Un-Truth in Reporting

In his quest to get Bernard Lord re-elected, Al Hogan has achieved a new high (or low depending on your perspective). The headline in the T&T today in big bold letters:

Minacs to create 1,200 new jobs by year’s end

Now, that’s not an ambigous statement, is it. It doesn’t say ‘may create’ or ‘has created’ or some other term.

However, upon reading the article, we find this comment:

When Riverview MLA Bruce Fitch was reached for comment yesterday, he confirmed the news, but suggested some of the workers in question were already being brought on the job. He placed the number of current workers at almost 1,000 and said part of that complement was workers connected to this new initiative.

So, there’s 1,000 workers now (I heard about 800 but my figures could be out of date) and they are expanding to 1,200.

But to folks who just read headlines:

Minacs to create 1,200 new jobs by year’s end

Al, you will have to continue to actually fabricate jobs if you want to show this government has a good track record for job creation in Greater Moncton. In the mid 1990s, there were 6-7 new companies setting up in Moncton per year as the result of business attraction efforts. Now, if you go to the government’s own web site, you are lucky if there is one or two new project per year in Greater Moncton (not expansions of current companies but new businesses attracted here).

The dirty little secret you will expose unwittingly is that Greater Moncton is nearing the end of the 1990s boom that saw something like 7,000 new call centre jobs, 2,000 new manufacturing jobs and all the secondary employment in retail, construction and services.

Without that tranche of new industries attracted to Moncton, there will be no need for growth in secondary industries such as retail and construction.

Already, Greater Moncton’s unemployment rate is the highest among the three cities in the south at over 7%.

Now, I am not completely pessimistic on Moncton’s future. Many times successful local economies start to generate their own momentum without deliberate industry attraction activities.

But one thing’s for sure. This government has not been kind to Moncton in the area of attracting new industries.

And that is something every Greater Monctonian should ponder seriously when they go to the polls.

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0 Responses to Un-Truth in Reporting

  1. Anonymous says:

    This IS New Brunswick, and come on, they’ve been a hell of a lot kinder to Moncton than other places. The province won’t even pitch in to clean up St.John harbour, but they are pitching in to build a sports stadium in Moncton (that creates jobs too).

    A place like Bathurst, the only news they get is in mining, and of course that has nothing to do with the government, a mining company is going to go where the mines are.

    Molson could have been put in Campbellton, and many of those call centre jobs (and other service jobs) could have gone elsewhere as well. In fact, Moncton has the highest unemployment because you’ve pointed out, it has the fastest growth.

    So actually, the government COULD have done in industry what the liberals say they will do in government, which is to say “ok, there is too much here, so lets reallocate it some”.

    That’s not to rain on the parade, clearly in cutting economic development EVERYBODY gets screwed, but Moncton certainly doesn’t have any more reason to gripe than anybody else. In fact, given investment in infrastructure in the past (new highways, new industrial parks, airport upgrades) I think a good argument could be made that if there were new investment, NONE of it should go to southern NB cities,it should go to build up the north.

  2. David Campbell says:

    I’m not griping, man/woman! The Tories have actually turned up the gravy train in Moncton (hospital funding, etc.). I’m just saying that the overall disinterest in attracting industry has also affected Moncton and ultimately could stunt it’s future economic growth and that should be of primary concern to the residents of this area. You know my feeling on Northern NB – I have been highly vocal about investing in that region and in Saint John.

  3. Cooker Boy says:

    I feel compeled to respond as I do not feel as if Moncton should be attacked on the following points:

    a) Molson is the one that decided Moncton as their choice for a NB location for 2 reason. First, water quality, which I credit the leadership of Mayor Murphy and Moncton’s history of being a distribution hub. The province stepped in because Molson was also considering Halifax and Amherst and didn’t want to see that development go to NS.

    b) If I remember correctly, the provincial and federal goverments did step in and fund Campbelton’s infrastructure projects for the Canada Games. I credit Moncton’s local leadership, council, with the vision to go and get the World track and field championships, which many who will attend will stay for an extra week and visit the rest of our province, particularly areas like Northern NB. Don’t sneer at us for taking a leadership role, plus we needed a field to get the games. I’m sure the track and field atheletes from all over NB will appreciate the world class facility regardless of what city it resides in.

    c) As for Harbour clean up, you have a good point. But Moncton also has a clean up project with the Peticodiac River which is taking extra long to get funding. I put blame on both levels of govt for that fiasco, but I think what has really hurt SJ is the political situation in Ottawa. That being said it should be done long ago.

    I have stated several times before, local councils need to take the bull by the horns and really lobby for development and think outside the box. Perhaps Bathurst should go and get U2 to come and play, put that region on the map and get huge press coverage stating you want to be noticed. Or how about attracting the XGames to Campbelton. You don’t need the province to initiate a healthy debate about the direction you should be taking and please stop with the us vs them bull since we all realize that a healthy and properous North is gool for all of NB.

    My final thought is this. the best thing each healthy region of the province can do to help the poor regions is to make sure they do not become poor themselves.

  4. Anonymous says:

    First, as far as water quality goes, Saint John has been tested as having the best water quality in Canada thank s to their natural aquifier, whereas Moncton needs HEAVY water purification. Any beer maker will tell you, its water that makes the beer.

    Second, there is no evidence I’ve ever seen that points to ongoing economic development supported by one time events. Just because people show up to see the Rolling Stones means little as far as economic development goes. Ditto sports events which have even less developmental impact. If anything, they are detrimental, as the Aitken Centre has proven. Taxpayers start griping when all this money was spent for a building that sits empty the majority of the time, so politicians have to get out and fill it-and keep it filled as well as maintain it (both costly procedures).

    Keep in mind Canadians can find out VERY little about where government money goes. The only real benefit is the very brief effect on tourism, and you can go check past blogs to see how both Mr. Campbell and I feel about the tourism industry.

    Finally, U2 going to Bathurst does nothing. Keep one thing in mind, the only real media doesn’t cover economic development on a regular basis. I’ve pointed out over and over again where communities are ‘taking the bull by the horns’, however, this is canada and municipalities have ZERO dollars. Why do you think ACOA money has been going to fix water treatment facilities and bridges?

    Economic development takes a LOT of work. As this blog will tell you, even at the provincial level the government falls short even while investing, what was it, almost half a billion dollars. Or at least a quarter of a billion.

    Politically it gets even harder as unlike the states, municipalities have ZERO power over concessions that they could make to industry. Saint John had to get the province to rewrite provincial law to allow their tax break for Irving. That’s Irving, but what chance does a regular company have of that happening? Again, ZERO. As I’ve pointed out, coastal areas could at least take advantage of wind power if they had CONTROL over the resource. Belledune could get investments then subsidize an industrial park. However, that takes money, you’ll notice from PEI just how much the canadian, or any government is interested in alternate power. PEI has been begging for money for more than a decade now to enhance wind power generation. Nada.

    Municipalities in Canada can’t even alter sales tax rates like they can in the states. A huge perk in the states is that not only do you have states to choose from which will offer a company great deals, but even within the state different communities can offer great deals.

    In Vermont every county has its own sales tax rate. In New Hampshire every county has its own property tax rate. In NB, those are all set by the province. The attempt, of course, was to make a ‘level playing field’, although it doens’t do that and it only takes a moments thought to figure out why.

    So municipalities really have their backs to the wall. There is nothing they can offer businesses that no other area can offer. And in the cities they have the workforce and all the subsidies that flow from that.

    Molson very easily could have been placed elsewhere. Yes, other places like Nova Scotia were probably interested, then you just up the amount. Instead of 20 million for Moncton, make it 25 for Campbellton or Edmunstun. Financially it makes more sense as it means fewer on EI or welfare, and fewer people swamp to Moncton. The same argument works in New Brunswick as in Canada-build up the run down places first, and you’ll solve a good many of your problems.

    To be fair, the Lord government has been doing that some. I doubt Stanley and Nackawic were any companies first choice. But again, you’ll notice that most of even the rural announcements by far are in southern New Brunswick.

  5. Cooker Boy says:

    As Moncton, has found out to the benefit of significant number of manufacturing jobs, and expansion of the tax base from capital investment by industry looking for secure, safe water; water purity is a strategic tool in business re-location attraction.

    “Just because people show up to see the Rolling Stones means little as far as economic development goes. Ditto sports events which have even less developmental impact.”

    Your technically right, however how are you going to attract businesses and immigrants if you don’t have anything for them to do. Beleive it or not, employers and potential employees look at what regions have to offer for Arts, shopping and entertainement. Plus the extra revenue that events like the Stones, Memorial Cup and other events bring to the city, that money is pumped into the community which is reinvested. Do you know what an ad in the Globe cost? A lot of money, so if we can get free coverage and show people that we are not druken fishermen, but a society that is progressive and entrepreneurial, that is going to have a positive impact and make people take notice.

    Molson could have been put in Campbellton, and many of those call centre jobs (and other service jobs) could have gone elsewhere as well.

    Molson is a privately held organization which makes it’s their decisions on how they can maximize their investment. I’m sure they did their due diligence and probably EGM aggresively pursued them once they caught a wiff of their plans.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As for water, I didn’t say water wasn’t good in Moncton, I said a lot of work goes into purifying it. Not only that but as one of the few places with privatized water, the source isn’t as securely subsidized as in Saint John. And of course one of the ways to make sure no company like that would want to go north is to keep in resource intensive and heavily polluted. Molson is a private company of course (I’d hate to see what ‘government beer’ would taste like!), the point is the bidding war brought them to NB, the bidding war could bring them to a rural area.

    However, if there are some links or studies that show exactly how much economic development went to Moncton because the Rolling Stones played there I’m yet to see it and would welcome it. The Rolling Stones play a LOT of places.

    I’m extremely skeptical that a company is going to set up in an area just because their workers might have a place to play after hours. No doubt that might play a small part on some companies, but not much of one. A company is going to set up in NB because the workers are already there, and its doubtful that that plays much factor in it.

    There is the ‘ra ra’ factor of it, as we’ve discussed before. I don’t know how much the province put into the Stones concert, but I seem to remember Ontario put a lot into Conan Obrien as well as the Stones in that big concert there. I haven’t seen any data showing more tourism came to Canada as a result of that either.

    But one thing is for sure, and that’s that concerts like that play a local propaganda role. I doubt the Stones thought they were doing much more than playing a concert, but local media touted it as some kind of big economic event. This is common in disenfranchised economies all over North America. I remember the ‘Roger and Me’ documentary that had Flint Michigan building a massive amusement park and trying to tout the area as a tourist spot. If you’ve ever been there, you know just how likely that is.

    Buffalo, which is another dying northern city has similar shows. Every year Blues Traveller does free shows downtown to try to distract people from reality long enough.

    I haven’t seen anything in economic development that shows that that is a viable marketing plan. Even when successful the most events such as that do is accrue a lot of money to promoters who are often not even from the area. Perhaps accommodation places and restaurants will get something out of it, but again, they seldom hire more permanent staff for occasional busy periods.

    Logically, it might do something if they are at least regular events. That’s how amusement parks and gambling facilities exist. You keep different people coming through the doors. As a hub on the trans canada and with a large local population Moncton has done fairly well on that front and has more such venues than most places of comparible size. But concerts and sporting events rarely boost trade, in fact just look at how often sports teams move around as proof of that.

  7. The Virginian says:

    I feel compelled to clarify the Molson thing…for those who say it could have gone anywhere. Yes the water was a major factor, yes Greater Moncton being the HUB of the Maritimes was a factor, but I’ll give you to more major factors:
    1. The Molson project engineer who was driving this file is a graduate of Moncton High, nothing like coming home.

    2. Owens Illinois glass factory in Scoudouc (14 KM from the new brewery), the plant has been there since 1969 (140 employees), low freight cost. So Campbellton or anywheres else forget it no chance. The only other possibility was Nova Scotia who has already lost breweries because of transportation.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Shipping bottles is no big expense. As said, the province simply could pay those costs with subsidies. Those are all ‘negotiable’ and in business money talks, not where people went to high school. There is nothing in business that has ‘no chance.

  9. Cooker Boy says:

    I’m curious as to what your background is anon. You seem to have a lifetime of experience behind your view of the world. I’d be more incline to beleive you if I knew where you were coming from? I have no problem you voicing opinions, I think it’s quite healthy for democracy, but I am have trouble taking your posts into the proper context.