Come back, Frank

The TJ has a spirited editorial today that reads like an open letter to Frank McKenna asking him to run for Liberal leader.

If you Google this blog and McKenna you will see that I was a big supporter of much of his economic development approach. I was disappointed that he didn’t take a Jesus and his disciples approach and weave the focus on economic development into the fabric of the civil service so that when he left there wouldn’t be this giant sucking sound.

The post McKenna Tories took credit for it but the reality is that more call centre jobs were created under Lord than McKenna. The spade work was done by the former, the benefits reaped by the latter.

But the call centre industry has a shelf life (it seems after anther 550 announced this week the shelf life has been extended a bit) and both Shawn Graham and David Alward should be looking for another rainmaker economic development opportunity – and it likely isn’t energy. There will be no 12,000 call centre jobs waiting to greet a David Alward administration should he unseat the Liberals in 2010.

Back to Frank. There is something to be said about charisma and the ability to capture people’s imagination with a rousing speech. But the national stage is certainly different than little old New Brunswick. However, Frank has spent the last 12 years building a national and international profile so he is ready.

I agree with the TJ that Frank should run. I am not as worshipful nor do I think that a Frank McKenna PM would necessarily be that good for New Brunswick. The tired old model of more equalization and enriching EI would be tempting for him as well. For Frank McKenna to go abroad and promote Canada to global corporations and for some of them to set up in New Brunswick rather than Ontario or Quebec would be just as politically damaging to Frank (maybe more so) than any other PM. Most Ontarioans are willing to send transfer payments down here but manufacturing jobs? Not likely.

Just imagine the Toronto Star headline if the Telegraph-Journal headline was McKenna brings 1,000 aerospace jobs to Dalhousie. Imagine the National Post headline if the Daily Gleaner headline was PM McKenna delivers 500 Microsoft jobs to Fredericton.

Another Gordian knot, my friends.

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0 Responses to Come back, Frank

  1. Harold Jarche says:

    If Frank became leader do you think the media would make as much of a fuss about his inability to speak French as they did about Stéphane’s poor English? Plus ça change, mon ami.

  2. Anonymous says:

    BATHURST (CNB) – The Province of New Brunswick today announced that it will provide a $15-million loan guarantee to Blue Note Mining, to assist with the start-up phase of its caribou mining operations in Bathurst. The mine will employ 270 employees once the facility is fully operational.

    And one year later:

    BN – Blue Note Mining Inc. (TSE)
    0.01 -0.00 (-33.33%) 17 Oct 3:56pm ET
    Open: 0.01
    High: 0.01
    Low: 0.01
    Volume: 14,576,887
    Avg Vol: N/A
    Mkt Cap: 3.63M

    CLOSED.Bright people eh?

    Must be why NB only gives 200,000 toward keeping the young in NB but 15 million to a quebec flyby night outfit.
    Must have been the accent.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And forget mckenna.
    He hasn’t got it nor ever had it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What’s with the McKenna haters? He, like the premiers in almost every other province, reacted to the economic realities of the late eighties / early nineties. The only difference between Frank and others is that Frank got off his butt and went the extra mile as provinces like Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan teetered on the edge of New Zealand like bankruptcy, he kept us afloat.

  5. Rob says:

    I also think its strange that people assume that the deficit fighting that McKenna did in the 1980s and 1990s in NB will be transposed to a federal government with a surplus. I can’t say much about what he did in power, as I was busy w/ Ninja Turtles at the time. However, is it naive to think that the McKenna of 1987 may not be the same man as the McKenna of 2008?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yes the mckenna of the 80’s was a poor lawyer,raised by gran parents,and the departing from office mckenna was a multimillionaire.
    You figure it out!
    With a very happy Irving Aliant,Wackenhut,Yarn makers,Mulroney and his bilingual quest and the COR party.
    The defeated were TEACHERS,hospitals and their loss of decent food, schools,ordinary citizens,small companies,lack of highways,and the 1000’s that left.Besides me who never liked a two faced spinner.

  7. nbt says:

    I also think its strange that people assume that the deficit fighting that McKenna did in the 1980s and 1990s in NB will be transposed to a federal government with a surplus.

    The debt rose and spending increased under McKenna. At least that’s what the numbers would indicate from past budget docs that I dug up.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The fact that the Conservatives are out here criticizing McKenna says something–yes, they are afraid that he might run.

    McKenna was in office during a recession, as was Mulroney and Rae. Hard times, tough choices. All across the country, at the time, were cutbacks, wage freezes, wage roll-backs, and even Rae days. As a teacher, I sure wasn’t happy at the time with the wage freeze, but in retrospect, I guess it had to be done.

    I, for one, would welcome Frank McKenna as Liberal Leader of the Federal party. Both Rae and Ignatieff (especially him) are too divisive.

    I saw the President of the Liberal party (the guy with the funny red gasses) on TV today attacking Dion for not resigning immediately. NOW I see why many say that there are many more problems than the leader. Why do this PUBLICLY?? Good heavens, man, why try to eat your party alive? This would be enough to discourage anyone from running.

    Well, anyway, I do hope that McKenna decides to run.

  9. Anonymous says:


    The debt rose and spending increased under McKenna. At least that’s what the numbers would indicate from past budget docs that I dug up.

    [citation needed]

  10. Anonymous says:

    The fact that there is a surge of national suport (except Quebec) more than 10 years after he left office as Premier of NB, a place that many Ontarians would have trouble picking out on a map, is an illustration of why he should be a candidate. Hell, he is so widely respected he could proably make a run in US politics!

    The Liberals need a leader that can 1) Raise money, 2) unite the party, 3) energize the population (get out the vote), 4)make decisions and 5) plan and execute. It hardly matters if he has the smarts himself (look what that did for Dion) but he is smart enough to surround himself with good people and would score high marks on all of the above.

    Canada would be fortunate if he’d consider running. It has been a long time since we had a leader with such respect, capability and energy.

  11. richard says:

    What would convince to McKenna to throw his hat in the ring? Ego? He has things set up pretty nicely now – excellent income, respect, good job… Why toss all that for the hard slog as Liberal leader. Yes, he could crush Harper eventually, but why give up what he has now?

    In any event, McKenna might make a good PM, but I don’t see how having McKenna as PM helps NB. What NB needs is a Premier with a realistic plan to move ahead. We don’t have that now; no likelihood of Alward being any different, and no reason to believe that McKenna will descend from heaven with some magic formula.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of dreamers.And a bit far fetched thinking Ontario doesn’t know where NB is,says a lot for the rest of the paid programming.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Funny how quickly people forget that previous leaders, such as Paul Martin, were successful business people and millionaries.

    The reason successful business people run is a passion to make a difference and accomplish something (as suggested above, it is certainly not for the money). I suppose in some cases it is for power and control.

    The sad reality, despite best intentions, is that this passion results in disappointment when the leader’s enthusiasm is quelled by the progress-retarding civil service machine.