Digging around behind the couch

Some people have asked me how I would pay for my great ideas. They rightly realize that if we are to invest significantly more into economic development in New Brunswick, the money has to come from somewhere.

To this I answer with a question. Have you ever noticed how politicians seem to be able to find the money when the want to? Where did the $600 million come from the scrap the toll highway from Fredericton to Moncton in 1999? Where did the $800 million come from to refurbish Colson Cove to process Orimulsion? Where did the money come from to feed the health care beast over the past few years? Where did the $2 billion for Newfoundland come from?

Funny thing. When they make something a priority it usually gets funded.

Now we hear that the Prime Minister is offering a ‘one off’ deal to New Brunswick that could be worth $700 million. Irrespective of the bizarre nature of Federal-Provincial relationships right now, if this money is offered it should be put into a fund specifically for economic development. As I have mentioned elsewhere, there was a REDA in place in the 1990s (Regional Economic Development Agreement) that provided Federal funds for economic development in New Brunswick. This agreement ended early in the current government’s administration and it was never renewed. That was tens of millions of dollars for economic development.

Now, maybe we have a window of opportunity to get more federal funding to help us dig out of the economic quagmire. I hope the province is smart enough to see where it is most needed.