He was in Cape Breton on Wednesday telling people – For every situation, there is some bad and some good, McKenna said, but people have to focus on the good. “The helping hand that you’re looking for here, as well as across the region, can be found right at the end of your own arm,” he said. “Nobody is going to come in and do it for us. On the other hand, nobody but nobody ever walked in and put a spot on our forehead and said you’re a doomed and disadvantaged people.”
He was in Saint John on Thursday telling the TJ “It would be an extraordinary act of leadership if we were able to get all of the Atlantic provinces moving together, creating a very significant reduction in taxes,” he said in an interview with the Telegraph-Journal Thursday.
“While individually we can make some incremental progress, we could make so much more progress together.”
He has become larger than life but I wonder if he has ever spoken candidly about his own misgivings about New Brunswick during his tenure? About the fact that population decline really started under his watch (the 15 year string of consecutive years of net out-migration started in the early 1990s). About the fact that beyond call centres his ED efforts had limited success. About the fact that his government was not able to craft a sensible economic development policy for northern New Brunswick. And, most importantly, why he was not able to permeate a culture of economic development throughout the civil service. After he left, the whole thing went down like water out of a tub (at least the enthusiasm for attracting business investment to the province).
I like his ambition for the Atlantic Provinces. And I think he was a good Premier. But I think many of the things he couldn’t address in 1988 are still plaguing us in 2008 and he should be talking about that.