What New Brunswickers Want – Or Should Want

After reading another one of Al Hogan’s cooing and gurgling pieces about Premier Lord, it got me thinking maybe I am wrong. Maybe Al’s right. Maybe Premier Lord is an outstanding leader and will go down in history as one of this province’s great Premiers.

But, I have to ask, how do we define this? As I have stated many times before, history judges its political leaders is by the impact they had on their region. Ronald Reagan ended the cold war. Louis Robichaud ushered in a new era with equal opportunity. I have to ask Al, what will Premier Lord’s legacy be? After six plus years in office we should be getting a good picture.

My take on this thing is this. New Brunswick’s economic crisis is the overwhelmingly greatest challenge to our future. We are now more dependant on Equalization and Employment Insurance welfare than at any point in our history. And, there are rumblings out of Ontario that that province is ready to crack the whip on its subsidization of the poorer provinces. Shouldn’t we expect that our politicians would make the economy their top priority? Shouldn’t the reduction in dependance on Equalization be, by far, the #1 priority?

I think that the New Brunswick Premier should make the economy its #1 priority. It should have a serious plan backed up by major investments to attract foreign business investment to replace the declining investment in our traditional industries and to provide a firm economic foundation for our future. I think the government should spend every waking hour trying to get the international investment lense focused on New Brunswick.

But that is simply not the case. We spend among the lowest amounts on economic development when we should be spending the most.

And the irony of this is that the warning signs are everywhere and there seems to be limited interest among the politicians, media and even the general public.

Our politicians govern as if it is politics as usual. As if we need to ‘incrementally’ move things forward.

We have not witnessed population decline in New Brunswick since the Great Depression and we haven’t had consecutive years of population decline (multiple) since Confederation. Shouldn’t that be a massive cause for concern? By my simple calculations, we would need to double the size of the workforce and hold other costs constant just to eliminate our dependance on Equalization. Shouldn’t that be the goal?

How do we get out of the welfare mentality when we seem to embrace it? Premier Lord has spent more time looking for federal government handouts than looking for new business investment.

Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe we are on the road to ‘prosperity’ as the Premier maintains. Maybe Al Hogan is right and history will remember this time as one of the greatest booms in the province’s history.