A giant within our midst

It never ceases to amaze me what it takes to achieve ‘fame’ in the modern times. No doubt every New Brunswicker knows who Casey LeBlanc but how many know the name Donald Savoie?

Without minimizing the accomplishment of Ms. LeBlanc, most people with sound mind would agree that here efforts pale in comparison to the work of Donald Savoie. U de M professor Savoie is one of the most influential writers and thinkers on regional development and democratic government models in the world. He has advised Prime Ministers and has receive accolades the world over. He has over 30 books to his credit.

Now, professor Savoie has been given a high honour in Britain. He has accepted a fellowship at the ultra-prestigious All Souls College at Oxford University in England. According to the Times & Transcript article this weekend, All Souls “…is certainly the oldest and likely the most famous and respected ‘think tank’ in the world.” The T&T further states, Savoie’s books and academic papers on economic reform and decentralized public administration are being closely studied by British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s reformist government initiatives.

So, with this in mind, we should all keep an eye out for Savoie’s upcoming book called Visiting Grandchildren: Economic Development in the Maritime Provinces, due out early in 2006. I understand it will be a powerful analysis of trends and Savoie’s recommendations for successful economic development in the region going forward.

If Tony Blair is listening, maybe so should we.

As for Casey, I hope her career takes off and we get to hear her wailing on the local radio station. But for something a little more important (no disrespect intended), we may want to hear what Savoie is saying or we may not be incubating the likes of Casey LeBlanc any more as her family (generically speaking) will have moved to Fort McMurray.