The TJ is running an article this AM about a meeting it had with new Liberal leader (can I call him ‘new’?) yesterday.
In it, there is is quote:
In an interview with the Telegraph-Journal, he said he’s a big believer in Graham’s target of moving New Brunswick away from dependence on federal equalization payments.
“This is a very great goal,” Dion said. “I think it’s very demanding.”
It’s very ambitious but it’s good to be ambitious. If I become prime minister as I hope, I will have this ambition to share with your premier.”
Now, as long as I have been around, Federal leaders have ‘shared’ New Brunswick’s pain. Have wanted to ‘help’. Even Firewall Harper is going to impose economic development on us.
But I’ll believe it when I see it. Economic development funding in New Brunswick is considerably less today than ten years ago (as a % of budgets). Federal R&D funding per capita is still dead last in New Brunswick. Efforts to lure a large government translation centre died with the ‘new’ Tory government which basically said efforts to redistribute government jobs out of Ottawa were ‘stupid’.
On the Dion front, there is an even larger challenge. Does a new refinery fit into his green plans? New Brunswick is fairly dependent on pollution from its mills and factories. How does that fit? I’m all for green. In fact I agree with the premise that there are billions of dollars to be made jumping on the green bandwagon.
But will it be here?
I still think – and have always thunk (:-) – that the province needs to come up with a good strategy for economic growth and then ask nicely for the Feds to join in – and not vice versa.
And this does not extend to the previous government’s ‘Accelerating Prosperity’ which was a wish list of expenditures and had almost nothing to do with moving the province towards self-sufficiency.
Just another wish list of expenditures will lead to more horse trading in Ottawa and our hand is not that strong right now – and hasn’t been for a long time.
But a real plan, jointly funded by both levels of government that focuses on building several new, exciting industries might get the feds interest.