Tip your hat to Harriet Gratian

I spend a lot of time talking about the need to bring in external businesses to set up here and create much needed jobs and economic growth. I think this is not only vital but essential to our economy surviving the decline in traditional industries.

However, it’s not only about investment. It’s about ideas. About bringing in more than just money. It’s about bringing in talent. Talent in the form of senior managers. Talent in the form of entrepreneurs. If we’re lucky. Talent across the spectrum. Bring it in – cross pollinate with our local talent and create something outstanding.

Consider DancEast.

The story goes that Harriet Gratian’s car broke down in Moncton in the 1970s and she decided that this place was as good as any to set up a dance studio.

The rest, as they say, is history. Since 1977, more than 15,000 dancers have trained at DancEast.

15,000 young New Brunswickers exposed to culture, discipline and, above all, the boost of self-confidence that comes from performing.

All from the vision of one person.

As I watched the performances twice last weekend, I couldn’t help thinking of how in her own way Harriet has played a role in the development of Moncton’s economy.

Instead of a ‘made in New Brunswick’ solution to economic development, we need global solution. We need to bring in companies and their massive investments. We need to attract top talent like Harriet. We need to be known for excellence.