Economic development is about your neighbourhood

Once in a while, I will get an email or blog post from an irate reader that is unpostable.  As I have said before, I don’t post comments that include overly foul language or nasty personal attacks.

Yesterday, my interlocutor once again suggested I was in the pockets of big business at the expense of the people and I should be ashamed of myself or something similar.

This stuff doesn’t bother me that much – although the assertion back during the NB Power debate that I had a Swiss bank account full of payoffs was, at least, creative.

But it is at these times I feel the need to reiterate for new readers my view on this.

I don’t really care too much about big corporations, millionaires or other holders of capital.  They are going to invest their capital where they think it makes most sense (risk adjusted returns).  That is why almost all of yours and my RRSPs and pensions (for those of you lucky to have one) are invested anywhere but New Brunswick. These are big boys and girls and they can take care of their own capital.

Economic development is about good jobs for normal New Brunswickers.  It’s about fostering enough economic activity to pay for the public services we all want.  Economic development is an enabler of other aspects of our personal and community lives that we hold dear.

I know for some people that distinction is hard to grasp.  They will freely crap all over the business community – probably even knowing it will sour them on investing here – but they still do it in the name of the ‘people’ – standing up against the greedy corporate interests.

Sure there are some nasty entrepreneurs – and we need to have the laws and regulations to protect people but we also need to understand that without businesses investing their capital here we won’t have the jobs or the taxes that we need exposing us even further to the risk of transfers and the overall risk of apathy.

In the final analysis, I guess I am maybe a bit too pro-business – whatever that means.  I appreciate those businesses that invest their capital here rather than elsewhere.  I particularly like businesses that pay great wages, offer rewarding careers and take their social responsibility seriously.

But as far as I know there is no Swiss bank account with my name on it.

In the final analysis, I see my work as socially meaningful.  I realize others will laugh at this but so be it.  That guy in my church whose daughter had cancer and he was so thankful that he could stay in New Brunswick and be around his family because he got a job with company x – a company that I had personally worked to bring to the province – that mattered to me.  It was a slap in the face moment that economic development matters.

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2 Responses to Economic development is about your neighbourhood

  1. mikel says:

    Good post, sorry to respond but I really do just have to say that your problem is NOT that you seem to be on the side of ‘big business’. That’s fine, and most people can support that, because at some level most people work for them (government is MUCH bigger than most ‘big’ business).

    The problem is one I have pointed out before. Its NOT that you take the side of ‘shale gas’ or Quebec Hydro, its that you OVERTLY set yourself up in that camp by even refusing to acknowledge that protestors or people with a different opinion can have an equally defensible opinion.

    It’s when you do things like say protestors are ‘simply misinformed’ or have ideologies not based on fact, and then the next day make claims like “I trust our government to…”. THAT is where the chief problem comes in. It’s one thing to voice an opinion, its also one thing to have an opinion thats different from other people’s, but when you go the NEXT step and say “this is why YOUR opinion is stupid” that it sounds like you are in the pocket of big business.

    So in some cases, like with Charles Leblanc and I suspect most people, you are your own worst enemy. It’s true that there are SOME people who will call somebody a name just because they disagree, but in this case I can at least see why somebody would make such a claim, I’ve sometimes thought it myself, and I’m a pretty big cheerleader of this blog and not much of a fan of big business.

    So to repeat what I’ve said before, as an ‘objective’ economic development blogger, you should at least have ONE blog praising the shale gas protestors who have managed to wring out profit sharing from the gas company. Any way you look at it that’s a concession that would not have come willingly, and that keeps money in the province. It’s true that nobody should expect you to take the side of protest in general, since IF they succeed then a viable industry will be lost, however, in this case protestors have done what the economic developers who work for government SHOULD have done.

    If you tone down YOUR rhetoric then you don’t have to worry about being accused of anything (and at least you aren’t calling any critics ‘fascists':)

  2. mikel says:

    PS: When I say “I sometimes thought it myself” I am NOT referring to the swiss bank account:) And its true, SOME people just get way too livid, like those who were accusing Shawn Graham of siphoning off billions from NB Power for his own slush fund. I suspect if Shawn Graham had a billion dollar slush fund he wouldn’t be showing up at the legislature anymore.

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