Why the NB Tories need a new leader

I can say the self-sufficiency plan is likely too ambitious. So can professors at UNB. So can pundits and journalists. But the Leader of the Opposition has to be a lot more politically correct, in my opinion. Here’s an excerpt from the TJ article this morning:

New Brunswick will find it next to impossible to achieve the economic growth Premier Shawn Graham’s self-sufficiency agenda is counting on, argues Opposition leader Jeannot Volpé – who says New Brunswickers intuitively know it.

“That theme of self-sufficiency – a lot of people are starting to laugh about it now,” Volpé said Tuesday.

“I don’t think we can attain this kind of growth in New Brunswick,” said Volpé, who was finance minister for several years under former premier Bernard Lord.

You see, the problem here is that Volpe is suggesting that New Brunswick can’t achieve strong economic growth. That we can’t compete. That we can never be self-sufficient. In fact, he thinks people are even laughing at the idea.

Under Volpe’s tenure as Finance Minister, Canada went through an unprecedented level of economic and population growth. In New Brunswick, all we could manage was a slight population decline and a significant increase in dependence on Equalization (the opposite of self-sufficiency). So, it is only natural for Volpe to be skeptical – even laughing – at this objective.

But politically, the Tories need a leader that can cast a vision for New Brunswick that is growth oriented. That talks to rebuilding our communities. And, yes, to getting the province on a more stable, own source revenue-driven fiscal situation.

Casting a ‘can’t do’ vision for New Brunswick should not be the goal of the Opposition Leader.

He/she can disagree with how the governing party is doing things – in fact that is in reality part of their job – but they must provide an alternative view.

I think New Brunswickers are sick and tired of being the arse end of Canada economically speaking. I think they are tired of watching their friends and neighbours going down the road. I don’t think they are overly militant or passionate about it – after all – most of us that are left are working – but I think New Brunswick’s political parties – if they want to attract voters – need to start seriously addressing these issues.

I think this is key for the next Tory leader.

And I think this is key for Shawn Graham. I predict that if after four years we are no further ahead on self-sufficiency; if our population is still stagnant and if the vast majority of our communities are still shedding population; his government may be in jeopardy.

I think that gone are the days of an automatic 10-15 or even 17 years for a Premier in New Brunswick. Look at 2003. After only one term, former Premier Lord just hang on by the skin of his teeth.

I predict the same fate awaits any Premier these days that talks up a storm (prosperity plans, etc.) but is seen to be doing very little.

So, I am looking forward to the Tory convention and election of a new leader. We need to get beyond the Volpe years.

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0 Responses to Why the NB Tories need a new leader

  1. The Virginian says:

    The problem with what needs to be done whether at the federal, provincial or worst at the municipal level to encourage, promote, intervene in economic development, is somewhat simple, but yet mostly too complex for the average taxpayer. Soooooo…if your in politics, you’re there to be reelected (I don’t agree, but it is what it is). You make a lot of intelligent, meaningful statements about “self-sufficiency and alike….but at the end of the day you have to do what is good for the party.
    Look at what is happening in Dieppe, the fastest growing city in East of Ontario.
    T&T all over them, a small group of people (run for office) making lots of noise (very negative for economic development) and now their council probably felt obligated to back off on the water issue because of all that negative press. A bad decision that will affect all of South East N.B. lokking 15 t 20 years down the road.
    See that’s the challenge…explain to people why you have to look over the steering wheel far away while using your peripheral vision to see what is happening close you.
    But in provincial politics we will do what we haave done for too many years now…elect a green horn who has very little if any private industry or business experience. Someone who is looking for a “political career” opportunity.
    But then again what do you expect when you pay peanuts..okay maybe cashews for some of you.
    Now all you left wing socialist can chime in about how bad private industry is for our society, and how global business is ruining our life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think Volpe is positioning himself for leadership of the NDP.

    Let’s see, the ideal candidate would need to shoot down every idea the government in power presents without offering practical alternatives ….I think we have a winner!