Hit in the arse with the dart

Have you ever walked through one of those pubs with the dart boards and worried some drunk will miss and hit you in the arse with a stray dart?

That’s how I feel this morning. First, I read the Danny Williams is going to give $1,000 bucks for everyone that has a baby in an effort to stimulate birth rates. Second, the head of the Post Secondary Commission in New Brunswick says the “north is dead” without the polytechnic institute model in northern New Brunswick.

Newfoundland & Labrador has the worst out-migration rate of all provinces in Canada. Having more babies will just provide more feet to beat the path out of the province.

Northern New Brunswick’s economy is in decline – rapid decline – and having a shiny new polytechnic may provide some value – it comes in far behind – in my opinion – real economic development.

I have blogged a gazillion times on this but I will reiterate:

What would a strong and successful Northern N.B. economy look like in 20 years and what, if anything, can government and community leaders do to help catalyze this growth?

I think we can safely agree that propping up dying industries, enhancing the EI program and holding on for dear life hasn’t worked.

I think I also mentioned one time that I did a significant economic study of a rural area in Atlantic Canada (not Northern NB) and found that as the economy declined, government started slowly pulling out – downsizing the hospital, closing schools, shutting down road maintenance sheds, etc. – becoming part of the problem.

Stop diddling around and think this through, folks.

But there is a lesson in here methinks:

Ask an educator what the problem is and he/she will say education (it’s what he/she knows)

Ask a small business owner what the problem is and he/she will say lack of support for small business (it’s what he/she knows)

Ask a health care worker what the problem is and he/she will say lack of health care (it’s what he/she knows)

Ask a social worker what the problem is and he/she will say lack of social support (it’s what he/she knows)

Ask a politician what the problem is and he/she will stick their finger in the wind to see which way it is blowing (it’s what he/she knows)

Am I wrong here?

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0 Responses to Hit in the arse with the dart

  1. mikel says:

    Aren’t you an economic developer?:)

    So here’s a thought from somebody who is NONE of those, who doesn’t even live there and has no vested interest.

    Here’s what we DO know.

    1. Just because something works in one place doesn’t mean it works in another.

    2. It primarily relies on the needs of the local population. This is being done a little recently,but only from the mayors. I don’t want to make the pitch for yet another ‘study’, but has ANYBODY ever just asked the people what they want? I’ve never seen it, of course strangely enough while Irving owns the papers up north, they don’t even feature them, or show them, at there CanadaEast website (kind of curious).

    3. Anybody who says (and who may not even live there), that the ONLY way to solve a problem is by X, should be fired IMMEDIATELY.

    That’s what we know. I agree with you that having polytechnics around accomplishes one thing, it supplies a few more jobs, and it keeps SOME younger people in an area for at least a little longer. That’s it, that’s all.

    However, once again, lets look at reality. Moncton is bursting at the seems, and Molsons is ‘bribed’ in at taxpayers cost-including northern New Brunswickers. It’s absolutely ludicrous to subsidize industries like that in areas that don’t need it (relatively).

    Again, this comes down to fairness. A whole department is moved to Saint John..so why not to northern NB? The province is running around screaming energy like nobody’s business, why NOT do the same about animation for Miramichi?

    And in the story about cancer research they talk about how much private research money has been pouring into their new institute in MONCTON. Again, these new initiatives should be in the north, or at the very least should be tied to the north. Miramichi is only an hour and a half from Moncton, there is no reason some research shouldn’t be done there.

    But we KNOW what will happen if the north even TRIES to build up anything that ‘may’ compete with southern cities. You are cry bloody murder and claim that NB is not big enough to support two centres doing anything remotely similar. I said last post that the cooperative model works far better than the competitive one, but that requires YOU get involved. Municipal councillors have far different priorities than the population, they want to add to the tax base, thats it.

    Meanwhile, property tax skyrockets, and you get far more congestion and traffic. Maybe some economic developers may like it, but for most people its just a pain in the butt.

    However, we KNOW that the government doesn’t want growth in the north any more than Canada wants growth in NB. The labour force is SUPPOSED to be mobile. Thats why I doubt these educational models will be particularly useful in the north.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No, David, you arent wrong. I know of many instances in which what you say is bang on the money. The dart analogy is very interesting in that if people went around hitting other people with darts in the arse invariably some politicians would have their heads pierced as that is where most of their heads are most of the time.

  3. richard says:

    “but has ANYBODY ever just asked the people what they want?”

    I am sure those without jobs or with low-paying jobs would like to get Departments and anything else that creates jobs.

    Surely the focus should be on how to get more people to move there, not simply on what people already there want. Shipping off government depts or cancer research moves jobs around (at a cost) but does not add anything to the province.

    Moncton is ‘bursting at the seems’??? Perhaps comapred to the Miramichi, but not to Waterloo ON, Burnaby BC, or anywhere’s else west of Riviere du Loup.