I hope the Times & Transcript does not set economic development policy. Read this editorial. The T&T rightly positions Saint John as the Energy Hub and says “Smaller cities are adjusting away from a resources-based cyclical economy into manufacturing — yesterday’s announced $130 million military contract for Miramichi being a fine example.”
Then it goes on to position Moncton as the place for other New Brunswickers to ‘blow off steam’ on weekends and on vacation.
Now there’s an economic development strategy. Energy hub for Saint John. Manufacturing for smaller cities and tourism for Moncton.
There is certainly nothing wrong with entertainment and tourism as an economic development priority but setting up the community as the ‘entertainment hub of Atlantic Canada’ should not be the primary focus of the community.
Where is the editorial calling for support of the life/health sciences industry? How about the ICT industry? How about Moncton’s role as a distribution hub?
We know that Greater Moncton added something like 8,000 people to its labour force over the past 10-12 years. Most of these jobs were in customer contact centres and a lot of them were in value added services.
I hope there is not a single person or newspaper editor that is calling for the next 8,000 jobs to come from ‘entertainment’ or the retail sector. These are low wage and relatively low value added sectors, folks. It should not be the primary focus.
Now astute readers will say that the T&T says “Metro Moncton truly is poised to make ‘entertainment hub of Atlantic Canada’ a major part of its powerfully diversified economic portfolio.”
But it also says:
Premier Shawn Graham has known all along that ‘entertainment capital’ is a big part of Moncton’s future and he has invested millions of dollars into the area in that spirit.
Do you want the government to be investing millions into ‘entertainment’ or millions into life/health sciences infrastructure? Millions into entertainment or millions into a world class ICT incubator?
Again, for those of you black and white thinkers, I am not saying there is no role for government in support of tourism and entertainment but we need to get the priorities right.