Economic Corridors, Bill O’Reilly, Bernard Lord & other odds and ends

I’m back from a great trip to Boston. It’s a great and dynamic city – I enjoy myself every time I go. A few talking points this A.M.:

Economic Corridors
I missed this article when it came out in July (I was in Brazil or some other far flung place). However, I think it is highly relevant. According to pop economist sensation Richard Florida, “Our focus on cities is wrong. Growth and innovation come from new urban corridors.”

I have been tracking this issue of economic corridors for a few years and have had the opportunity to do some consulting work in this area and I think it represents and important contribution to the discussion of regional development. The whole Porter-Cluster thing that Industry Canada was so giddy about in the 1990s almost by definition excluded smaller urban areas as they could not generate the critical mass in any specific sector necessary to rise to the level of a ‘cluster’.

Economic corridors, on the other hand, look at the issue of how urban (and rural) centres interplay along a ‘corridor’ to mutual benefit. I think we need to dig more deeply into the concept in this region and see where there is potential.

Bill O’Reilly
I make a point of listening to shock radio when I travel to the USA. I don’t really like the content but I am fascinated by the cultural implications of this media. I think I mentioned this before but I am increasingly convinced that Bill O’Reilly is faking it. I don’t sense any real conviction or authenticity in his rants. I think a few years ago, he had the foresight to realize where things were heading in the U.S. and he jumped on the bandwagon early on and turned it into an empire. But I don’t believe him. Not his content but his own belief in it.

I’ll make a prediction. Bill O’Rielly will eventually go the way of Phil Donahue but as his rating wane and people get bored, I suggest that before he goes out, he will write a tell all book about how he duped his followers. How it was all a great sham. How he did it just for the money, power and prestige. The book will be a best seller and Bill will think he had the last laugh.

Just a prediction. I could be wrong.

Bernie Lord
The CBC’s political panel debated, once again, the future of Bernard Lord today. The new face of the Tories, Marie Claude Blais, was adamant Lord would stay as leader of the opposition because he won the most votes and had a ‘clear mandate’ from the people of New Brunswick. Again, this may be a definitional thing but typically a ‘mandate’ refers to the governing power not the opposition. But, in Ms. Blais’ defense, she did infer in an election debate that anyone who criticized the education system in New Brunswick was criticizing her kids. And her kids, she said, “were not the worst in Canada”. Others suggested he would in fact be getting the plum diplomatic post of Ambassador to France. This is spun as a McKenna model where Harper gets rid of Lord (much in the same fashion Martin got rid of McKenna) by sending him far afield where the media can postulate a Lord return to federal politics. I don’t buy this. If Harper was so tight with Lord why didn’t he throw one single bone at Lord before the NB election? Lord yakked on and on about his ‘relationship’ to Ottawa but I don’t recall any major funding announcements – not Prosperity Plan II, not harbour clean up, not Equalization, not Lepreau, nothing. But I could be wrong. My prediction? Lord doesn’t make decisions so I suggest he stays around for at least 2-3 years to try and figure things out.

That’s it for today.