Donald Savoie getting cranky?

I like to read through the Halifax Chronicle-Herald – mostly because it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the local rag here in Moncton.

There was an interesting article about the need for economic growth in Atlantic Canada. But this is not your average puff piece:

Indeed, Donald Savoie’s frustration is now palpable when he discusses the region’s problems and prospects. Savoie is a University of Moncton professor who has spent a career studying and writing about regional development, most recently in the superb book Visiting Grandchildren.

And what does he think of the attempts of the Maritime provinces to consolidate their efforts and push a common agenda for growth? “It’s a pile of bullsh*@$ the past 10 years,” he said in a recent interview with Stephen Maher, The Chronicle Herald’s Ottawa correspondent.

In essence, Ogilvie and Savoie are prescribing a favourite aunt’s remedy for almost any ill. “There’s nothing the matter with that kid,” she was fond of saying, “that a good, swift kick in the rear end wouldn’t cure.”

So, here’s a couple of observations.

1) How come more and more of the region’s top thinkers are getting more and more cranky about the total inaction in the area of economic development (Savoie most of all) and we have to read about it in Halifax papers?

2) At what point, exactly, do politicians wake up to all the yelling at them (admittedly Lord in New Brunswick gets very little of this is NB papers) to do something, anything to support economic development?

I understand why guys like Savoie are so frustrated (to the point of using colourful language). In Savoie’s early days 1970s, 80s – there was much more effort put on regional development – even though population was still increasing. Now, population is declining, and there is arguably the lowest level of government-initiated economic development in New Brunswick in the past 30 years.

And New Brunswick’s collective indictment? Well, in the latest opinion poll the NB Conservatives have a fairly good lead. After 7 years, New Brunswickers are apparently quite happy with declining population, retrenching traditional industries, significant increases in government spending (increasing dependance Equalization and other Fed transfers) and a complete lack of direction for our future economic growth.

Well, not all New Brunswickers feel this way. There’s at least one guy – Donald Savoie – that’s not very happy.

I have to recall an old song. I heard Sting sing this once but I’m not sure it’s his:

I’ve been down so long
Being down don’t bother me
I’ve been down so long
Being down don’t bother me
I’m gonna take all my troubles
Drown ’em in the deep blue sea

Finally, a good theme song for New Brunswick.