I had a 1,000+ word blog all penned around the theme of trying to understand why New Brunswickers have a primarily hostile perception of business – particularly ‘big’ or ‘international’ business. I had taken a look at all five political party websites and found populist, anti-business rhetoric on four of them – including the new People’s Alliance scorning foreign investment and calling New Brunswickers ‘peons’ well – here’s the quote:
“We will be wandering around once more, hat in hand, looking for a new knight on a white charger who will come to rescue us poor NB peons in exchange for exploiting our resources”!
What resources AREVA will be exploiting is beyond the point. Why ruin a good piece of populist rhetoric with little old facts?
Then the transition to the fact that 3/4ths of the residents in the Gulf region of the U.S.are against the ban on offshore drilling even after the horrific realities of the BP spill. Person after person interviewed on the TV program talking about how important companies like BP and the oil industry are to the quality of life and standard of living in the Gulf region. Even the normally jaded journalist seemed surprised by this.
But in New Brunswick attracting a BP or an AREVA or whomever – even without a tragedy like that oil spill – makes us peons.
Then I watched that movie Inception – another movie where corporations are portrayed as doing anything to steal secrets from their competitors.
We are bombarded with messages – politicians, media, movies, documentaries, etc. that portray the for profit enterprise segment of our society as inherently malevolent (saving for some positive rhetoric for the small business) and that the role of government is to protect us from business.
This is not a New Brunswick issue but it sure is firmly entrenched here.
But like the movie Inception, in the end it is about ideas. We organize ourselves and our societies around a few main themes and everything we do pivots off those themes.
My idea is that New Brunswick needs more business investment and more industry to broaden our tax base and keep our population modestly rising. We need to have more balance between the public services we want and the tax revenues our economy can generate.
And that means orienting our public policy and our community efforts towards attracting that investment and industry.
What the Peoples’ Alliance and all the other parties won’t tell you is how they would address our economic development challenges. They talk in vague generalities but if they ever got into power we would end up with more variations on the same theme.