Attitude: We can do better, says Lord

This was the sub-heading in a Telegraph-Journal article today. The gist of the article:

New Brunswick has lost its can-do attitude and that’s its biggest obstacle to future prosperity, says the man in charge of hustling jobs for the province.

Eloi Duguay, a businessman brought in by the provincial government to be the top mandarin for its economic development efforts, said the province needs an injection of confidence and a global perspective to convince itself that it can be among the best in the world.

Duguay, who has worked out of Toronto as president and executive vice-president with Pattison Sign Group until 2005, has been deputy minister for six months. He said he is convinced that New Brunswick companies can compete with anyone in the world if they can overcome negative messages about the province.”We’ve been told by people from outside of our region that we’re lazy, (that) we receive handouts from the federal government. And that doesn’t help.”

Premier Bernard Lord has defended his government’s record, noting the province’s that historically low unemployment rates, and adding that New Brunswick had Canada’s second-highest increase in weekly earnings in the past seven years.

“Perhaps one area where we’re still not doing enough is letting people know how things have changed and improved,” Lord told the Telegraph-Journal. “I think we can do a better job getting the message out.”

The problem here is simple. It is hard to fake a positive attitude. It can be done but it’s hard. Most people that are in the ‘promoting NB’ biz realize that things are ‘improved’ as the Premier would like NBers to believe:

The population is in decline – has been since 1998. This overarching trend is a drag on attitude.

Many of our traditional industries are in decline or on the verge of decline – leaving serious uncertainty.

Income levels are up but by my calculations the thousands of public sector jobs are artificially driving up these levels.

We are getting more and more dependant on Equalization and Transfers every year. We are not generating even a fraction of the own-source revenue needed to fuel the ever expanding government.

Our job creation rate is among the worst in Canada.

And, finally, I will comment – once again- on that ‘lazy’ and ‘handout’ thing.

First on the ‘handout’ thing. Premier Lord has been, by far, the largest advocate of more ‘handouts’ from Ottawa. In fact, I have to read national newspapers for my job and he is quoted 10 to 1 more than other Atlantic Premiers – demanding more Equalization – shouting about our ‘Constitution right’ to more Ontario and Alberta tax revenue. That – more than any other factor -by far – is why we are seen nationally has begging for ‘handouts’. I for the life of me can’t figure out why Premier Lord wanted to be so visible on this issue. It will hurt his national ambition and will damage the reputation of the province.

Second, the ‘lazy’ thing. As I have said before, in the 30s and 40s, when you went to Boston or Toronto or Alberta for a job – just saying you were from New Brunswick was enough. That automatically meaned you would be a hard and loyal worker. N0w, being from New Brunswick does have that taint of laziness – percieved. I went to a job interview a few years ago in Alberta (a white collar job) and was told by the interviewees that ‘we do things differently around here’ and other such comments. I came to realize they were questioning my work ethic.

How far have we come.

Bill Belliveau unleashed a strong defence of the EI program in today’s Times & Transcript. He called it critical to the success of many of our industries.

Fair enough, Bill. But it doesn’t change the fact that upwards of 100,000 New Brunswickers – on a workforce of 350,000 – avail themselves of the EI program at some point during the year.

I would never advocate severe changes to the EI system. That would throw the economy into chaos and literally close many of the province’s communities.

But I would like to acknowledge that there is a ‘better way’. A way based on year-round employment. Remember the 1940s that I mentioned above? There were seasonal jobs back then, too. The difference was that people worked in the woods in the summer and plowed snow in the winter. Or some other combination. Now, even when there is a shortage, many seasonal workers will not work an off-season job – and the EI program provides disincentives to do so.

So in the end this is not about some PR activity to get people to be more ‘positive’. We need leadership on systemic issues. We need to turn around population decline. We need the government to invest double or triple into economic development.

That will improve the ‘attitude’ of the people much more than some scolding on a quiet summer day in New Brunswick.

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0 Responses to Attitude: We can do better, says Lord

  1. scott says:

    I think we need “that chaos” you said we don’t need. I know it is a ludicrous arguement (and I would never make it other than this blog), but really, we need to light a fire under a lot of people’s butts here in New Brunswick. Do we need chaos?–no. But do we need people to worry more about working that extra hour or commuting that extra mile?–yes. Some may view this as tough love, I view it as a fresh start for a better day.

    It’s called the “let’s get off our proverbial asses and start moving again New Brunswick”. No one said getting back on the right track will be easy. In our case, it maybe one of the hardest things we ever achieve here in this province and I think that’s worth fighting for, don’t you?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think the bigger issue is that people in this province do not beleive we can compete elsewhere. There is a true lack of confidence in the peoples ability to become a leader.

    While I am a big beleiver in healty elitism about what we do great, I agree with David that people inside and outside the province can and will see through the smoke screen. I would rather the govt say that regardless of our declining population and our increasing need for more equalization, here are some great stories of NB’ers and companies that are world leaders. Then suggest real ways to tackle the issues that are impeding our growth.

    Another note about confidence that David did touch on.. A ship is only as confident as it’s captain and when that captain is always seen as begging for handouts, the rest will follow.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great post, as always. Don’t let your head get too big but I’ve been to a lot of blogs and hands down you consistently have the best info.

    I have no idea what ‘healthy elitism’ means, it certainly doesn’t sound positive to me. But I’m on the opposite side of ‘getting people to work that extra hour or commute further’. That’s just ludicrous. How about reintroducing the cat o nine tails. Oh, but I guess its just that we want to instill the fear without having to whip. Yikes! Canadians are second only to americans for hours worked, anybody that thinks thats wonderful, well, you’re a credit to your protestant ancestors.

    I think the opposite should be done. I know people who have gotten jobs here from Toronto who just love it because it is more laid back and not as money crazed and work-centric. I know many in the IT sector who would cut off 10-20 grand if only their boss would hire more people. Instead, they make good money and have no life. But I usually notice that the ‘tough love’ advocates usually aren’t talking about themselves-just other people.

    EI should be talked about in the same way as WiFi. It should be expanded to be as good as possible. It IS critical to many industries simply because of how the industries are managed. If you aren’t going to nationalize the fishing grounds to benefit fishermen, then you at least have to pay some costs. It is a crime that workers pay the brunt though, and not the billionaires who get rich off the sweat of others.

    In reality, having done both, and know people who have done both, there is simply no comparison between seasonal and ‘indoor’ work. I have nothing but sympathy for those poor bastards who have to sit inside all day.

    However, many are well compensated, and most importantly, that kind of job doesn’t threaten your LIFE. The same is not true of seasonal work. Getting hurt on the job means a life of poverty, or death. That’s true of fishing, lumber, farming, construction, etc. Keep in mind those are the ‘essentials’ of life. People might like to think that teaching social studies or working at a bank are real important, but the reality is that both of those can be done on the internet.

    So EI should be expanded, it is ’employment INSURANCE’. It should be available to make it so that people are never starving, simple as that. There is almost ten billion in the fund now, so there is no reason it can’t be done. To say that everybody should have an indoor job is both unreasonable, and bad for the economy.

  4. scott says:

    anonymous #2,

    Expand EI. I’ll tell you how I would expand EI…I would start by firing you at the drop of a hat. There, you are now free to live your ideal life of living off the government and waiting for them to bail your sorry ass out with another hand out. how is that? As for the rest of us, we would like to like to move this province forward with a more resourceful approach to the economy and I really don’t think attitudes like yours are invited. Although, I hear Bergonia’s looking!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got news for you, judging by what the newspapers say, the government says, industry spokespeople say, union leaders say, fishermen, farmers, workers, protesters, etc., etc., say, the ‘we’ you claim to speak for is a lot smaller than you think.

    You think the fishing industry doesn’t like EI? Or the seasonal companies? Without it they would find NO workers willing to do their hazardous jobs. Of course to some people the fact that a job is life threatening doesn’t mean anything-to them its quite right you don’t make as much money as somebody who, say, speculates on currency and causes most of the world’s problems.

    There is, of course, a certain group-who I doubt would adopt that shrillness as a spokesmodel, who WOULD like to be able to ‘fire at the drop of a hat’. We’ve seen those people around for centuries, in fact it was against those people that the labour movement was pitted against.

    It isn’t surprising, although its unfortunate. By and large its essentially how most company’s operate in NB, particularly when they can find plenty of workers.

    Fortunately our friend above is in no more position to advance his particular beliefs than anybody else. Fortunately the ‘we’ he speaks of is really a tiny majority, because as mentioned often, a good percentage of the population benefits directly from EI, and many subsidiary industries exist from the income they would not have had without EI. Even our blogging friend states quite clearly he doesn’t share your views. But I do believe Indonesia is quite happy with them.

    However, ‘firing at the drop of a hat’ simply isn’t enough. Don’t forget all those other wonderful industrial relations techniques-like threatening people’s families and neighbours, sexual harassment, lack of whistleblower legislation, heck, even just throwing some people from helicopters or shooting at them during labour demonstrations can go a long way!

    It really illustrates the divisiveness of politics, and why nothing gets done except for big business which speaks with one voice and knows exactly what it wants-more money. Here is a program that brings in federal dollars (something massively cut), supports workers, props up their standard of living, helps them spend more in their communities, get an education, even get that part time winter job (many good jobs are only open to those collecting EI). Yet we have people saying “we absolutely don’t want that-we want you to be poorer, maybe then you’ll HAVE to move to Alberta, and we can build our own houses in our spare time, and grow our own food”

    The strange logic is that somehow if New Brunswick were even MORE Dickensian then companies will flock here, when most economies are moving the other way, making it more likely that companies already see the province as a third world backwater that is SO unrepresentative of its population that they don’t want to have anything to do with them.

    In fact, while such speakers think they are trying to ‘move forward’, what they are saying is they want to return to the past, the 1800’s to the forties when workers had no rights, were cast off when injured, were threatened and abused. Of all the provinces in Canada New Brunswick is pretty much already at the top of that list. And it hasn’t exactly reaped any benefits from it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Thanks for the link though, I’d never heard of Bergonia, but that sounds pretty good so far. I guess we see just how much some people hate the people who make up our province and prefer their own ideology.

    For those interested, you can also check out the United Nations Number One country for the last five years-Norway. Not as nice sounding as Bergonia (but I’ve just started reading) but a lot better than Canada.

    A 38 hour work week, guaranteed mandatory five week vacation for ALL industries, almost 400 billion saved up for when the oil runs out (anybody know of a canadian program like that?). Medicare extends to dental and eyecare as well as preventative care. People have lots of time for exercise and although it is colder than canada most of the year obesity is virtually unknown, as is extreme poverty. Tipping is not required because workers receive enough to live on. Now THATS solidarity, and perhaps why Irving will control New Brunswick for the foreseeable future.

  7. Anonymous says:

    For clarity, Healthy Elitism is what McKenna was really good at. It means getting out the message of what you do really well to help fight the stereotype that has been cast upon you.

    An example would be Alberta boosting about having not debt or Quebec promoting their top rate provincial day care plan.

    It’s not being ignorant, it’s just a way that NB can get their message out.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think we’ve been through that before, what exactly does New Brunswick HAVE to be elitist about that the province can tout? All the things McKenna touted are gone or other jurisdictions have an equal amount of, or simply can’t compete with third world countries.

    First you need something to be elitist about (although thats a bad word to use I think). If you have money New Brunswick is just as nice as the next place, and nicer than many, but every place in the world has a ‘ra ra’ section that touts itself as the most wonderful place to be.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Even more reason to be ra-ra. If everyone else is doing it and we are not, then we give people and companies every reason to look elswhere.

    We have numerous things to be proud of. Whether it’s our beautifull landscape or abundance of forest. How about our successfull businesses like Sabian, McCain, FatKat, Atlantic Windows, Olivier Soapery, Property Guys, XWave, Speilo, etc. How about our close proximity to New England and more relaxed lifestyle.

    Travel outside the province and you will quickly realize how much we do have going for us, we just need to harness our strenght over the competition.

  10. David Campbell says:

    Good thread. I’ll just say that I believe in New Brunswick. I love this place and I think we could be a example of effective small & remote province economic development if our governments wanted to. Don’t forget, there are a lot of European countries going through similar economic realities as Canada. A few highly successful economic zones with the rest pretty cruddy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This isn’t about ‘love’ or fuzzy feelings. There is lots to love about New Brunswick, and lots not to love.

    Those forests now have a bounty on their head. Regulations on clearcut have been axed, and the stumpage fees cut by 50% (strange that we don’t hear anything from the US about that). Those forests are about to be history, so I certainly don’t love that.

    On the list goes, this isn’t a high school hockey game where you are supposed to root for the team simply because you are from there. If the only reason people tout ED for NB is because of what it can do for them, that certainly isn’t love.

    Yes there are successful companies, there are successful companies all over. Yes there is ‘proximity’ to New England, but not as close proximity AS New England.

    I do like that remark about our ‘relaxed way of life’, although we have posters here who are no fans of it. The question is, how do you make that better?

    Notice how all those ‘success’ stories are New Brunswick companies, NOT foreign branches. Go look at Vermont and you’ll find the same-small local companies that sell within the state and the state has full employment AND a growing population.

    However, *&^% attitude. We can do better than Lord. THAT is the problem. The problem is not New Brunswickers, who can work as hard and smart as anybody IF given the chance.

    But again, go back to where it starts-education. The OECD and every financial think tank says you need the knowledge economy. This is a province with no universities up north, and only two viable ones in the south.

    This is a province that needs to compete with the likes of Vermont and Ontario, yet both of those spend $10,000 per student per year to educate them. In Vermont they have 10 students per class. TEN. In NB you are lucky if you have 25, and if they get out of line you drug them.

    In New Brunswick they spend only $6000 per student and think they are doing well! Now we find that with so many workers leaving, businesses have to hire teens. That’s going to cause the dropout rate to increase, and studies suffer.

    Clearly the attitude that needs adjusting is POLITICAL. New Brunswickers have to stop thinking as spectators in their own province. That is the attitude change. Doing better doesn’t mean kowtowing to politicians more effectively.

    The central attitude change is like that move Network “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

    The question is, what can we do??

  12. Cooker Boy says:

    I think your reading too many of Charles Leblanc’s blog… I’ll give you an analogy. Every car manufacturer boosts about why they are better than the next car. Gm will say they are best because of their suspensions and handling, Toyota will boost quality, Dodge will push their safety ratings and Kia will push warantee.

    Now would you buy a Honda, if you were looking at all theses vehicules and Honda said to you there’s nothing that great about us? Yeah, gas milage is ok but we don’t have the quality or handling that the others have. Would you buy a Honda?

    I agree with you on the political side, but I link that to the fact that most of our “brilliant” people have either left the province to pursue opportunities elsewhere or know that they would never get elected because the people of NB would never vote for the change neccessary to plug the holes. (See toll highways or EI increases)

    That’s what has always irked me about NB’ers, they always complain about the gov’t and the system, but are never willing to step up and lead the way. It’s always not me… Boo hooo.

    Whether you choose Shawn G or Lord, you are getting the same. A leader is only as strong as the team they are surronded by, and let’s face it.. the players are pretty weak on both sides.

    I applaude people like david that are taking a position and pushing for change. Kudos and keep it up!

  13. David Campbell says:

    Long live the ‘Cookers. If you want an example of hardworking/hard playing, good, decent folks, drive out that way sometime.

    I can only assume ‘Cooker boy’ means the same.

  14. Anonymous says:

    That’s an interesting analogy, although I don’t know what it has to do with Charles Leblanc. Quite simply, I would buy a Honda because it is the best car around for the money. Toyota would be a close second, and it would depend on price.

    THAT is the crux of it. Businesses DONT make choices based on ‘ra ra we’re so wonderful’. They aren’t stupid, they have entire team designed to make sure every decision pays off.

    Take the RIM case. I do agree with David that something like that should have been pursued. It may actually have been and we were given a smokescreen line-who truly knows.

    In reality Nova Scotia is the realistic place for such a venture. Not only will they provide funds, but they have the highest per capita universities in the country. They are everywhere, even little dinky towns like Antigonish have good ones.

    Around Halifax has exactly what they are looking for. So for New Brunswick, a province that spends nothing on education, has only one school with the technology training necessary, the reality is that you can wave the pom poms as much as you want, there’s a place next door that has far more than you can offer.

    I wouldn’t even be surprised if they did actually meet with RIM and RIM simply looked at the demographics, IT sector, educational outlook and simply laughed at the NB government. Of course the government certainly wouldn’t want to say “they told us we’re the shittiest technology place they’ve ever seen”. So they’d come up with the ‘oh, we never thought of trying there’.

    So in the end it comes down to the politics, it comes down to what is done. I am at the opposite pole of David and think that massive spending in education and start ups is better than FDI, but in the end, unless it enters the political sphere, its all moot. But nobody ever criticized David’s input, it is priceless in this Irving medialand.

    Finally, that is an excellent point about the politics. There is a difference though between blogging and lobbying. And as I said, the question becomes “what can I do?” WHen you say NB’ers are saying “not me”, you need to provide an option. Are you honestly saying that a person who complains should run against Graham or Lord? That’s unrealistic in a system where 10% of voters go NDP yet get zero seats. Independants virtually have no chance. In short, the system is closed against us. Proportional Representation would open it up some-maybe, but the government is already trying to make sure New Brunswickers don’t vote for that-or vote at all.

    So what people need are OPTIONS. Again, the ‘what can I do’ needs a realistic answer, or else you can’t fault a person for criticizing the head morons who have a stranglehold on the province.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You do have options, join a party and push your agenda.

  16. Anonymous says:

    In other words, spend all your free time lobbying people who may or may not be interested, and a party leader who is under no obligation to even listen to party resolutions. That’s a lot to ask of people.

  17. Anonymous says:

    “In other words, spend all your free time lobbying people who may or may not be interested, and a party leader who is under no obligation to even listen to party resolutions. That’s a lot to ask of people. “

    You mkae a fine case for Scott’s argument that we need the chaos..

    If you want something out of life you need to putforth an effort. Put down the Alpine and the remote and pick up the phone and talk to your MLA.

    Heaven forbid you should spend any time trying to contribute to society!

  18. David Campbell says:

    Here’s a better idea. Give the MLA an Alpine and then tell him that we want a government that is more than a bank for health care.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Which brings up another point… How do politicians know what the people want if we don’t tell them?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a quick question to the poster above. Exactly what have you done that sets you apart from the average New Brunswicker? Which party are you a member of, and what agenda’s are you pushing?

    This blog gets people who are the most likely to be political-meaning businesspeople, the middle class, etc. Yet there is zero movement towards politics. The griping is all around, there are tons of blogs that are just full of gripes. This one is essentailly ALL about gripes, I think its the best blog out there simply because of the information which isn’t readily available-yet its still griping.

    Politicians respond to lobbyists-not complainers. That’s because complainers are individuals, and politicians don’t really care about individuals-they care about groups, because they are the ones who lobby.

    To badmouth a New Brunswicker because they ‘need a fire under their butt’ seems pretty harsh. Most people have a hard enough time just staying above water.

    To tell individuals to join a political party is useless for all the reasons mentioned. ONE individual cannot change anything in a democracy. That takes organization and collective effort. It is better than nothing though, and I always suggest people join the liberal party and get talking, because it is clear from six years of Lord that he and his team are completely incompetent.

    Yet people are often quite critical, how many here will actually make that effort and join the liberal party? How many will put forth specific legislation to be voted on at party meetings?

    There is a lot of talk here about what others should do, yet little in the way of actual experience to back it up. Most people couldn’t even tell you what resolutions the liberals voted on this year.

    So the fire under the butt seems a little misguided. Usually it simply means “people have got to learn that what I am saying is right”, and often thats all it means.

    We have a blog here that I’ve been coming to for almost a year. So for the critics of the lazy New Brunswickers, what exactly are they doing? What agenda is being pushed? What policies are being advanced?

    In reality, the Moncton bloggers are the perfect lobby. Most are well known, good articulate writers, and represent a viewpoint that has a lot of support. They also live within Lord’s home riding.

    So I’d like to ask David, Bruce, and the other business bloggers from Moncton who I never read, if you could write a private members bill today to advance one particular agenda, what would it be? Just do that to get the ball rolling.

  21. Anonymous says:

    In response to your challenge, here is some info on me that I am proud to share:

    A) I am a member of the provincial PC party and a executive board member at that.

    B) I was a member of the Youth PC movement which lobbied the Premier hard for a $10k tax credit, which he passed.

    C) I am currently a board member for several comittees which deal with local economic issues

    D) I do plan to run in politics, once my family is ready.

    E) I have lobbied my local MLA and Minister of Education for a new school in the area, which they have built.

    G) I have volunteered to mentor youth in the are.

    H) I have brought forward concerns about several issues by my neighbors to the MLA, MP and councillor.

    I can keep going if you would like? While I am a PC member, that doesn’t mean I agree with every policy and act like a zombie. I approach elected officials with respect and facts, once they see I have a valid case they are more than willing to work with me.

    Where I agree with David is that many people who are involved politically lack the backbone to play devil’s advocate and a goverment is only as good as it’s oposition to their ideas.

    Einstein once wrote: “the best ideas always face violent opposition”.

    See gas regulation if you do not beleive me.

  22. David Campbell says:

    Yowsa or perhaps eureka. I always say that if Alec Bruce had cornered Bernard Lord in the Cool Camel circa 1997 things would have been different. Run, my friend, run but don’t forget at least some of the diatribes you read on these pages.

  23. Anonymous says:

    How does Finance Minister sound 😉

  24. Anonymous says:

    Trouble is, the problems have now reached beyond the point of ‘lobbying’. In fact, there are tons of things beyond even the MLA’s. How many pieces of legislation are not rubber stamped by MLA’s? Building a new school does not change the fact that only $6000 is spent per student compared to 10 grand in Vermont and Ontario.

    You can lobby all the MLA’s you want, thats not going to change. The problems are systemic, as the above post shows. Look at how much work it takes somebody who is actually a Senior Board Member of the PC Party. That simply makes a mockery of democracy, it literally means that NB is a fiefdom run by one guy.

    I’d say that that’s good, but of course in some measure the problems are the very few people who are involved in politics who think they know best. That’s why Enterprise Fundy can’t get any funding, or the Maritime Fishermans union proposal for an inshore scallop fishery sits on the shelf while crown forests are cut in half.

    Premier Lord has a whole list of similar experiences, but he’s the central problem here because he makes the decisions. The point is that good ideas DON”T need ‘violent opposition’. Bad ideas GET violent opposition because they are bad.

    Say for example somebody says “we’re already in deficit spending, if we have to, we need to invest more to bring educational standards up”. So, who is going to object? Taxpayers aren’t, life was far better in the 70s, even 80s yet there were deficits. Taxpayers don’t pay for them, they pay when they have better jobs.

    What if we say, we’re not cutting crown stump fees in half, we’re going to nationalize the industry like India does. Who will object? Foreigners who happen to get rich off it. That’s it. And of course the few people who have no connection to the lumber industry but like everyone else’s life fit their ideology.

    Most of these are great for the people, but bad for foreign owners.

  25. Anonymous says:

    For clarity, I am not a senior member of the provincial board, i am on my local riding board.

    Next, life is hard! Face it, nothing is ever given to you.

    Next, you can’t fix the system by crossing your arms and doing nothing.

    Lastly, bilinguism was a great idea and faced violent opposition. Equal rights for african americans was a great idea that faced violent opposition. Economic development is a great idea that is going to face violent opposition.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I certainly wouldn’t put ‘economic development’ up there with equal rights. Or even bilingualism. Bilingualism faced opposition for good reason, educational opportunities to learn french were nil, and there were no french people in Saint John, which made it seem unnecessary.

    Economic development ISN”T an idea. We HAVE economic development, in fact we have RADICAL economic development. The LNG terminal had provincial tax law completely rewritten, Bennett Environmental was permitted a license without an EPA. Irvings conducted their own EPA.

    Nackawic was given a major bailout, Molson was bought in, the forestry industry have been GIVEN the new brunswick forests to wipe out.

    Those are HUGE economic development issues. In fact far bigger than McKenna even brought in. The trouble is, as many will agree, they are the wrong industries, and as others will agree, they are the wong moves. However, it IS economic development.

    Cutting crown stumpage in half will of course mean that future governments will have even less money for those other initiatives. And the environmental damage possible from refineries, terminals, lead, and PCB’s make it even harder to get knowledge industries to locate here.

    Those are fundamental structural defects in the political system,its virtually impossible, even with work, to change those-just ask any environmentalist or woodlot owner.

    So again, where is the work directed? With an extreme amount of effort a person MAY get a school, but that depends primarily on the riding, or a small piece of legislation. But to the average New Brunswicker that is simply too much to ask of a person who is barely putting food on the table.

    In reality, people act based on the probable outcome of their labour. It may be feasible to get some small concession, it is not feasible to get economic development of the kind David posts in his newest blog. I suspect even David knows that, otherwise he’d probably put more effort into actively lobbying, rather than blogging.

    The people are quite right to complain about their government, and they are quite right to be apathetic. The real issue is what will be the final result of the apathy.

  27. Anonymous says:

    You certainly are an optimist aren’t you… I’m shocked that you still live in NB.

    It is because of defeatist mentalities like yours that our youth is leaving this province.

    You offer no hope or demonstrate the desire to demande the changes needed to turn our fotunes around. I certainly hope you are the minority.

  28. scott says:

    I’ve been in politics for a few cups of coffee and the one thing that I learned over the years is you can’t put forth a name on a ballot if your first and last name is anonymous. You’re all cowards on this blog (not you Davvid/Cooker boy) and it’s funny because I just got an email from WK and I directed him to this thread and he thinks you guys are hill-AIR-ious. And that’s not a good hillarious boys. Anyway, good luck with that political thing anonymous #1, 2, 3, or 8. I’m in your corner. lol

  29. Anonymous says:

    We can skip “Scotts” ever increasingly shrill comments, which have progressed from “I think ur stoopid” to “my friends think ur stoopid too”. Why he thinks anybody cares what or who WK is is beyond me.

    However, I felt a little guilty about my comments to our anonymous friend who sits on his local PC board, is an active lobbyist, and is running for office when his family is older, but at least I wasn’t calling him a coward! For shame you active community member! You should be doing something constructive, like having a blog where you only use your first name (if that is your first name)!

    To the a little more constuctive poster two posts above, who of course is also just an anonymous coward, I’d just like to state that this is a blog. A defeatist attitude would be one that simply accepts what the government is doing without comment.

    If the comments above make a defeatist attitude then we can well comment on Alec and David, who must be the biggest defeatists around, always griping about how lousy things are, when that wonderful Al Hogan is the great purveyor of truth-that all is wonderful. All IS wonderful to Al’s bosses, they are get infinitely richer on money that taxpayers will have to supply, or people will have to go without.

    I don’t think its defeatist to face reality. As this blog and most commentors attest, New Brunswick is in dire straits. That doesn’t mean everything is bad, but we already have the Irving Press to tout how wonderful everything is and how the government is doing such a capable job.

    As the other anonymous coward above shows, from people’s words on here there is no way of telling what people actually DO, which is far more important than what takes 50 seconds to write. You can judge them and assume they are just sitting with that alpine in front of the TV all day long, but thats mostly a distraction from the central issue that people must ask if they are not defeatist themselves: “what am I doing to make this a better place?” “What am I doing to be more effective politically”

    Those are the central questions, and we see a lot of people trying to dissuade people from asking them, usually by focusing on what other people are doing. In a democratic country, the reality is that if you aren’t playing an active role in your governance, you are abdicating responsibility.

    There are few options to be sure, but there are plenty more in society. There are volunteer opportunities, there are people who need help. There are people who need to learn to read, to use computers, etc. That isn’t being preachy, that’s the ‘fire’ and the ‘chaos’ that some mention. If at the end of the day you can say “I did enough for my community today” then that’s fine. That isn’t being preachy, because its partly to motivate myself, its been rare that I’ve said that at the end of the day. But people do have to earn a living.

    So don’t be misconstrued. The defeatist attitude is not the one that points out what is wrong, it is the one that doesn’t DO anything. Even those protestors at the Atlantica conference were DOING something. You may not agree, that’s fine, then find what you do agree with and work for that.

    I’m no motivational speaker, but like I said, most of the reason I write like that is to motivate myself so I don’t feel like a hypocrite lecturing others. That serves my own purpose, I know of posters here that think such things are ‘hilarious’, we can be happy that we’re entertaining people for whom most of these issues are largely academic.

  30. Cooker Boy says:

    At least your finally making some sense. The way I have understood most of your comments, you come off as we should do nothing. Hence, I beleive is what the other anonymouse poster was trying to highlight.

    I agree, people need to get actively involved in the community.

  31. Anonymous says:

    12:34 AM, Anonymous said… is not the same as the PC board anonymouse

  32. Active Lobbyist says:

    I can’t divulge my identify because it could compromise my employement.

  33. David Campbell says:

    As long as the conversation stays civil, I don’t have a problem with ‘anonymous’ posts. Many of the people I want to post would also lose their jobs (or at least get people cranky) for saying what they feel.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t lose my employment,but it would make it far tougher to make a living. I think that says a lot about a province where ‘freedom of speech’ needs to stay anonymous because it would compromise people’s employment. It goes to show how far most people’s attitudes are from those running the province.

    Keep in mind also that registering with blogger is registering with google which tracks your IP address and stores it. In essence, if somebody wanted to find out everything you said about anything, they could just go to google and ask for their records.

    It’s far easier to just stay anonymous, thats partly why my messages are long and rambling, because it makes it pretty easy to spot my replies vs. any others.

    If that post made people think I was advocating doing nothing then it was very badly worded. Quite the contrary, but as said, when it is just SO much work to effect change, its hard to know where to begin. There IS something very concrete that people can do, but that’s for a future post!

  35. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous said… 1:34pm..

    I have a blog name for ya, Eyeore!

    Gee shucks Pooh, that’s so much work

  36. Anonymous says:

    The point is, there’s no gain in complaining about the fact New Brunswickers aren’t spending all their spare time fighting against done deals. As soon as you point a finger at somebody else and say ‘what are you doing?’ then the onus is on that person to justify casting that stone.

    It accomplishes nothing, but if somebody is aware of how bad the situation is in NB (keep in mind most aren’t), then it becomes their responsibility to take action-not to gripe at other people who don’t know any better.

    It’s also futile to be judgmental at all online, because we simply don’t know what people are doing outside of posting here. People do have to make a living, and in NB they work harder for less money than most places n the country. So it isn’t surprising if some mother working two jobs with no husband isn’t out there pounding the pavement with flyers about economic development.

    To be the devil’s advocate, I posted awhile ago for people to list a private members bill that they would like to see adopted by the provincial government, but never got any replies. When the people who are saying we need change won’t or can’t even suggest a change, then they certainly shouldn’t be pointing fingers at others.