Nova Scotia editor goes nuts

Sometimes in our rush to make a point, we try to find examples without really doing any research. It’s clear that this guy (below) is trying to get Nova Scotia to be more aggressive on the economic development front, but by using New Brunswick as his model…. Well you just read it. I won’t even comment on it as my blog is a constant commentary:

If New Brunswick can do it, why can’t we?

By Dan Leger
Mon. Nov 5 – 4:46 AM

ONE OF MY vivid memories of growing up in New Brunswick is of my father grumbling about how the economy of our home province was always lagging Nova Scotia’s.

“Those guys know how to get things done,” Dad would say about governments run by premiers Robert Stanfield and G.I. Smith.

But no more. Nowadays, the shoe is on the other foot. New Brunswick’s economy is diversified and robust. It’s still much smaller, but it threatens to leave Nova Scotia’s in the dust.

And New Brunswick is growing the best way, entrepreneur-ially, with private money doing most of the work. So despite a smaller population, fewer universities and no advantage in natural resources, New Brunswick’s economy is growing almost twice as fast as Nova Scotia’s.

Last week, I sat in on a briefing in Fredericton given by a senior provincial official. I can’t give his name, but he is a key figure.
And he had a lot to say.

He talked about New Brunswick’s emergence as an energy hub on the border of the voracious New England market. Irving company cash is creating a compact energy powerhouse through refining, importing and transporting petroleum products.

Canada’s first liquefied natural gas terminal is materializing ahead of schedule at the Irving Canaport facility outside Saint John. Massive reinforced tanks are being built to contain and reheat supercooled gas.
The gas then will go into a pipeline to New England.

Planning is well advanced for a second, massive Irving oil refinery in Saint John. If it goes ahead, the new refinery will be one of the biggest privately funded industrial projects in Canadian history.

It’s estimated 5,000 workers will be needed to build the plant, another 1,000 permanent jobs will be created when it opens. Once the refinery goes on stream, eight out of 10 cars in Boston will run on gas refined in New Brunswick.

But petroleum isn’t the only catalyst for the New Brunswick economy.
As NB Power begins preparations to refurbish the Point Lepreau nuclear plant, planning is underway on construction of a second 630 megawatt plant. What was once the laughingstock of the Canadian energy business is now one of its best performers.

Point Lepreau, despite the massive cost overruns during its construction, is now one of the most efficient plants on the continent.
And because nuclear plants produce no greenhouse gases, there’s an environmental argument for a second plant.

The financial strategy for Lepreau II is to spread the risk among public and private investors. Rejecting Nova Scotia’s paranoia about private-public partnerships, New Brunswick is actively seeking out private investors for Lepreau II. The senior official we spoke to told us that search is going very well.

To be fair, some critics say New Brunswick would be better off using its money to find ways to save electricity and consume less. But if the province is to keep growing, it will need power.

Once the second plant is built, New Brunswick will have total generation capacity of 4,000 megawatts, compared to less than 2,300 in this province. Nova Scotia Power might end up as a customer for Lepreau II’s output.

But it’s more than energy. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan has committed to spending $1.7 billion to build a second mine near Sussex capable of producing two million tonnes of the mineral a year.

And just down the road from the potash mines, Corridor Resources is exploiting a natural gas field, whose output will be fed into the pipeline to New England.

To the north, a pioneering company in Miramichi is building modular bridges that can be shipped anywhere. It has one under construction that will be loaded onto barges and towed to the MacKenzie River in the Northwest Territories.

New Brunswick’s economic momentum started almost two decades ago when Frank McKenna became premier. The hard-driving McKenna built on the bilingual population, luring call centres and technical support facilities to the province.

New Brunswickers grew confident, keeping up the momentum after McKenna left. Bernard Lord and his Conservatives took over, but kept the same development principles in place.

Now Shawn Graham and the Liberals are in control. His objectives are still to build the economy and put people to work through nimble private-public partnerships. Government is a partner with business, not a bystander.

Now ask yourself what the defining principle is here in Nova Scotia, beyond demanding more money from Ottawa. Send me an e-mail if you figure it out.