If you build it, they won’t come. Aw shucks.

Just a quick note this morning. To the poster Richard, I deleted your comments by accident. I got a few from our friend the ‘troll’ as he/she now affectionately calls him/herself and hit the wrong button and all were erased. However, I’d like those comments back because Richard was relating his experience in Ontario. Good stuff. Repost if you can.

Alright, what’s new this morning?

The TJ is reporting that the Building Canada funding for New Brunswick is about to be announced. Here’s a clip:

“The deal will include road construction, sewer and water works and green environmental projects.”

Sometimes you just feel like you are beating your head against the wall.

If you did a poll in New Brunswick and asked whether we need economic development or better sewers what would be the response?

Yeah, you’re right – better sewers. But that’s our fault for not doing a better job of making the linkage between strategic and deliberate government spending to support economic development and a strong economy. Don’t get your nickers in a knot, I am not talking about bailing out another mill – you know by now what I am talking about.

As I have said before, this is another example of a national program being rammed down the throats of all provinces. Ontario and B.C. need more road infrastructure funding so let’s make a national program and demand that all provinces come up with projects to fit into it.

I will get emails but the same thing goes with the much heralded health care funding agreement. No one seemed to ever ask the question why does New Brunswick need all that new money for health care with no new population? Realistically, one would think that health care expenditures would have gone up by some cost of living variance over the past ten years – but double? With no increase in population? Come on. You know and I know that the feds came along and said here’s a health care accord – take it or leave it.

It would be nice if the Feds looked at each province and worked with those provinces on issues that mattered to the specific realities in that province. But, that would be the dreaded ‘side deals’ that Harper has savaged (and then did a few just to further his eclectic branding efforts).

So, look forward to better roads. Expect Graham to say that we need better roads to be self-sufficient. I hearken back to an Ontario colleague who visited NB a few years ago in the middle of the summer and said he couldn’t believe all the huge highways and hardly a vehicle on them.

My opinion on this has changed in recent months. I have told you that as I get older, I realize more and more how little I actually know. This is another one of those cases. We have had record investments in highways – which you might think would be correlated with economic growth – but nope.

My new opinion is that we need to figure out why we need new four lane highways before we start building them as opposed to my previous “if you build it they will come” thinking.

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0 Responses to If you build it, they won’t come. Aw shucks.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe its time to look to the Irish again. Several years ago they received over 4 billion euro or Irish pounds from the European Union to invest in infrastructure (roads etc). This was before the tiger hit and they needed money for other things like industry, economic development etc. They took the money and thanked the EU profusely and proceeded to spend the money on what was needed instead of what it was given for. Of course, they spent some of the money on roads etc but not all of it.
    Money for health could be ‘rebranded’ if it is not required and used to aid the health of the economy for example. Politicians are so good at dressing things up that they should have no trouble with this form of deception.

  2. richard says:

    “This was before the tiger hit “

    Perhaps without those euros, there would not have been a ‘tiger’.

    Part of the reason for the health dollars is, of course, the slowdown (relative to gdp) in spending on healthcare that occurred in the 90s. Some of this money is just catch-up to rebuild infrastructure. As a recent immigrant from ON, let me add that the healthcare picture in NB seems relatively good to me. ON is a bloody disaster.

    If your header re a deleted comment was mine on NB vs ON education, then this really ties in with healthcare in a way. NBers have an overly pessimistic view of both the healthcare and educational services they receive from government, IMHO. Yes things could always be better and clearly a region that has abysmal economic prospects will have a hard time providing for its citizens. But in the here and now, these two sectors aren’t quite so bad as one might think by reading the local press.

    WRT education; the school my daughter is in now in NB is far superior than the ON counterpart she was in a few months ago. In the ON school, teachers spent nearly a month preparing kids for the province-wide tests. Guess what? Their test scores went up! Likely they would score higher in these tests than the NB kids in my daughter’s school. Does that mean the ON kids are getting a better education, or that their teachers were ‘teaching to the tests’? The latter, IMHO.

    The biggest indicator of a child’s school success is family income. Want to improve NB kids’ education performance? Then raise the family income by promoting economic growth in NB. And stop wasting money on testing; that is just a cheap political game.