Goin’ down slow

Despite all the rhetoric. Despite all the hyperbole. Despite all the grinning and shaking of hands, the vast majority of New Brunswickers are still well entrenched in our belief that New Brunswick is going down slow.

I used to say this with the last government. The same week that Premier Lord was running around yakking about prosperity, his Finance Minister was going around the province with his officials telling universities to be prepared for the huge coming decline in student populations.

Now, I’ve cut a few lines out of a T&T story this morning for your edification and then I’ll comment below:

At this point, even before those mills went out, we were talking well into 2020 before we’d need additional generation,” said NB Power CEO David Hay. “Now that obviously gets extended even beyond that date.”

The drop in demand raises questions about the case for a second reactor pumping out 1,100 MW “” possibly half of that destined for the Maritimes — at Point Lepreau, said David Coon.

“You also have the (Brunswick) mine going down in 2010 and likely the smelter with it,” said Coon, policy director for the Conservation Council and a long-time critic of nuclear power. “NB Power’s industrial load is rapidly shrinking. And that’s base load.

“If your base load is shrinking, and you actually are spending all this money refurbishing (the existing reactor at) Pt. Lepreau, why would you be looking to supply even more base load when demand is less?”

David Coon,the leading proponent of a major decline in New Brunswick saying “nah, nah, nah – we’re going down. Told you so.” – like some nasty kid on the playground. But then you have Hay, also assuming not only that our forestry industry will collapse but that nothing will happen to replace the demand.

They build these negative expectations into their scenarios. It’s sick.

David Coon talking about the closure of the Brunswick Mine and smelter and just assuming nothing will be coming along to replace it. Or better yet, use more energy.

David friggin’ Hay should be the first one up saying we expect to replace this loss of demand with 50 data centres brought in by BNB. Or, we need to get our rates in line with North American jurisdictions to keep our large forestry players or some other growth expectations.

They say they are just being ‘realistic’. Good ‘planners’. Good stewards of the trust put in them by New Brunswickers.

The bottom line is very simple folks. If the heads of all the government departments, agencies and NB Power are planning for decline – they will get it ipso facto.

And no goofy grinning Premier will stop them.

Maybe it’s because my father was a Baptist minister, but I feel like serving up a parable every time I read this crap.

The parable tells of a master who was leaving his home to travel, and before going gave his three servants different amounts of money. On returning from his travels, the master asked his servants for an account of the money given to them. The first servant reported that he was given five talents, and he had made five talents more. The master praised the servant as being good and faithful, gave him more responsibility because of his faithfulness, and invited the servant to be joyful together with him.

The second servant said that he had received two talents, and he had made two talents more. The master praised this servant in the same way as being good and faithful, giving him more responsibility and inviting the servant to be joyful together with him.

The last servant who had received one talent reported that knowing his master was a hard man, he buried his talent in the ground for safekeeping, and therefore returned the original amount to his master. The master called him a wicked and lazy servant, saying that he should have placed the money in the bank to generate interest. The master commanded that the one talent be taken away from that servant, and given to the servant with ten talents, because everyone that has much will be given more, and whoever that has a little, even the little that he has will be taken away.

I know New Brunswick has gotten the short end of the stick. The ‘one talent’ if you will. But assuming a loser posture is not the solution.

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0 Responses to Goin’ down slow

  1. mikel says:

    Geez Dave, can you make up your mind? One day you stomp the Premier for his idealism, the next you badmouth guys for their ‘realism’.

    It’s hardly the head of the conservation council who should be talking about ‘big things to replace the things we’ll lose’. That’s the LAST thing he should want, and the day he starts talking like that will be the day he gets thrown out of his job.

    His job is working to protect the environment, and power is a big part of that. In fact, he gets grief for not going far enough, for not trying to STOP another refinery, but just arguing for a federal environmental assessment.

    And a bit more on the CCNB, you may have noticed in the paper yesterday a big article on the fisheries plant being turned into high end condos-the CCNB hasn’t said boo about that, they don’t care-so its far from the case they are anti-development as was maintained in another certain case.

    But you even take his quote out of context, all this childish ‘nyah nyah nyah’ garbage is well beneath your usual intellectual acumen. He says nothing of the sort, and would be crazy to. As some have said about you, and we could say about many other New Brunswickers, there are plenty of agencies out in the world that would love to have a guy like him in their organizations. He’s working his ass off for the province, and this is the thanks he gets.

    But again, i’m not trying to convince David of anything, for those interested in the ‘real world’, go to the conservation council’s homepage and actuallly SEE what they are talking about, don’t just listen to critics.

    Again, they are among the few groups lobbying for community forests, something ‘small’ industries have been lobbying for years. If the CCNB were even moderately ‘for’ the environment, they’d be talking about leaving it alone-they don’t. They talk about harvesting it sensibly, so they make HUGE concesssions to industry-just not the industry players who want to wipe it out before they move on.

    And for David Hay, why in the name of hell would you want a head of NB Power talking about raising your rates because ‘someday’ other big industries will be coming along to replace the current ones? It’s bad enough you have a Premier who, in the words of Charles Leblanc (who ought to know something about mental instability), must be heading for a nervous breakdown because he’s spouting such craziness.

    What you’ve got is essentially the only two guys with any kind of public position who are telling the people the facts, and aren’t doing what the government is doing, which is whoring out the province to industry no matter what the cost to New Brunswickers. The Irving paper (which really doesn’t care whether another nuclear station gets built or not-their investments are secure) actually had a good article on the risks of nuclear power yesterday, although it was in a letter to the editor.

    These guys are just telling you the facts, which is exactly what you want from bureaucrats, because its a rare trait. But you should really know better since you are the main exposent of government policy which consistently works against, or at least ignores all the policies that would lead to those data centres (which are hardly the only types of investment out there, if they are, then everyone is in deep trouble).

    Your argument MAY make a bit of sense if ANY company were even remotely interested in building a data centre or some other big power user, but thats far from the case. We buy our soymilk from a company whose farms are powered by windmills, thats the ‘next stage’. I mean, in NB you should KNOW all this stuff, Irving is setting up all their own companies to run on their OWN power and mills were saying the same thing. There’s your bureaucratic connection, all those mills got a lukewarm response to their ideas about setting up their own power generation (not surprising with NBPower around) and so called it quits. In Sackville the municipality is doing the same.

    It’s fairly obvious that in twenty years the only people getting power from NB Power will be the northeastern US, and people too stupid to figure out how to hook up a solar panel.

  2. David Campbell says:

    Said from the comfortable perch of one of the most successful local economies in North America.

  3. mikel says:

    It’s hard to comment on a ‘comeback’ like that, I would have expected it from Spinks, maybe even that NBT guy, but not from you. It’s usually a sign that a person doesn’t have much to back up their argument.

    It doesn’t even have a comparison to here. The head of Ontario Hydro certainly doesn’t go around making the types of comments you are saying that David Hay should be making. And the heads of the environmental groups are FAR more public than the conservation council, the CCNB doesn’t even have their own podcast, which can be set up for free. Of course here its even tougher because the nuclear industry runs TV and radio ads almost around the clock.

    If you mean that ‘desperate time s call for desperate measures’, and think that like FOX in the US, its time for everybody to tow your line or ‘at least shut up about it’, then thats a surprising take. If you mean that because I”m in Waterloo that somehow makes it EASY for me to ‘shit all over your argument’ then thats far from the case. If I were in NB I’d be saying the same thing, because its simply criticism-its the same no matter where.

    Computer technology is constantly being advanced to deal with that chief problem-power usage. Data centres don’t employ that many people (certainly not as many as a mill) and will almost certainly require less power as time goes on. Plus, since they have to build them on their own, no doubt they will have power generation of some kind built in, given the volatility in energy markets (unless they are idiots).

    So I’m not sure what your point is, but I’ll add by giving some perspective from the ‘most successful local economy’- two years ago Lazy boy closed their last canadian manufacturing plant just down the road from us. That was two years and the building still sits empty, and Lazy boy is not coming back. NCR (the people who make those debit machines in stores) axed 400 workers because they could get the work done cheaper in India. That section of their plant is being dismantled. There is an industrial park in Waterlook, but hasn’t been a new industrial building built since we moved here ten years ago.

    Waterloo is surrounded by agricultural land and is called the ‘technology triangle’. And there hasn’t been a single data centre set up anywhere NEAR here, even though land costs aren’t that bad for industry (in fact a company like that would probably be GIVEN the old lazy boy factory).

    There is lots of growth here, but most of it is strip malls-restaurants and ‘money mart’s, no different than Fredericton or Moncton. As US auto plants close, about the ONLY industrial development has been the Toyota plant, and god only knows what the government promised them for that. I mentioned before that there are several lawsuits pending against Toyota from families of people who died on the job, and one from stress. I know a guy who works there who puts in 75 hours a week. Thats from one thing-NOT hiring more people.

    Even the local community college, one of the best in Canada by many rankings, now has a new sign out front “construction jobs our specialty”. That’s a far cry from the tool and die and manufacturing focus of a decade ago.

    So thats hardly much different. The problems for people here are the same as there, and economically it is no different-the lack of good jobs. Of course there ARE good jobs, my wife has one in the sciences, doing fascinating work that she loves so much it keeps us here in this forestless, waterless, suburban wasteland. There’s a reason why so many from southern ontario jam the highways north in the summertime-thats to get the hell out of here.

    And again, all this criticism is to advance policies that WORK, and we already know what they are, and we pretty much know why they aren’t being advanced. My wife’s company pretty much hires three quarters of its albeit small staff from China or India-all because competent canadians can’t be found. Those are GOOD jobs, and canadian companies can’t find good people and there are almost no startups. And thats education and science, exactly what the OECD has been saying for years that industrial countries have to invest in. And we see how easy it is, just take a look at the Beausejour Health facility and talk to those NB scientists who have come home. Imagine if that were done on a large scale.

    VIrtually NONE of those industries are energy intensive. And virtually ALL have considerable labour power-a couple of years ago I asked the employees of this company if they would ever move out east. The only place they said the would go was PEI for some strange reason. However, this small public company would be completely screwed if my wife left her job-thats incredible labour power that not even a union can match.

    And not coincidentally, that is exactly what the CCNB and David Hay recognize-that the days of huge power users are over. Even if you don’t agree with that, that’s fine, but mills are shutting down all over the place so there is still plenty of power for new heavy users, so you should still be satisfied.

    To go one step further and claim that they should be ASSUMING such a scenario as yours is such a huge leap of faith that I seriously doubt New Brunswickers would buy it-so it certainly isn’t a case of where a person is located that such arguments arise.

    In fact, you dumb down that post to your one main line and go out in the street and ask “should NB power be assuming that other heavy power users will replace currently closing mills as they make future energy plans?” and I’ll pay you a buck for every person over equal who says ‘yes’. I’ll phone my folks and everybody I know in NB and see how much agreement there is to it. We’ll see how much geography affects it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Private university says it will build in NB
    Ordered to close in BC, but Lansbridge plans to expand operations in Fredericton
    Macleans.ca staff | Apr 24, 2007 | 11:17 am EST

    Lansbridge University-New Brunswick intends to expand by building a campus in Fredericton, president Chris Pilgrim said during public hearings for a provincial post-secondary commission. The announcement comes one week before its sister school of the same name in B.C. is set to close because of violations of the Degree Authorization Act.

    Landsbridge University-BC was investigated after the fall closing of another BC private institution, Kingston College. It is owned by Michael Lo’s Kingston Education Group, the same company that owns Landsbridge-BC and Landsbridge-NB.

    But Pilgrim insists that the institutions are separate entities. “Our students and faculty are fully aware of the situation and understand that it has nothing to do with Lansbridge University-NB, except with respect to ownership and a similarity in names.”

    The B.C. government investigation revealed that Lansbridge-BC advertised degree programs before gaining authorization, submitted misleading documents when applying for degree-granting status, and did not maintain the required financial security to protect students, among other violations. The investigation also reported, “The state of student files raises serious questions about administration, admissions standards, credit transfer criteria, and like issues.” Shockingly, one student transcript was discovered on the back of an old email regarding Lo’s credit limit.

    The NB commission also heard from Jack Vanderlinde, president of the Federation of New Brunswick Faculty Associations, who urged the province to ban the creation of more private institutions.

    “When someone does a thing for profit, clearly what you’re most interested in is the profit, and not the product,” Vanderlinde said last week. “If I were a student, I would be really very hesitant to go to a private institution, where, first of all, your fees would be much, much higher than the public universities, and there’s absolutely no guarantee at the other end that you’ll get anything out.”

    Approximately 300 students attending Lansbridge University-BC and Kingston College – the majority international students from India and China – spent up to $40,000 in tuition for a four-year degree, in addition to living costs, and are now left without credentials. Many of these students are facing the possibility of having to leave Canada as their student visas run out, having wasted their families’ savings and their chance to study in Canada.

    Pilgrim accused the faculty association of having ulterior motives because private universities are not unionized.
    And Down,and ,down
    chretiens baby

  5. Anonymous says:

    Being an economist,maybe you could explain this.
    Just please leave out the goody two shoes stuff.

    Canada pledges $555 million to assist Haiti
    Joseph Guyler Delva, Reuters
    Published: Saturday, February 23, 2008
    PORT-AU-PRINCE – Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier pledged $555 million in fresh aid to Haiti yesterday, as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

    The funds, to be paid over the next five years, were earmarked to help build roads, police precincts and implement social and economic programs in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, Mr. Bernier told reporters.

    “Compared to other donor countries, our assistance to Haiti is one of the biggest per capita contributions,” he said.

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    Font:****”We are proud to be able to help Haiti because we have in Quebec a Haitian community that has brought so much to Canada,” said Mr. Bernier, adding that Canada will act according to aid priorities set by Haitian authorities.

    Despite other pledges of foreign aid since President René Preval took office in May 2006, Haiti’s government has faced growing complaints about a lack of effective action to deal with the high cost of living and widespread unemployment.

    “The hunger is unbearable and no one really seems to care,” said Marcfel Joseph, a father of three who has been jobless since 2004.

    “The government seems more inclined to please International Monetary Fund obligations than taking necessary measures to turn the situation around,” he said.

    “The government has failed to act and has proved to lack creativity in dealing with the problem,” said legislator Isidor Mercier.

    Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, who praised the Canadian cooperation, said the Haitian government was working toward increasing national production and creating the conditions for investment and job creation.

    “Only an increased production of food and competition on the market can help lower food prices,” said Mr. Alexis, adding that the country is now importing almost all bare necessities.