At first glance, I brushed this aside. But upon reflection, I think there may be some merit here. Economic development has two tracks. The short term track is about trying to leverage what we have now for short term business investment attraction and good job creation. The long term track is about building a province that is a natural magnet for business investment and human capital. We aren’t very good at either as history shows.
So where does support for the local book publishing industry come in?
I think we need to promote excellence. We need to find our niche but at some level we need to promote excellence. I think this has a long term effect on the community/provincial attitute. When we see the sports, arts, culture, etc. with very few NBers being competitive at a national (let alone international) level, I think that contributes to this malaise we see amongst the populace.
I have called for the attraction of more media business. World class documentary production here in New Brunswick and other media that would slowly raise the awareness of the provine outside the borders. That got hammered down.
I have called for a strategy that looks at the arts and culture sector for its economic growth potential and that doesn’t get much play.
Maybe investing $550,000 per year to promote local authors will start to incubate a bit of a writing/critical thinking segment in society. And maybe, just maybe, instead of always looking back to dissect the complexities of our past – some of our writers will turn their minds to dreaming a better future.