This stuff scares the crap out of me

Just got done reading a Maclean’s article called ‘Lagging Behind’ talking about Canada’s lack of ‘competitiveness’. It goes on to say essentially that the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and Kevin Lynch the new head of the Privvy Council are behind the scenes weilding influence with Stephen Harper, Flaherty and the boys.

I gotta say, this stuff scares the crap out of me. I had hoped that New Brunswick would have gotten its act together and led a innovative, economic growth strategy that was home grown and the envy of other provinces not as aggressive. But that is not happening and now we’ve got the top dogs on the policy front talking about policies to ‘reduce labour mobility’ which is code for reducing EI and other income support activities.

Make no mistake. To the CCCE (and I like CEOs and corporate Canada as a rule) and Lynch, Tracadie is to New Brunswick as New Brunswick is to Canada. It’s the Miramichi. It’s Sussex. It’s a weight on the country’s competitiveness and productivity. It needs to be lanced like a boil.

I know I have been harsh on the CCCE and Lynch in the past but don’t think twice about my intention.

It is our job to convince these mandarins that New Brunswick can be part of the solution not the ongoing problem.

And Bernie Lord demanding more Equalization while EI spending is up 26% during his mandate and all the while population is declining ain’t gonna cut the mustard, folks.

We need to be out front proving Lynch and the boys that they are wrong. That New Brunswick can lead on the competitiveness front. Can carve out some unique industy development strategies and work them like dogs right here in good ol’ New Brunswick.

Here’s a few questions for Bernie, Jeannot, Carr and the boys. It’s partially rhetorical – but maybe not.

Does demanding more Equalization to plow in to social programs enhance Canada’s competitiveness?

Does a 26% increase in EI payments and New Brunswick MPs demanding more EI enhance Canada’s competitiveness?

Does a bailout of an old economy industry and zero investments in new economy industries enhance Canada’s competitiveness?

Does marginally cutting New Brunswick income tax rates and making up the difference with more Federal transfers and Equalization enhance Canada’s competitiveness.

So to Bernie, Shawn, the New Brunswick Council of CEOs and all the others that want to shape the future NB, here’s a tip. You had better start looking at things through the prism of competitiveness.

Harper won’t massively cut off Atlantic Canada. That would be politically risky. But letting the region bleed to death while they invest in ‘competitiveness’ elsewhere, in my opinion, is worse.

In the words of the philosopher Def Leppard: It’s better to burn out than to fade away.


PS – on a separate note Ontario is serving up $44 million for 3,000 new auto jobs. Nova Scotia is spending more than that just to retain several hundred existing jobs. Here’s an excerpt:

The $500 Million fund, which has also been used by General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler, has only $37.5 million left in it. McGuinty said the “successful” business incentive program could be expanded.

Daulton has spent $462.5 million growing the auto sector. Hmmm. I wonder how that fits into Lynch’s competitiveness thinking?