Talking points

I see in the TJ that economic development folks are getting a little restless. Talking about the upcoming skilled labour shortage summit, several economic guys are stressing that it has to be more than ‘talk’ and actually result in tangible action. In my opinion, this is the on the ground view of most economic developers. There has been spectacular talk but not much action in the past year.

The TJ is also blaming the Feds for the lack of immigration in New Brunswick. The point they are making is that the system is not designed to attract tradespersons. While this is a real problem, it represents about 1% (in my opinion) of the issue. There are much more important issues. A number of other provinces have ‘deals’ with the feds on immigration. New Brunswick does not. New Brunswick, as a province, does not have a targeted immigration strategy. In Nova Scotia, officials are going to Costa Rica to attract accountants directly into the financial services back office sector – real, good paying jobs. New Brunswick’s immigration ‘budget’ is essentially nothing. There may be one or two persons involved in immigrations. Quebec has 100 employees working directly on immigration.

The Daily Gleaner is running a story about a psychic and his prediction about ‘self-sufficiency’. Keith Atkinson, a clairvoyant originally from Ottawa with 30 years of experience predicting the future, says ‘yes.’ “It will reach self-sufficiency by 2026 at least, and if Ottawa co-operates, it could happen before then,” Atkinson said at Fredericton’s annual psychic fair held on the weekend.

Even the psychics are already blaming the feds if we don’t reach self-sufficiency. We already have a fall back position if we don’t become self-sufficient. Blame the feds. Sounds like the same excuse from the last 140 years. Eventually, we have to take responsibility for ourselves.

And as for the psychic, remember that Rasputin was advising the Romonovs as they were in the midst of collapse. So I wouldn’t be too interested in the word of a modern day clairvoyant.

The CBC is reporting on India’s AV Group expanding their mills in Nackawic and Atholville, near Campbellton, so the facilities can produce dissolving pulp, used in making rayon. The world demand for that fibre has increased, while the market for others, such as cotton and polyester, is falling.

Two points. One good and one bad. On the good side, this could represent one model for adding value in a new way. On the bad side, I still remember the owner of the Nackawic mill forewarning that he may need more government money to survive. He said this on the day the mill reopened.

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0 Responses to Talking points

  1. NB taxpayer says:

    On the bad side, I still remember the owner of the Nackawic mill forewarning that he may need more government money to survive. He said this on the day the mill reopened.

    Very true, however, how’s this any different from what the self-sufficiency folks are saying these days?

    Let’s just say, the only way we’ll ever get any [significant] help come our way will be if we show that we can help ourselves first.

    And that won’t happen until the province is willing to make the tough decisions like cutting useless government programs, reducing the over presence of a bloated bureaucracy, attracting more private investment as well as lowering taxes both personal, corporate and small business.

    Until then, we will always be viewed as a province dependent on government handouts and high taxes to make things work. And why not, we still engage in that archaic style of governing.

  2. mikel says:

    I’m not sure the above is really justified, I don’t know of any investment companies that say “ok, whats your bureaucracy like” As claimed, people WANT more bureaucracy, at least more government intervention. Like David says, immigration requires government people to sell it. No government, no immigration, that’s pretty solid proof that is easily applied to other departments.

    But assigning blame is tricky. My suspicion is that as soon as it becomes a point where a problem is blamed on a different level of government, then its a failure in the structure of government.

    However, it IS true that people have to ‘help themselves’, although I’d be on the opposite side of NB Taxpayer. Because once again reality presents some interesting facts.

    So if you take five minutes and look where the feds put money, as has been mentioned numerous times, no such investment vehicles exist. However, when you ask WHY that is the case, interesting things come up.

    So again, take a look here in Waterloo at the Perimeter Institute. This was built with FOUR levels of government funding, but was backed primarily by the billionaires who own RIM.

    Now that its up and running it gets money from all the above, and as mentioned before, this one building gets more federal research money than all of New Brunswick.

    So now we can simply ask why there is no Perimeter Institute in New Brunswick. Well, for one thing, at the basic level, nobody has had the ‘vision thing’. It takes a person or group to push these things through, and when you have a mass exodus of people at a young age, guess what you lose?

    Then of course there are the bureaucratic problems. These have mostly been dealt with here in Waterloo because the ‘vision thing’ came from a billionaire who said he’d pony up the dough.

    So a relevant question to ask, is how often have you seen IRving or McCain, two companies that have received FAR more tax breaks than RIM, put up any ideas or money for the ‘knowledge economy’?

    Now, that doesn’t mean we can BLAME them, but when you look at other areas, it certainly explains why no such investment vehicles exist.

    It takes a lot of work, and a lot of government money to get such things, and about the only consistent blogging message that stays active in NB is the opposition to ANY government spending.

    So at the next level, there is a government that is essentially a minority government in numbers, which makes it extremely difficult to actually DO anything. Throwing money at companies losing money is a basic response, its better than losing them, and no different than the Nackawic Mill or Molsons.

    So i’d suggest that the ‘blame’ essentially goes to the structure of canadian government. Provinces blame the feds, municipalities blame the provinces, the feds say its not their business even though they have all the money.

    So its not like there is one guy saying “lets screw over New Brunswick”. At the same time, there is a reason that ‘blaming the feds’ has been around for 140 years. NO level of government, in fact no PERSON escapes blame, it is, after all, a free country.

  3. Danny D'Amours says:

    I agree that we need to start fending for ourselves and not rely on the federal government to help us out on every single little project.
    Why should the federal government be giving grants for arenas or convention centres? ACOA should be in the business of economic development not infrastructure development.

    I realize that infrastructure is sometimes required as part of economic development such as highway improvements but we need to think of federal contributions to projects as a bonus not as a pre-requisite.

    Otherwise we will always be blocked by bureaucratic shuffles and cause du jour. Also, if we rely on the federal government, we will always be at their mercy to get ahead. Just listen to Danny Williams in Nfld. and his opinions of how the federal gov’t has treated his province.