Ubisoft? Hard Realities

Just another day in the bizarro world of economic development in New Brunswick.

We use taxpayers funds to build a highly regarded animation/multimedia training program at the community college in Miramichi and then we ‘invite’ Ubisoft (a France-based games development company that was enticed to setup in Quebec with tens of millions of taxpayer dollars) to come to the college and raid away all of the top talent for jobs in Montreal and Quebec City.

We use taxpayer funds to hire one of the world’s best know forestry consultants from Scandanavia which has among the best-regarded forestry management programs in the world to come and tell us the best way to ensure that the forestry industry is healthy and environmentally sound into the future. The consultant reports and the governments sits on it – most think they will not accept the consultants recommendations. The forestry sector has already shed hundreds of jobs and exports are down significantly (as of 2005).

Where do these two issues meet?

In Miramichi, of course.

If the government had any type of strategy to attract companies like Ubisoft to actually setup in Miramichi (instead of just raiding the government subsidized trained workers), the decline in the forestry sector would be more palatable. If the government had a strategy to leverage the world class animation training in the Miramichi into hundreds and even thousands of new good jobs in animation, games development, e-Learning, etc., then letting David Coon win on the foresty issue may make more sense.

But letting the forestry industry shrivel up and die while the global expert gave you a workable plan and to not only let but encourage Quebec-based companies to come in and steal our best high tech workers makes about as much sense as shooting the horse you are riding on in the middle of a long journey because it is farting too much.

I am not blaming the students or the teachers in at the Miramichi college. They want their graduates to work and they know there is little or no alternative but to leave the Miramichi and most likely New Brunswick as well.

I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but if you are graduating top talent in animation shouldn’t you try and have jobs here for them when they graduate?

Don’t forget the words of the Atlantic Premiers last week – we need to make education a greater priority.

In my view, if you don’t have the guts to go out and attract the types of companies that will employ these kids when they graduate, then you may as well pay for their plane tickets out of here after they are done.