An interesting example

I listen each week to New Books in History – a really interesting podcast that someone on this blog alerted me to a while ago.  This week’s podcast is an interview with an historian from Nippising University in Ontario about WW2.  Her name is Hilary Earl and the book is The Nuremberg SS-Einsatzgruppen Trial, 1945-1958: Atrocity, Law, and History.

Don’t worry, I am not diverting into blogging about the the second world war.  I try to keep things relatively on topic here.

No, my interest as it relates to this blog is Dr. Earl’s description of her early life.  She grew up in New Brunswick and attended UNB before moving away.

The interviewer is from Iowa so she was using the standard ways to describe New Brunswick as a small place, east of Maine that no one has ever heard of.  She went on to say that “most Canadians don’t even know where New Brunswick is”.  However, she had high praise for her education at UNB.

This is another great metaphor for New Brunswick.  A place no one has heard of (even Canadians) with some good universities that are incubators for folks looking to leave.

One can’t help but appreciate the irony of her comments in the context of her now living in Northern Ontario.  One suspects that both Nippising University and North Bay are not exactly the topic of household conversation in Kelowna or Red Deer.   But I digress.

She’s obviously a talented scholar and like so many NBers did have to leave to pursue her career.

I hope that some day her description of New Brunswick will be more flattering – something about a really neat place in eastern Canada that is doing really interesting stuff……   It would be interesting to have 1,000 expatriate New Brunswickers describe the province as they remember it.

While some would say this is beyond the scope of an economic development blog I am more convinced each day that culture, connectivity and roots matter in the context of economic development. 

I’m just having some difficulty connecting the dots but there is something about how Dr. Earl described New Brunswick that crystallizes 140 years of history.

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2 Responses to An interesting example

  1. > She’s obviously a talented scholar and like so many NBers did have to leave to pursue her career.

    Well that’s academia, though, and has nothing to do with it being new Brunswick.

    When I was in Calgary I had to leave to pursue a PhD, not because Calgary was a bad place, but because academics are expected to get experience in different places.

    We shouldn’t be concerned about exporting academics to other places. We should be asking how well our institutions attract academics from elsewhere here.

    This is, in general, a lesson people in NB need to learn. People who were born here aren’t some sort of higher-class citizens, more worthy to be here, more worthy to bring ‘back’ from other places.

    New Brunswick, if it is ever to be successful, must value the people who move here as much as the people who are born here. The province is still a long way from that though, as I can verify from experience.

  2. mikel says:

    To be fair, what do people know about PEI? It’s an island with beaches and potatoes. It’s distinction is having a famous book and red sand. What do people know about Manitoba? Only that Winnipeg is cold and you have to get through it to go out west. Ontario has Niagara Falls and Toronto, its where you go to find work if you don’t want to go all the way to Alberta.

    Virtually everything people ‘know’ about places has nothing to do with what its like to live there. That’s particularly true of Canada. In the US, people know about different states because states have VERY different political environments. Within states they are broken down mainly by sports teams and food. Within states you also find very different laws in various counties, even different taxation systems within the same state.

    That DEFINITELY creates a distinction. In Canada, most province have generally the same laws and structures, and within a province areas are virtually indistinguishable. Canadian cities are rapidly looking identical, go into any mall in the country and you’ll find the same stores, and the same restaurants.

    And of course NB is Canada’s ONLY bilingual province, which does mean something, but just because its contentious within the borders it doesn’t get the spotlight. Look at the ‘hype’ of any province and you’ll see that it bears little resemblance to reality, but thats the whole purpose of hype.

    And as I’ve noticed, it’s not just MY opinion about the dysfunction in Fredericton, as the news has often featured Atcon and NBPower, and even people here who know nothing of politics burst out laughing when the news featured the lastest announcement that Graham will have ‘public debates’ on a decision that he says will not change no matter what!

    Those of a certain age who know a LITTLE politics know NB as the poster child of the problems of our electoral system, with McKenna holding every single seat with only 60% of the vote. Two years ago Fairvote did a study that showed that even with really only two parties, New Brunswick had the most UNrepresentative Legislature in the country.

    That doesn’t even get into Irving, so it may actually be a blessing that NB isn’t more well known, because it would most likely be its dysfunctions.

    I’m not in NB anymore, so can’t comment on Mr. Downes experience-I DO know that I’ve often come across the “shut up, you don’t even live here” attitude-though it usually comes from people who disagree with the view, and it just as likely could have been “shut up, you damn commie”, or “shut up, you’re ugly and stupid”. That’s from the facebook group, though when people agree, then its “hey, its great to hear from ya”.

    I’m not sure how you measure personal ‘value’. The fact is that politically it makes no difference, a newcomer has as little power as somebody who has lived in the province all their life. It should also be noted that in many ways NB is ‘successful’, there is a danger of being TOO cynical.

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