What’s the word?

I’m looking for the word. Is it hubris? No. Not quite. Arrogance? No. Not really. Audacity, brass, cheek, chutzpah, cockiness, conceitedness, contemptuousness, disdain, insolence, loftiness, nerve, ostentation, overbearance, pomposity, pompousness, presumption, pretension, pretentiousness, self-importance, vanity?

Not quite.

Frank McKenna makes a rousing speech on Friday on his ideas for education and the importance of education to New Brunswick’s future.

It was full of all the old cliches. The same ones I heard in 1990. 1995. 2000. 2005.

You know them. “New Brunswick can compete on a world scale”. “We need to build the best system in Canada”. “New Brunswickers have what it takes”.

On and on. I expected him to roll out the bootstraps metaphor.

Yet, here we are 20 years on from the McKenna ‘miracle’ and we are still last in Canada for education. In 1987, the population was rising. Now it’s declining.

McKenna was a ‘champion’ of the new economy and, yet, if you back out call centre jobs, New Brunswick has either the smallest or the 2nd smallest IT sector in Canada. And there has been very little done in practical terms to remedy that.

So, I think I am changing my mind about what I want to see in a politician (Tories listen up).

I think we need a provincial government that talks about incremental change. About slowly starting to rectify things. About putting us us back on the rails. About moving from 10th to 9th among provinces for R&D – not worst to first.

Because all this – whatever word you want to use – had got us nowhere. If I had a nickel for every proactive word uttered by McKenna, Lord and now Graham, I’d be a millionaire yet in real terms (as a percentage of the budget) they are spending less on economic development and less on research & development today than they were 15 years ago.

I’m 40 this year. I’ve spent my entire career so far in New Brunswick – in and around economic development and I am getting fed up with this crap. I really am.

I don’t think I have the stomach for one more speech.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to What’s the word?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m looking for the word. Is it hubris? No. Not quite. Arrogance? No. Not really. Audacity, brass, cheek, chutzpah, cockiness, conceitedness, contemptuousness, disdain, insolence, loftiness, nerve, ostentation, overbearance, pomposity, pompousness, presumption, pretension, pretentiousness, self-importance, vanity?

    Not quite

    No, its not any of the above. It is simply more rhetoric. Its a speech designed to inspire and inflame. Motivational if you will. Its a simple idea and has been used in NB for years now to keep the general populace happy. We have no money and nothing to look forward to but the politicians tell us good things and we quieten down.
    The rich get richer and the rest of us stay the same but we have potential and this makes us happy while we continue to do our shopping in Frenchys.
    How can we compete on a world scale when Irving wont let us? Do you think for one minute that Irving would allow us a vision of what it is like to live in an open economy?
    Do you think that Irving will allow the system to change to make it the best system in Canada?
    If you do you are living in Fantasyland.
    We need to be part of a G7 economy, share a border with a major economy, share traditional links with old world powers like Europe, UK etc. We also need natural resources like forestry and gas, we need a viable deep water port and an international airport. Hold on a minute! We already do!
    New Brunswickers HAVE what it takes. The trouble is that it is not as much as it used to be. Irving took it from us years ago and now will take it from our children.

  2. richard says:

    “I’m 40 this year. I’ve spent my entire career so far in New Brunswick “

    Well, I’m 56, left NB in 1974 and might be returning in a few months, but I will tell you that you will hear the same crap from politicians in every province. It’s just crap on different subjects (sometimes).

    NB does not have the political clout that ON does to get the now-expired Auto Pact (which kept southwestern ON from turning into an economic basket case), nor do we float on a sea of oil like AB. That means politicians and bureucrats in NB have hard work to do if they want to change things.

    Incremental change, yes, but change based on a sound strategy with achievable goals. So what is the appropriate strategy? That is the question. Just saying you want ‘sustainability’ in x years is not a strategy. That is just a vision without any metrics.

  3. sc says:

    There will come a time when you won’t be able to sit idly by [anymore] and watch the local politicians, old and new, spin there way, and our province, into economic oblivion.

    I don’t mean that you are doing nothing as I know many ppl that think your ideas and advice are far better than what they have been hearing for the last 30 years. I just mean, your ideas may be better off at the highest level and coming straight from your mouth. If you know what I mean.

  4. sc says:

    Getting back to McKenna for a moment. I can’t say I blame him for becoming more public on so-called issues that Harper tends to be weak on, especially since there is growing speculation that [he] will run after Dion is finally put out of his misery.

    The only thing that worries me about a possible McKenna run for prime minister is what it could mean for New Brunswick if he does not succeed at defeating Harper. (and there is a pretty good chance of that since no premier has ever been successful at the federal level)

    I guess what I mean is if he and his party [Liberals] wage a full out assault against Harper and his style of federalism, the end result could be disasterous for this province’s relationship with Ottawa. In other words, it could mean the ultimate collapse of the self-sufficiency agenda, people losing faith in politicians, not to mention, a complete loss of hope for the region.

    It’s a huge gamble with a lot at stake…win or lose.

  5. David Campbell says:

    A couple of interesting points. It is more rhetoric, but I am looking for the underlying motivation. Does McKenna think that speech 1,741 is actually going to sink in? I wish I had a transcript of McKenna’s speech when he announced he was leaving politics. As I recall it was a more negative tone than before or after.

  6. mikel says:

    I think you misunderstand rhetoric and its purpose. Why do you think politicians talk like that? Why do you think that virtually no media will mention the numerous points you mention at this blog?

    Politicians talk like that because thats the only way they CAN talk. Can you imagine if McKenna said the things you say? He’d be pilloried in the press (I think thats the word).

    Why do you think that Graham has more ‘commissions’ than you can shake a stick at. Because if HE came out with these suggestions then he’d get slammed. Don’t you (generic you) think its odd that most of these commissionaires work for nothing yet the liberal party never got them to do anything while in opposition?

    Read the report and like I said, most of it is a plea to get NB caught up to the rest of Canada. In a democratic system all these points would be things that people would be deciding on when they actually vote. Otherwise, whats the point of voting? Basing a vote on promises that later turn out to be lies pretty much invalidates the entire exercise.

    There is just too much risk in saying anything. We’re almost at the point where I think a lot of people would freak out if a politician DIDN”T talk like that.

    But to point a finger, theres a reason why virtually all the legislation has to do with resources. That’s Irving and UPM calling the shots. To get other legislation people have to lobby for it, and nobody is. Like I said many times, ‘we’ wanted a change to the residential act and we got it from two guys on welfare lobbying. At some point when people are wondering why their views aren’t getting expressed, the finger points at the people themselves. It’s a democracy (sort of) people, if you don’t lobby for representation, you won’t GET representation, simple as that. If people aren’t calling for it, then the government simply has no need to go out and look for more contentious things.