Moncton joins Freddy in a titanic battle

Well, this will be fun. Fredericton and Moncton vying to be the world’s most intelligent community.

Both communities made the short list of 21 Intelligent communities.

Congratulations.

I’ll be curious to see how they get to the short list of seven but I will say this. They talk about a “culture of use”. Moncton’s use of telecommunications and IT to power economic development has been impressive over the past 20 years. In 1985, no one would have thought that Moncton would have 5,000 people working in the call centre biz and the largest IT workforce in New Brunswick.

That’s not to take away from Freddy Beach. The Capital city is one of the smartest cities in Canada (as measured by percentage of the population with a unversity degree). But Freddy didn’t have to transform the way Moncton did.

The reality is that Saint John has a similar story of transformation as well. Not that long ago I did a little review of the changing labour force structure in the big three cities and SJ had an almost 300% increase in its IT workforce over 10 years, Moncton had something like a 270% increase and Freddy only 70%. Now, of course, Freddy had far more IT workers in 1996 than either Moncton or SJ but now both SJ and Moncton have more – by a margin (although as a percentage of the labour force Freddy still has the highest percentage of the three).

So all three can make a case – I guess it’s up to the respective City Hall’s to make their case – now it’s about marketing.

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