Streeeeeeeetch it out a little more, please

If you ever have the time to wade through Resurgo, volumes I and II, you won’t be disappointed if like me you live for those little stories or anecdotes that come in handy during blogging or at parties.

For example, the famous fights between the editor of the local paper (I forget if it was the Times or the Transcript) and the Mayor – leading to fisticuffs.

But I digress.

The little story has to do with a certain Liberal politician – federal, I think, that come election time would be out in the mud of the Petitcodiac acting like he was surveying for a new bridge that the government would build should they get elected. Anyway, this old politician did this a few elections.

And that reminds me of the new Gunningsville (?) bridge. The construction of this bridge was stretched out for six years – and two elections – and I am still not sure they will meet their target of November. I was sure the Tories would flow the funds at such a pace that they would get three elections out of that bridge.

They will anyway as they will take credit for it once again in 2007 or 2008 when the call an election.

I am always amazed at how politicians can get serious political capital from doing things that had to be done. The new bridge was essential – it was a shame it hadn’t been done years ago. The new French language high school was not even an option – there would have been a revolt. Expansion at the local hospital – meme chose.

And yet, Monctonians love the government like none other. I’m not even sure that Mike Murphy will keep his seat next time around. The benevolence of the Tories will be sung from the rafters.

For me, this is a bit like kids praising their parents for making supper. It had to be done – and yet the kids act like there was a chance the parents may have forgot or just decided not to offer supper.

Governments expand schools, hospitals, bridges and even Justice buildings – in a totally reactive way. When the demand is there, when things are bursting, they do it. They shouldn’t get undue credit for this. What they should get credit for is when they do things in a totally proactive way – showing courage and leadership.

Anybody, maybe even me, can authorize the building of a school for French high school kids when there are thousands more Acadian kids living in the region. Duh, that’s a no brainer.

But how about a new strategy to attract high tech jobs to Moncton? How about a world class research centre at U de M focusing on e-Learning that attracts top research talent and e-Learning companies from around the globe?

That would take more than reading a demographic chart or addressing that stack of letters from irate Monctonians demanding their new school.

It would take leadership. Speculation. Courage.

That’s the kind of bridge I think we should be evaluating the success of our politicians on.

Bricks and mortar are easy. Ideas and brain power are hard.