The New Brunswick Legislature

Shawn Graham is saying that the New Brunswick Legislature is the laughingstock of Legislatures across the ‘Commonwealth’. Upon some reflection, I have to agree.

I know this will rub you the wrong way but I’ll say it anyway. The New Brunswick Legislature 100-150 years ago was a place where society’s top thinkers and aristocrats came together to debate the issues of the day.

Compare that to today. Again, I am not an elitist but we’ve got 20 somethings and 30 somethings with zero world experience at the Cabinet table leading a $6 billion budget. We’ve got Tankers and tupperware salespersons. We’ve got guys that couldn’t get elected to Dieppe town council. We’ve got people with ‘tripods’ – whatever that means.

Why aren’t New Brunswick’s best and brightest attracted to politics? What is wrong? Where are the retired presidents of large corporations? Men/women with experience running large organizations? Where are the community leaders that want to make a difference? Where are folks of passion, intellect and desire?

Some people blame the pay. Some people blame the public scrutiny. Some people blame the media. Some say the hassle is not worth it.

But unless we can start attracting top minds back to the Legislature, I fear that the silliness of this week will continue. I fear that our ability to lead or innovate will be impeded. I fear that New Brunswick’s slow burn will continue.

So, to all you voters out there, here’s a challenge. When you are voting next time, pretend you have just won $1 million and the guy/gal you are putting your X beside will be the person you are entrusting to manage that money. Because in a very real sense, that is what you are doing. You are placing the $10s of thousands of dollars in taxes you will pay over the 8-15 years we give these guys in their hands. But more than that, we are placing the very future of the province in their hands.

I should delete this entry and I abhor elitism – but for cripes sake folks, look around.