Stirring a wider pot

I finally went out and got a dog over the weekend. After years of hounding by my kids, I finally did it. A friend told us about a person in Nova Scotia who was trying to find a nice home for a five year old Tibetan Terrier.

So we went down to Hubbards and fell in love with this dog and brought it home to Moncton. Now, the lady who had the dog had taken it from a friend and apparently the dog had been neglected. Not physically, the dog was actually owned by a rich lady and had just gone through a $250 teeth cleaning – but they just didn’t take any time to train it, play with it, etc. And when we met the lady she told us the dog didn’t bark. It had been with her 2-3 weeks and it hadn’t barked once.

That didn’t bother us any. In a way, it’s an ideal situation. So we brought Oreo Jones (the dog’s name) home and for a couple of days nothing. No barking. Nothing. Then this morning, I take the dog out for a walk and we come face to face with a cat. The cat stops, recoils, bares its teeth and doesn’t move. Old Mr. Jones comes up to it (I hold the leash) and is about two feet away and is kind of growling. The cat doesn’t move. In fact, the cat actually lets out a little hiss and shakes its leg at Mr. Jones. That, it seems, was the last straw and old Mr. Oreo Jones, the pure bred Tibetan Terrier in all his aristrocracy let out the biggest roll of barking you have ever heard. I mean lights starting going on in houses up and down the street (it was 6 am).

The point is that this dog wasn’t going to bark for just any old thing. To get this dog to bark, you needed something really annoying. Something nasty. Something for which the dog had a Popeye moment and said “I can’t standz no more”.

Well I’d like to see a little more barking in New Brunswick. Not calculated posturing by politicians. Not smart arse newspaper editor intonations. Not smug think tankers. But the average Joe Q. Public, after being properly educated with the facts, becoming enjoined in a conversation about how we can push the ball down the field.

I continue to be amazed at the public apathy about the economic situation in New Brunswick. It’s like we have all given a collective shrug. Just a couple of months ago I talked with an MLA from a rural riding who told me he still gets 10 calls a day about stuff like potholes, unruly neighbours, having to drive to Moncton to see their doctor and none about economic development. No constituents asking him why their community is dying. None asking why we have had 15 straight years of out-migration (more moving out of NB than in). None asking why precious little is being done about it.

So, I take the opinion (naively to be sure) that who or whomever should be educating the public about this stuff is not.

Jeannot Volpe used to send every New Brunswick household an “economic update” paid for by the public purse in which he was obscure just about every ‘economic’ fact that should be of interest to the average New Brunswicker. Nary a mention about out-migration. Or population decline. Or the challenges in the forestry sector. Nothing about the lack of new economy industry development here. Nothing about the fact we are last in Canada for R&D. Nothing but skewed and massaged statistics designed to make everyone feel great about the province’s economy and by extension the government.

So, I have agreed to write a weekly column in the Telegraph Journal. To widen the net a bit. The Biz editor down there seems like a straight up guy. A guy that wants to broaden the discussion. Wants the TJ to be informative on a wide range of issues. So, I’ll serve some grist for the mill in the mainstream and hopefully direct more eyeballs this way to debate and argue in a more unstructured format.

I’m 40 this year (I mention for the 1000th time) and I am convinced more than ever that New Brunswickers are in a light sleep when it comes to the development of their province. Once in a while, we will get stirred out of that sleep and awake like a cranky bear after six months of hibernation.

Maybe we can use this litle vehicle to wake a few folks up.

Politicans – although not perfect – try and reflect the feeling of the electorate (that’s how they get voted in). So when Lord bragged about cutting spending in all areas except health and education, he believed that was what the people wanted. He thought he could tap into the angst over health care and make that the centrepiece of his government.

And now he is stumping for Ontario and Quebec Tories and angling for his own federal aspirations.

I think at a gut level, no one wants their community to go down. Even folks living in Moncton, I think, when they see the provincial data get an uneasy feeling in their stomachs. I think the crap-o-meter starts to creep up in most of our minds when we see the reality not matching the political rhetoric.

So let’s debate.

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0 Responses to Stirring a wider pot

  1. mikel says:

    Another blogger joins the IRvings. I wonder how many articles will be about Al Hogan or the Times.

    Do you honestly believe that New Brunswickers don’t KNOW about outmigration? Who do you think is leaving? Quebecers?

    New Brunswickers know full well who is leaving and how many, do you think they can’t count?

    Who do you think is dumb enough to ask an MLA, a guy who can’t even get a private members bill passed, to ‘get on economic development’. People have been taught for years that government is the worst ‘person’ to put in charge of economic development.

    At least a pothole has a chance of being fixed. Plus, if a person lives there then they probably have a job, which means why would they lobby for more people?

  2. richard says:

    Congrats on the TJ column. I’ll look forward to it, but wonder how much leeway you will actually get re certain sensitive (to the Irvings) issues. Good luck.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I also wanna throw my hat into the congratulations ring, David. I must say that you deserve the recognition.
    I hope, however, that your acceptance of the Irving shilling wont mean a dilution of your previously unbiased opinion. Do you really think that you will get away with writing something that doesnt pander to the Irving method? At least this way you can get a flavor of what goes on inside the monolith and I hope you dont get buried underneath it.
    Well done sir!

  4. NB taxpayer says:

    Congrats, David. Make sure you remain objective because we all know that bias is a problem in these parts and a big reason we are all in this economic mess in the first place.

  5. Charles LeBlanc says:

    Is there any non-Irving bloggers left????


    Bonne Chance!!


    Have fun!!!

  6. David Campbell says:

    Look, stop getting your panties in a knot here. What is an “Irving Blogger”? People have strongly held views one way or the other on this – and my opinions are well known. Just search through the archives. I don’t like too much concentration of power – economic, political or even religious. But the Telegraph Journal is a newspaper. They have asked me to contribute a weekly column. They have put no editorial constraints on me. I think that I can broaden the conversation I am trying to facilitate with this blog. When I write something you don’t like, by all means serve up your feedback but save your hysterical judgments until you actually read the thing.

  7. NB taxpayer says:

    I hope you are not referring to me as hysterical? I have nothing against Irving or you, all I’m saying is that I hope that you will put the province first when discussing economic issues in the Telegraph and not partisanship.

    Since the 2006 I have noticed a shift in your opinions, in that, you still blame Lord a year after he left the province. To me, that comes across as something you would read on a Blogging Tory site blaming Paul Martin or Chretien, that’s not being objective to the current situation. It’s passing the buck so to speak.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know where your bread is buttered during the week, but here’s hoping you’ll shed the entourage and speak out for what is right, not for what is popular in this province for entrenched politicos, academics and consultant.

  8. trevor says:

    Congrats on the article… When are you getting your H2 Hummer? 😉

    To your point of an agnostic electorate in relation to economic development, I relate it to the boiling frog syndrom. Whereas the negative impacts that are happening in our economy are being largely unoticed or ignored because the imediate threat is not there…

    We chose to treat the symptomes rather then the problems in this province and that has to change. For example, people who rally when their hospitals and schools close or are threathened focuse on health care or education, when the cause of the issue is a dying community which can no longer support such infrastructure.

    Just my observation, but if you do not have an economy then health care, education and services do not exists…

  9. mikel says:

    I don’t think that much up there counts as ‘hysterical’. That’s one thing to THINK that about monopolies, its another thing to actually WRITE it and have it printed in the paper.

    There’s both good and bad there though, but its not like David writes that much about Irving anyway, so its not he’s going to be ‘silenced’. However, Irving’s monopoly is well known, and its of course a scary thing when they not only control (and yes, they have editors, so its not like we can pretend its not control) the newspapers, the radio AND the blogging community.

    However, when there is a media monopoly we have to be practical and as David says, HIS message will at least reach a wider audience. And maybe more will come to his blog and see other comments.

  10. David Campbell says:

    I don’t “blame Lord” whatever that means but I do think we need to learn from the mistakes that were made under his administration. If you think no mistakes were made, then fine, let’s have that chat. Maybe Mikel has the best point of all. If more people come here via the column, they will see a fairly divergent view point. And as for my personal censure, all content here is fair game with the exception of personal smears and foul language. Other than that, no thought police. I don’t agree with many of the points, but I see little value in not putting them on the table. I remain hopeful that they are in the point-counterpoint mindset.

    One final point on the politics of the thing. I was accused on these pages of being a Liberal hack when I criticized Lord during his reign. Then when I criticized the current administration for not doing a whole lot in the first year (in the area of economic development), I was criticized for being a Tory hack.

    I guess now it is clear to most that I am just a hack. But I will applaud where I approve and criticize where I disapprove.

    Life goes on.

  11. NB taxpayer says:

    For the record, when it comes to the economy, real tories don’t agree with excessive subsidization policies and raising taxes.

    However, it doesn’t surprise me that they confused you with a Bernard Lord Liberal or a Shawn Graham Liberal. They were and are pretty much the same thing in NB. Happy status quoing.

  12. Alec says:

    I love it. Welcome to the club, D.C. I’ll be reading you in the funny pages.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Another Irving worm

  13. Danny D'Amours says:

    Congrats on the upcoming column.

    I’m looking forward to seeing some interesting topics and hopefully some eye opening.

    Now I’ll have to remember to check out the Telegraph for your column.

  14. Erick says:

    I moved out from Quebec to Moncton. Its great I like it but at the end of the day Montreal is not that bad, office vacancy rate down quikly, unemployment rate falls, both “Univeristy super-Hospital” project will start soon… anyway

    Out of topic

    Moncton Hit Hard

    AOL has decided to axe all positions for their US Win Tech queue. Effective 30 Nov 07, the Moncton center will no longer be in operation for the “US Business”. In total, about 140 technicians will be cut, as well as management and support staff. Overall count for Moncton is approx 175 people as of 30 Nov. 07.

    The beginning of the end of the call center era in New-brunswick ? I don`t know but a strongest dollar could be a unfavorable factor. In my mind this is just a start.

    Saint John and specially Moncton could be hit hard

  15. David Raymond Amos says:

    I am one Maritimer you can’t fool Davey Baby could it be because I am too stupid or you are that dumb?