McKenna opening doors for Shawn?

Interesting story in the TJ this AM:

McKenna opening doors for Graham
Politics Former premier helping Liberal successor identify business opportunities

As published on page A1 on October 20, 2006

FREDERICTON – Premier Shawn Graham is moving quickly to take advantage of doors to business opportunities that are being opened by former premier Frank McKenna. Graham is planning a trip to Toronto Nov. 15 “to follow up on the leads that Frank McKenna has provided,” the premier said Thursday. Since winning the election in September, Graham has been in regular contact with McKenna, the deputy chair of the TD Bank Financial Group who knows many of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs on a first-name basis.

I think this is great. I was always a little confused why McKenna’s rolodex didn’t lead to more economic development even after he was out of power. Why CanWest didn’t invest here – for example, when he was Vice Chair. Maybe Bernard Lord didn’t ask McKenna to chip in and help out – which, if true, would have been an incredible miscalculation on his part. The economic development of New Brunswick should be a little more important than partisan politics.

Bravo to Shawn G. I have always said that the Premier of a small and increasinly irrelevant have-not province should check his/her ego at the door and build relationships with whomever to get the job done – the job of reinvigorating this economy.

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0 Responses to McKenna opening doors for Shawn?

  1. Anonymous says:

    That street goes both ways. If Frank was so partisan he wouldn’t help New Brunswickers because they voted tory is hardly a feather in his cap. Canwest probably didn’t invest here because there’s nothing to invest IN. Global certainly doesn’t need a media setup in the province, they hardly bother with the province at all.

  2. scott says:

    I think this is a moot point that you have made, David. As a former NB Premier, McKenna has a duty to his province and definitely should pitch in whenever he can. Too bad he sat on his hands during Lord’s tenure as Premier. As for Bernard Lord, I will not speculate whether they were friends or not, but he and the current Prime Minister had a really good working relationship in comparison to other PC premiers.

    As for your statement: “I was always a little confused why McKenna’s rolodex didn’t lead to more economic development even after he was out of power.”

    I think you are sadly mistaken as his rolodex was indirectly used by the Chretien government. Don’t you remember the HRDC boondoggle wherein $1 billion dollares was blown on dubious job-creation projects and economic development, especially here in New brunswick. I should know, my first job as a volunteer was in Joe Clark’s office was to scan hundreds of pages (Actions to info requests) regarding money that was pocketed by Liberals hacks and bagman in this region.

    It’s funny that you left that part out over the years, especially since you believe that the Liberals can be trusted with administering a state run economic deveopment agency (DREE, ACOA and HRDC grants program, etc., etc.) without wasting millions dollars of taxpayers money and having a ton of political interference.

    And you wonder why I am sceptical about the government knows best attitude. Anyway, carry on as you were

  3. Anonymous says:

    The government is only as good as the people in it. While somebody living in Ottawa may have considered HRDC a ‘boondoggle’ the reality is that for once it put some federal dollars in maritimers pockets. Lots of maritimers were able to stay in their communities and have the semblance of a decent living.

    The unfortunate aspect of it is that at the time there was no such thing as the internet or at home learning. If such a program were run now, it could be skewered toward stay at home learning, entrepreneurship, access to community resources, etc.

    In fact, its hard to do much when there is no industry to train for. So we see TONS of EI funds, BILLIONS in fact, going toward training southern ontarians for the auto sector, and of course there are auto sector jobs waiting for them when they get out.

    In the case of New Brunswick, with no industry to turn trained workers out into, all you had was the initial training for call centres, but it was quickly found that not nearly enough industry was locating in the province.

    So you had money going to people in rural areas for cutting brush at the side of the road. No doubt better uses could have been found, volunteer work, or educational training. But as said, it’s hardly unfair to compare the pittances people recieved then to the windfall that companies will now enjoy now that Kyoto is trashed and environmental standards are reduced to nil.

    Of course Scott’s problem may be that he’s worked too much in government and not enough in the private sector. Anybody that thinks corporations are more transparent and less corrupt hasn’t seen much of the real corporate world.

    So a lot of good came out of that program. Contary to what many think, people on EI don’t sit around watching television and eating popcorn and drinking beer (that’s stay at home moms), there are numerous educational opportunities which are usually mandatory, but again, if there’s no work out there, you can hardly blame people.

    Any Premier who can convince the feds to cover 100% of the costs of ANY program deserves a real pat on the back. If Graham can get even matched funds for any programs it’ll be a miracle.

  4. to it and at it says:

    > [Lord] and the current
    > Prime Minister had a
    > really good working
    > relationship in
    > comparison to other PC
    > premiers

    And that benefited New Brunswickers how?

    If Harper really liked Lord, he would have shown him some lovin’ duing the too-close-to-call election campaign. A little bit of federal gravy might have saved Lord’s arse.

  5. scott says:

    If Harper really liked Lord, he would have shown him some lovin’ duing the too-close-to-call election campaign. A little bit of federal gravy might have saved Lord’s arse.

    Absolutely not true. Harper’s philosophy has always been to stay out of other province’s provincial elections as he stayed away from endorsing any candidate in the Nova Scotia election last spring as well. As for addressing New Brunswick’s issues, he has committed to solving the fiscal imbalance and has pledged to move the economy forward here. Remember he has only been in office for under 9 months and has already moved crucial legislation forward in the house.

    And if you want to judge him on his record in the little time he has been in office, maybe you should worry more about Premier Shawn Graham, who pledge not to return to the legislature in 5 months. How’s that for doing nothing on moving legislation forward? Remember a promise is only a promise when you are outside the leg. IMHO, I believe it is time for the Liberals to get back to work and committ to the many promises they made during the election.

  6. to it and at it says:

    > Harper’s philosophy

    Is this the same Harper who philosophized about triple-E senates for decades and then appointed some dude into a cabinet job?

    You don’t get to lead a political party if you have any philosophy or ideals, it’s all about tactics.

    BTW, trashing Lord doesn’t automatically make me a Liberal, I can dislike Lord without liking or respecting Graham.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Pledges” are as useful as promises. Which ‘fiscal imbalance’ would that be? In the ‘short time’ he’s been in office he’s approved hundreds of millions for BC’s ports, billions for the auto sector in ontario, as well as Quebec’s pharmaceutical industry and research. For NB he’s approved 5 million for a sports arena. Whoohoo.

    And exactly what ‘crucial legislation’ would that be? Of course he DID visit the province, in that $500 a plate dinner they had to raise money for the provincial tories, who coincidentally campaigned for the federal tories, and of course federal tory dinners such as that are illegal. Nice ethical manouever.

    And to be fair, Graham made that ultimatum to the insurance companies-lower premiums or watch him go public. That takes real balls the like Lord could never dream of. Whether he means it or not is unknown, but its far from ‘doing nothing’. Legislation, unfortunately, is getting to be just an aside to the real work of governing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Scott, you don’t make sense. You criticize Graham, but he has only been in office for a couple of weeks. Then you defend Harper who has been on the job for 9 months and who has done next to nothing for NB.

    eg. How many Federal ministers have come to Saint John to look at the Harbour mess? How much have they actually delivered to help with that cleanup? I wondered if Harper might have made an announcement before the election to help out his supposedly “good buddy.” I, for one, don’t think they are or were such buddies.

    Graham has actually done more since he has come into office than I have ever seen another premier do in such a short time frame. If you want to criticize him for what he hasn’t done after 3 or 4 months, fine; but let’s wait and see.

    As for equalization, I would fully expect to see NB screwed on that one–and that would have happened whether Lord or Graham was premier.

  9. David Campbell says:

    I try, rather naively, to abstract things from the (P)olitics. Ultimately, I believe these guys/gals should be promoting NB if they can. For example, if Lord is indeed made Ambassador to France, I would like to think that would be a boon for New Brunswick. That Lord would work hard to line up French companies with potential opportunities in NB – despite the fact that S. Graham beat him. Call me naive and stupid – but I refuse to believe that Lord (or McKenna) would hold the people of NB hostage to partisanship. If McKenna can cash a chip that will help NB get ahead, he should do it. Likewise Lord. Why the crap were they in politics to begin with if not to try and move NB forward? As for Stephen Harper, I think we have to be realistic. Politically, New Brunswick means less to him than winning Greater Hamilton. I suspect they would like to win but you don’t see them doling out hundreds of millions to Greater Hamilton in the form of Equalization, EI and port infrastructure funding.

    I still maintain it is up to New Brunswick to craft a lucid and aggressive economic development program, double or triple levels of funding and then politely ask the Feds to come along side. If they don’t, go ahead anyway. If we wait for the great Stephen Harper (or Iggy or anyone else) to swoop down and fix our economic problems, I think we will be waiting a long time.

    As for the increasing hammering of our buddy Scott, while I don’t agree with all his points, he does make good ones – even skewed somewhat to his political positions. I can tell you that I glean good commentary from him. That goes for some of the anonymous’ posts – even though they can border on a pretty extreme level. What I like is informed debate and well-thought out positions (and our friend anonymous cannot be accused of not being informed) and civilized debate. This blog isn’t much in the grand scheme but there are a few dozen folks that have some power in the system that do read it – I know this because I have been told – and I think we are adding, in some small way, to the corpus of knowledge that should inch things in the right direction. Remember, not that long ago there was very little of this discussion in the public square and more often than not it was tightly moderated by guys like Al Hogan.

    So keep it up.

  10. to it and at it says:

    Wildly off-topic but of interest to David:

    The free magazine [here] says John Kricfalusi (creator of Ren & Stimpy) is seriously looking at establishing an animation studio in NB.

  11. scott says:

    … while I don’t agree with all his points, he does make good ones – even skewed somewhat to his political positions.

    A centrist has been accused of much worse. 😉

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dave, if you think I border on the extreme you really ought to widen your circle of friends! I’m positively middle of the road. I don’t think that was ‘increasingly hammering’ Scott, he made some comments there that were pretty outragious and was called on it, and is of course free to respond. Defending ANY politician is a tenuous exercise.

    I think one thing that can be established by the blog is at least people who post at least are pretty passionate about New Brunswick and the heaping helping of horse hockey being heaped by Hogan. Even if nobody agrees on anything, it makes for good commentary. What I’m liking is more and more posting about things that are going on.

    So without further ado, perhaps Mr. Campbell could provide a weekly ‘commentary’ on CBC’s new show “The Dragons Den”. Several people at the show have been maritimers and I think its a good discussion to be presenting. Entrepreneurship is a big thing nowadays and the internet makes it pretty easy for anybody to get initiative.

    It also shows that ACOA is not alone in messing up business deals, as many of these millionaires have bought into some bad deals, and some of the presenters are downright ludicrous.

    Another bonus is that any of the REALLY good ones would make great recievers of phone calls from Business NB. Trying to lure an up and coming company when they need money is a great way to keep them around.

    If nothing else, it would provide a needed boost to the entrepreneurial sector. Perhaps even a miniature contest for New Brunswick with winners applying for the show (they can do that anyway but this would be good practise)