Graham goes to Bay Street

The T&T and the TJ are both reporting this morning on Premier Shawn Graham’s trip to Bay Street with former Premier Frank McKenna. I think this is great. 80% of sales is tied to relationships.

However, I really think the province has to do a lot more ‘product development’. When Frank went to Bay Street in the 1990s he was selling high unemployment (lots of workers), lots of real estate (cheap office space), NBTel (a leading telco) and relatively low cost, bilingual labour. That mix allowed him to start growing the call centre sector which has become an 18,000 employee industry in New Brunswick (if it was classified as an industry it would be one of our largest).

What is Shawn selling these days? Low unemployment, a shortage of workers in key skills areas, almost no available office space and a call centre industry with increasing turnover challenges.

So, back to my 564 posts about product development. The Premier needs to go to Bay Street with a well defined plan for workforce development, expatriate attraction, targeted immigration and other highly targeted plans for sector development so that if a firm invests here (consider RIM in NS and AIM Trimark in PEI), they will know that going forward there will be a workforce and environment here conducive to growth.

And to Anonymous’ point, we do need to seriously look at Northern NB. Not by ramming projects up there with egregious bags of money. Not by guilting firms to put plants or facilities up there. By clearly defining a value proposition and strategy for individual regions in the north (i.e. animation in Miramichi, language translation/locationization in Shippigan, wood products research and value added manufacturing in Campbellton or some such thing).

If you are selling a Lada or Yugo, no matter how good the salesperson or the cash back programs, you are still selling a Lada or Yugo. We need to work on our product and get it up to at least the level of a Hyundai or KIA. Then you have something to sell and a great sales guy/gal will get results.

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0 Responses to Graham goes to Bay Street

  1. Anonymous says:

    Tie a community to ONE industry? Gee, flashbacks of forestry or fishing anyone? Read the damn posts before replying. It has nothing to do with guilt, it has to do with partnerships. Virtually every company has a deal with the province to provide/buy a service. It seems ironic that what you are saying to do for New Brunswick you won’t say to do for the north. When a company expresses an interest in growth or relocation, you simply ask what it would take to move them up north. What do you think those EI programs in Ontario are for? They are partnerships to train workers for auto plants. The same applies here, how many high school students graduate from Campbellton each year? How many do you think stick around? If Ameris or whatever needs Java programmers, then you simply say “hey, what a coincidence we have a program to train new graduates in Java”. The point is what David is saying about facilities, namely, YOU NEED THE PROGRAM. And if not, you need at the very least to say that if they want perks from the government, it will come a lot easier if they are flexible.

    All those ‘things’ McKenna was selling still exist in the north. Cheap workforce, cheap land, bilingual staff, low wages, etc. So that selling point DOES exist, just not for the high representational areas. Hopefully as a rep for Kent County Graham will realize this, but there’s a reason that northerners feel screwed over in this little federation-because they are. Because when it comes to getting investment for NB it means Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John.

    Animation can of course be done anywhere, in fact you don’t even need a building. The kinds of people that get into that business are the kind that CRAVE what they do. They could be working from their house in anytown. Ask a kid how interested they are in video games, ask an artist how much they like to draw. You don’t need to tie an industry to a location, that’s just silly. Industries come and go, virtually the first rule of ANY type of investment is ‘diversify’.

    As for going to Bay Street, Lord spent three quarters of his time travelling but that was hardly mentioned here, so let’s not pretend this is wonderful news.

  2. scott says:

    I have recently read one of Donald Savoie’s books and I know what he thinks…

    You read one of his books and suddenly you know what he thinks. Wow, I didn’t realize that Mr. Savoie was so intellectually thin that all his thoughts could be crammed into 329 pages. 😉 I guess I’ll go rip up all his other 40 journal articles and 7 books that I have on economic development and government as it seems one only needs his most recent stuff to know what he’s thinking.

  3. MonctonLandlord says:

    I just hope the chairman for New Bunswick (Premier Shawn Graham) brought a top Deputy Minister (CEO-like) along to make the actual sales pitch.

    What do bloggers think? The important question is: What should be the role of Deputy Ministers (such as Business New Brunswick) (or the potentially new Department of Economic Development)?

    Does NB have non-partisan DM? Or did the 5-6 DM layoffs a month ago replaced with campaign managers…? Speaking of which, where is Barb Winsor these days?

  4. Anonymous says:

    What’s this about Donald Savoie? Did I miss something?