now that the americans have left and part of the reason there are so many ‘american style’ shows on networks is because there was a huge number of recently out of work producers, directors, writers, actors, etc., whose only experience was american shows.

    Of course thats part of the problem. Because the ONLY opportunities are elsewhere, everybody in cultural industries has to leave. I think David Adams Richards has only had one story ever made into a film. Nova Scotia still does work for the US market because there are people there with experience and the equipment is there.

    Say you have a television station, well, you just need ONE show to get sold elsewhere to provide almost all your startup funds. That’s from choosing from between hundreds of hours of programming. I mean, come on, the biggest movie in north america is a movie that’s literally a version of ‘america’s funniest home videos’.

    So the current situation is, New Brunswick has virtually no cultural identity. Hell, there isn’t even a motto on the license plates. The acadians and natives do, but that’s it. The other poster on the other thread was quite right-people define themselves by their narratives. If there is no place to hear or see those narratives, it leaves a cultural vacuum where all that is left is work and american TV.

    And as said before, your precious tax dollars are being pissed away in the billions to clear cut your forests, for Irvings LNG plant, for NB Power enhancements that never get used, can you HONESTLY say that you would resent $100 bucks a year going into providing you and your neighbours with a vehicle for those narratives to get told? If so, then again, I submit that therein lies the problem-fine to pay for Irving and corporations to milk us dry, not OK to fund anything that actually serves the public.

    As for the medical school, that’s completely wrong that ‘research will come’ as if by osmosis. Like everything else research is competitive, its not like somebody does five years in a post doc and then says “hey, I’d really love to go to this research backwater that just has newly trained doctors in order to do research” You might get ‘some’, but again, you get the worst of the lot, which is hardly a good way to build an industry.

  8. Trevor says:

    As for the medical school, that’s completely wrong that ‘research will come’ as if by osmosis. Like everything else research is competitive, its not like somebody does five years in a post doc and then says “hey, I’d really love to go to this research backwater that just has newly trained doctors in order to do research” You might get ‘some’, but again, you get the worst of the lot, which is hardly a good way to build an industry.

    I wasn’t implying that it comes naturally.. I do know of an active effort in the Moncton community that is trying to use the med School to create a Bio-sciences sector that will be part of the IC2 project.

    On the TV thing, I beleive you have merit and passion about the issue. Have you ever created a business plan to create a TV station for NB? If so, why haven’t you pursued it?

  9. Trevor says:


    Great idea! I agree 100%. We need to be agressive in order to create a self sustainable economy.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Lockheed Martin could get a deal done in Ottawa if they met in a toilet and told the Prime Minister to use his shirt to wipe their ass. Come on, go back and read how Irving does business in Ottawa, they walk in, tell the feds what they want, then leave. Irvings got millions in a blank cheque to close down an industry for chris’s sake.

    Irving gets what they want for the same reason Lockheed Martin does. Name a single Premier who has any sort of clout in Ottawa? They get laughed at. They are politicians, not lobbyists. They’re a joke. Now if Irving or McCain wants to do a deal, that’s different, but it generally doesn’t do New Brunswickers any good, in fact it usually hurts them, just go look at the new shipbuilding contracts Irving is getting for its ports in Nova Scotia and PEI.

    Frank had to do a dance and probably worse just to get federal funding for NB Works, and look how well that turned out! Those days are long gone, and the new motto in Ottawa is “we’re not going to touch provincial jurisdictions”. That means politicians talk, and lobbyists walk (as per usual). You think a Prime Minister who coughs up more money for a sports arena than economic development or harbour cleanup is going to give a rat’s ass about ED in New Brunswick? The province doesn’t even elect his party!

    As for the television idea, I am pursuing it in a variety of ways. I made the assumption that a good place to get organized, support, initiative would be at blogsites where I assumed that if people gave enough of a rats ass to be bothering with blogsites, they might do more. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

  11. scott says:

    Anon: Today, your slogan or marketing line should be:


    Let me tell you, I wouldn’t want your losing attitude on my New Brunwick team, and I’m sure if you could go back in time, the ’72 Canada cup Summit series team would tell you to take a hike as everyone wrote them off for dead as well.

    It’s always good to be a realist anon, but negative attitudes, such as yours, don’t belong in the discussion at his point in the game.

  12. Anonymous says:

    LOL, yes thats the usual attitude of people whose points are argued against , you forgot to add “your a poopy dunderhead and I’m taking my toys and going home!”

    The “losers” are the people who sit around and wait for the government to do something. The ones who give out bad advice that hasn’t been researched and then get upset when people don’t agree with them.

    That says it all that you at least admit its ‘realism’ because its based on facts. If you don’t like reality, there are all kinds of blogs out there dwelling in fantasyland. Mr. Campbell, unlike most party hacks calls a spade a spade. If your best advice is “don’t dwell on realism,I’m sure we can find a way to get Lockheed Martin kind of deals for New Brunswick”-you’re welcome to it, in fact, I know a website where you can spout it.

    But oh no, the 1972 hockey team wouldn’t want me around! Oi, that’s rich!:)

    By the way, people seem to forget that Canada was supposed to win the 72 series in a cakewalk! Instead, they barely won.

  13. MonctonLandlord says:

    “… designating a New Brunswick Office of Federal-Provincial Relations in Ottawa and appoint a provincial representative in Ottawa to focus mainly on ED. I think they need to be better known in that city outside fed/provincial Premiers meetings. just me.”

    NB does have a full-time rep in Ottawa, let me get his business card, … oh yeah, it was a patronidge appointment by Bernard Lord (they must have signed a deal at Cool Camel).

  14. scott says:

    So you are against this move, monctonlandlord? It seems to be working for Gary Doer and Danny Millions.

  15. MonctonLandlord says:

    Business card found:

    GILLES VERRET, Representative
    Ottawa Office / Intergovernmental Affairs
    Contact Information
    Phone: (613) 232-5176
    Fax: (613) 233-3509
    EMail Address: [email protected]

    What has he done for NB? Bet you have never heard the name before, unless you are a true blueberry!

    Too bad the information is no longer valid, I am strongly in favor of a rep in Ottawa (a team would be appropriate) but not rewarding partizan participation.

    I am in favor of creating a pro-job description and posting it, and may the best man/woman win, (regardless of which province they hail from). Enough of the cross province political rewards from same parties. And enough sending a conservative-losing candidate (Lord) overseas mingling with a federal conservative PM to discuss the next step, what the hell was that? at the francophonie? Partizanship has its limits, and our rep in Ottawa, must not be red or blue to be effective.

  16. scott says:

    Actually, I have. I know a few ppl in that office. Their jobs were not ED focused.

  17. Anonymous says:

    How many know the status of the LMDA for New Brunswick? NB is the ONLY province in the atlantic that doesn’t have a cabinet position for culture-anybody surprised? The province is one of the few that hasn’t signed an LMPA with the federal government, but with a new government those programs could be dust. The only province regulated ‘cultural’ institution is the college of design in Fredericton. Scores of New Brunswickers leave to go to Film School in…..gee, no, its not New York, not Toronto or LA, no, its MAINE. Yes, NB is getting its cultural ass kicked by the poorest state in the union. Can’t even support a film or cultural school. If you WANT an identity, you gotta pay for it.

  18. MonctonLandlord says:

    So to BNB, ED & tourism, or any other department name to follow.

    One can only hope that a good 10% lay-off (aka pink slips) are handed to the bottom 10% performers.

    Examples: ones who recommended Atlantic Fine Yarns be given multi-millions to launch and survive when international trade quotas on textiles were lifted a year or two after the announcement. For thoses that recommended that BNB knowledge industry budgets would be reduced or eliminated (only to be re-established shortly after pressure from industry appeared). For those that bommed that tourism NB campain for like 5 years in a row, allocating the same contract to the same agency (what the hell is that?). — Did anyone ever think of the economic impact of spending the entire $10M tourism campaign – to purchase return airfare to any destination in NB for anyone in North America? .. at $750 return, that would equal close to 14 000 new people visiting the province… doubt that this year’s campaign matched that number (oh, yeah, it was announced, there was a reduction in tourism numbers this year.)

    Enough rant, (well, until I really digest who got into cabinet). I know at the Federal level, groups are consulted behind closed doors for the appointment of Ministers, which groups in NB got that respect and curtesy? (Chambers of commerce, AIMS, Donald Savoie, CENB, Mayors, David Campbell?).

    Is it any wonder why Bernard Lord lost the election? I am proud enough to say I gave an earfull to Federal Conservative strategist and lobbyist the young Goldy Hyder on why Bernard Lord would lose the next election (this conversation took place in Calgary in Sept 2004). I was right.

    Source: http://www.hillandknowlton.ca/newsroom/Mersereau_Sept_2006.htm

  19. Anonymous says:

    Before you crow to loudly keep in mind that technically Lord DIDN”T lose the election. In fact he got more votes than last time, so go figure. As most figures indicate, the difference seemed to be NDP supporters bailing and voting liberal.

    If you want a real boost to economic development, here’s what you do, you forget politicians and you tell an Irving to do it. Then you tell them that the level of regulations, taxation and subsidy that they get will be contingent on the new investment they bring into the province. They’re the ones with the clout and the connections, certainly not some lobbyist who will say ‘come to New Brunswick, because I need a new car’.

    Tell the Irvings that if they do a good job then you’ll leave them alone for four years after. That way, the province still bails out Irving, but at least gets something out of it.

  20. David Campbell says:

    I think we should send Scott to Ottawa. He’s a true ‘Blueberry’ (neat word) and a big time supporter of economic development. Plus, he knows the territory. The next time I see the Premier I’ll mention this. Wait, check that, I don’t usually meet Premiers. But it’s a thought.

    As for the long thread around the need for optimism, I won’t comment anymore as you know my opinion. I want New Brunswick to be a ‘winner’.

  21. Spinks says:

    “Lord DIDN”T lose the election”

    Really? Someone should tell Shawn Graham. He’s made himself at home in the Premier’s Office and named a Cabinet and everything. LOL.

  22. Monctonite says:

    Shawn’s been smiling an awful lot for someone who lost.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Saddam Hussein and all kinds of dictators take advantage of bogus electoral systems. When you get more votes than the other guy and more than you got last time, that’s what I call winning. Our 19th century electoral format says otherwise-but what does that have to do with common sense? If you’re bragging about ‘why’ the Premier ‘lost’, the only answer to that is – a crooked system.

  24. MonctonLandlord says:

    Maurice Rioux joins New Brunswick office in Ottawa (06/10/17)
    NB 1273

    Oct. 17, 2006

    FREDERICTON (CNB) — Maurice Rioux will be the Intergovernmental Affairs senior representative in Ottawa, Premier Shawn Graham announced today.

    Originally from Shippagan, Rioux has worked in the federal government for over 15 years. He has served four ministers in six federal departments as chief of staff, director, executive assistant and senior advisor.

    “The mandate of the New Brunswick Office in Ottawa is to provide ongoing strategic federal-provincial information and advice to government as well as to New Brunswick agencies, non-government organizations, communities and individuals,” Graham said. “Maurice arrives with a wealth of knowledge and experience. He will play a key role in ensuring a strategic and corporate approach to our relations with the federal government.”

    The New Brunswick Office in Ottawa was established in 2002. In 2003, it co-located with Manitoba.

    Currently, nine provincial and territorial jurisdictions have offices in Ottawa including Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

    Rioux began his current assignment on Monday, Oct. 16.