I just read that Jamie Irving and another senior person at the TJ are out over this Harper/Wafer story. It seems quite severe but I guess I don’t know the full story (back story).
I just met Irving for the first time a few weeks ago. I bumped into him at an event and we chatted about (what else?) economic development. He seemed to have a good handle on the issues and I could see that the TJ was an ally in my quest to get the discussion about economic development more broadly into the public square in this province.
I still remember back to the release of the 2001 Census which showed that New Brunswick’s population had formally slipped into decline for the first Census period since records have been kept in this province. It should have been the clarion call for a serious economic development effort but it was treated by the media as just another story. I remember the Premier lamenting our ‘demographic’ problems and then moving on.
14 straight front page stories about the lack of a ‘cath lab’ in Moncton. Over two months of hammering people over the head about the unjust nature of toll highways. On and on. The greatest problem ever in the history of this province, a couple of stories, an obligatory quote or two from eminent professors and then on to the real news – property taxes are on the rise (weeks of stories).
Of course, I am referring to the Times and Transcript back then and not the TJ but the point is still valid. Newspapers on their front page and their opinion pages take stands on the issues of the day. The TJ has become a serious and important advocate for deliberate and sustained economic development in New Brunswick and has done a good job of keeping relevant stories in the news and on the opinion/editorial pages.
There have been times when the commentary has been sharp and I am sure that Maurice Robichaud has more than once spilled his coffee after reading an editorial but from where I sit most of the commentary has added to the conversation. The government itself set out the most ambitious economic development agenda in the history of the province with its self-sufficiency agenda and should welcome the TJ’s efforts to keep the agenda front and centre.
I hope that tradition continues post-Jamie Irving.