Predictable Al Hogan

I can’t be too wordy this morning, I am running off to the kid’s Christmas concert but a couple of things. One, Al Hogan served another softball up to the Libs this morning in the editorial. You have to agree with me that when Al loves you, you are loved but when he turns, you had better run for the hills.

New Brunswick Finance Minister Victor Boudreau and the government of Premier Shawn Graham unveiled a generous capital works budget for the province yesterday, focussing the bulk of the funding on two crucial infrastructure areas: roads/highways/bridges and health care. Of the total $486 million capital budget, a whopping $325.9 million will go to improving our roads, highways, and bridges. That’s 67 per cent of the total. And while the exact projects and amounts must wait for departmental spending estimates, we do know that these funds will include fixing the last bad stretch of Highway 126, addressing the rutting problem on Highway 15 between Shediac and Moncton, and additional funds to ensure Mapleton Road widening in Moncton. If the rest of the highways money is as well-directed, New Brunswickers will have been well served. Our self-sufficiency depends on safe, reliable, well maintained highway infrastructure.

Why I dislike this is simple. I am turning on this notion of pouring hundreds of millions into roads while cutting economic development spending or any efforts to bring our communities and their economies into the 21st Century. It may have been cute before but now it’s just getting annoying – to me at least. I’d rather drive on potholes and beat the crap out of the underside of my Passat and get to the Miramichi and see a thriving, new economy with animation studios, R&D, data centres, a college humming with hundreds of kids ready to be turned onto the streets of the Miramichi for jobs right there than skimming over beautiful highways to reach the Miramichi and find boarded up mills and the smell of desperation.

As for the Telegraph Journal, there is a wonderful piece in the Business Section on…..

All jokes aside, there is a good opinion piece on the importance of branding but – I hate to sound like an old record here I really do – you gotta have something to brand. Slapping a new coat of paint on a Yugo doesn’t change that it is a Yugo.

There is another story that Saint John is the second-least attractive city in Canada for immigrants. Halifax and St. John’s get much better marks. Moncton, apparently doesn’t have enough immigration to be included in the study (or the Conference Board forgot to notice that Moncton is now a CMA). Anyhoo, I think issue must be addressed. There is no doubt if we start to see a turn in the economy, we will need to have the workers to feed it and just trying to attract back all the exNBers will likely not be enough.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Predictable Al Hogan

  1. mikel says:

    For comparisons any idea what other provinces spend their capital investments on as a percentage? Thought I’d ask before I did a search.

    That pretty much confirms my point that besides Irving one of the main ‘special interest’ groups running the province is highway construction companies. That’s true of municipalities elsewhere, but no provinces in general.

    It’s interesting that there is no debate on whether to make those highways into ‘P3’s, perhaps having a toll of 50 cents from Moncton to Shediac, since again, the investment in highways up north has done little. Ever since the trans canada fiasco there has been no more talk of p3’s in highways, just because Lord won an election it is assumed that that is what New Brunswickers want. Meanwhile, P3’s are the order of the day on new hospitals. How about asking New Brunswickers whether they want their health care p3’ed or their highways (if it HAS to be one or the other, which I doubt)

  2. David Campbell says:

    To the person who posted the nasty comment about Mikel, it will not be posted. While we disagree – sometimes vehemently – Mikel seems to give a crap about this province and actually takes the time to post thoughtful comments. Give me 10 more Mikels and I’ll trade you 1,000 folks who have intellectually given up on this province.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Attracting back the NBers will likely not be successful for a significantly long period of time — if ever. Ask those NBers who have returned to NB recently how many returned because of reasons related to family (elderly parents, young children who need babysitting, etc.). And how many returned because economic (job) prospects attracted them away from Toronto/Calgary/Vancouver/etc.