Setting the record straight, part 453

I want bring this foreward as it’s important for people to understand my position. This is a recent anonymous response to one of my posts:

I’ve lived in every province and NB is by far the worst place I’ve lived. The poverty is worse than you see in most places in ontario (except downtown toronto, montreal and vancouver). The only way I’d think it was the best province is if I’d never lived anywhere else. Add in all these factors that DC frequently mentions and you’ve got a really nasty place to be. That’s the kind of thinking that has New Brunswick last in almost every indicator-its ‘the best’ but for no real reason.

I just wanted to quickly respondto this. I won’t take issue with your position. I understand it. But I will say this. My intent is not to depress everyone and accelerate out-migration. Heaven help me if I become an agent of that which I despise.

I like New Brunswick. A lot. It’s a place with four seasons. With lush, green forests. With wonderful rivers. It has two great coastlines. It has relatively limited crime – at least violent crime.

The people, for the most part, are about as nice as you will find anywhere. They can be a shy bunch and a little hard to penetrate but they are a good people. I have lived in the southern US (six years) and western Canada (better part of two years) and travelled extensively and New Brunswickers for the most part are good friggin’ people.

And the Acadian influence has been, I think, great for New Brunswick. You see it more in Moncton but Acadians tend to be a little more optimistic about the future – again that might be more Moncton than Tracadie and maybe because in general terms things are more on the upswing for Acadians than Anglos right now. Just my opinion.

Sure, there’s a natural element of defeatism and resignation ingrained in the culture – more so maybe on the Anglo side and more in the rural areas but that’s the result of generations of under performance in the economy. It’s been a mighty long time since someone characterized Bathurst as being a ‘vibrant economy’ or Caraquet or Sussex.

But that’s why I push so hard in this blog. Not to piss everyone off and throw up their hands. But to say we can change this.

We can get incrementally better. We can stop the depopulation. We can be a model for thriving rural communities. We can be a caring place that people are happy to move to not away from.

But we’ve got to recalibrate our priorities. We’ve got to get back to focusing on economic development – at the community level. If we can re-energize these communities – large and small- we will bring back a sense that NB can be something. Not just the drive through province. Not just a place that is characterized in movies as the outer limits of North American society.

That’s why I push.

So if anyone reads this stuff and feels worse or hopeless or just concludes that I am a quack, don’t worry too much.

New Brunswick is a heck of a lot better than it was 30 years ago.

Our education challenges should be solve-able. Ironically, stemming out-migration will help this as the data shows that the average out-migrant is more educated than the person that stays.

Our health problems should be solve-able. I think alot of this is tied to attitude and attitudes can improve.

Our economic problems are solve-able. Read blogs 1-900 for my thoughts on this starting in Oct. 2004.