Pass the Pepto Bismol, please

I just read John McLaughlin, the President of UNB’s, comments in the Telegraph Journal and I had to reach for the Pepto. It seems every time I hear about this NextNB initiative, I get acid reflux.

Mr. McLaughlin is rightly concerned that no one in New Brunswick seems to understand the population and economic crisis facing our province. He rightly suggests that we have to get busy and solve this crisis.

Then the article states:

He has faith in the ability of New Brunswickers to shape a better future.After all, they did it in the 1960s and after the Second World War, he said. Sixty years ago New Brunswick had a lot in common with what people today consider a Third World country, he said. Yet men and women returned from the war with a renewed sense of confidence and undertook the massive effort of modernizing a province that lacked electricity in rural areas and had a small middle class.

Now, trust me, this is all good rhetoric but what the Prez and all of these guys seem to forget was the massive amount of foreign and national business investment that poured into New Brunswick after the War building new pulp mills, mines, fish processing plants, etc.

So, while the Prez’s heart is in the right place for saying that New Brunswickers saw the problem and tackled it (what a romantic), the fact that NextNB seems to be minimizing and/or neglecting the massive external investment needed to support any major economic transformation is, to me, very baffling.

NextNB should spend its time figuring out how we are going to bring in new investment, new people and new ideas from outside this province as that is the fundamental challenge.

More money for UNB will mean more trained graduates for Ontario and that may serve UNB’s agenda but not the province.