Avoiding the low blows

I just finished my once every few weeks Technorati search of the blogosphere for posts related to the New Brunwick economy, politics, etc. And you know what I have determined? There’s a lot of people that do not have a very favourable opinion of Premier Lord. Now, this is to be expected of any political leader but the amount of profanity and serious personal attacks is way over the top.

So, given that my blog takes some hard hitting swings at the Premier’s ecnoomic policy let me restate my position in the clearest possible terms.

I admire anyone who throws their hat in the game and gets involved in politics. I think the vast majority of politicians are well intended and enjoy serving their communities. I think there are a few bad apples but by in large I do not believe that all politicians are ‘crooks’ and ‘liars’ and ‘cheats’.

As for Premier Lord, I admire his ambition to serve the people as Premier. I respect him for that and have some appreciation for the toll public life can take on your family and your personal life. But, I honestly think he was the wrong man and the wrong time for New Brunswick. There are times when a very limited policy agenda can be warranted. Where an overly ambitious policy agenda can stifle economic growth and lead to bad outcomes. But I believe that after the McKenna years with their economic development focus, their tough financial times (the cuts, the layoffs, the loss of significant federal dollars) and the ultimate balancing of the books, it was a golden opportunity to put forward an ambitious agenda with funds to finally turn the corner and move New Brunswick in the right direction with the private sector creating significant jobs, with the need for Equalization in decline and with the province becoming a hotbed for innovation and a place that people would move to in droves. Think about the billions in new spending since 1999. Unprecedented in New Brunswick’s history – in inflation adjusted terms. Unprecedented. And our Premier and his Cabinet took the easy way out. They plowed everything into the expense side the ledger (read health care) and almost nothing into the kinds of investments (read economic development) that would set the table for a strong economic future.

And I say this – sometimes forcefully – sometimes sarcastically – in this blog. But though I disagree with the Premier on policy, I will never (and please check me if I do) stoop to personal attacks, vicious slander and foul language towards a man who is serving the Province as an elected official.

Further, I had hoped that the blogosphere could be a place where New Brunswickers could turn to have intelligent and rational debates about matters that aren’t interesting to guys like Al Hogan. I had hoped that it would be place for sometimes raucous debate but not stoop to just silly personal attacks and wild vitriol.

I realize that one of the best features of the blogosphere is that it is uncensored – unscripted – free to wheel around in all directions. But I think we are going to drive away people with important things to say – read Alec Bruce – and keep others out who are starting to associated blogging with nutbars. You know what I mean. Just about the only time you hear about bloggers these days in the normal media it’s about the nutbars – not those who are serving up legitimate issues for debate.

So, I hope that makes my position clear.