I hate to sound like a broken record on this but I continue to believe we need a serious research organization based in New Brunswick to study the reasons why New Brunswick has not prospered and policy recommendations to try and address these issues.
I just heard a podcast from the London School of Economics Spatial Economics Research Centre which was set up to study why certain areas of the U.K. are dramatically underperforming.
Now some of you will say there are already research institutes working on these issues at UdeM, UNB even Mount Allison. And I will say until I see a research theme entitled “Inward Investment From Overseas” I am not interested. If any of the research institutes in New Brunswick are actively studying inward investment and its role on economic development in the province, I would like to hear about it.
Of course the LSE is based in London but we can’t expect that Ontario-based unversities would actually be interested in studying why New Brunswick has chronically underperformed the rest of Canada in the area of economic development. They are either too busy reciting rote simplistic causes such as ‘dependency on government’ or doing ‘research’ to figure out how to free Ontario from the shackles put on it by subsidizing its poor cousins down east.
We need a well-funded, New Brunswick-based economic development ideas incubator that looks at the past – not as an academic exercise but to learn go forward lessons. We also need a best practices research institute that draws learnings for New Brunswick from the best of development around the world.
That does not exist today.