Dion shares premier’s ambition for province?

The TJ is running an article this AM about a meeting it had with new Liberal leader (can I call him ‘new’?) yesterday.

In it, there is is quote:

In an interview with the Telegraph-Journal, he said he’s a big believer in Graham’s target of moving New Brunswick away from dependence on federal equalization payments.

“This is a very great goal,” Dion said. “I think it’s very demanding.”

It’s very ambitious but it’s good to be ambitious. If I become prime minister as I hope, I will have this ambition to share with your premier.”

Now, as long as I have been around, Federal leaders have ‘shared’ New Brunswick’s pain. Have wanted to ‘help’. Even Firewall Harper is going to impose economic development on us.

But I’ll believe it when I see it. Economic development funding in New Brunswick is considerably less today than ten years ago (as a % of budgets). Federal R&D funding per capita is still dead last in New Brunswick. Efforts to lure a large government translation centre died with the ‘new’ Tory government which basically said efforts to redistribute government jobs out of Ottawa were ‘stupid’.

On the Dion front, there is an even larger challenge. Does a new refinery fit into his green plans? New Brunswick is fairly dependent on pollution from its mills and factories. How does that fit? I’m all for green. In fact I agree with the premise that there are billions of dollars to be made jumping on the green bandwagon.

But will it be here?

I still think – and have always thunk (:-) – that the province needs to come up with a good strategy for economic growth and then ask nicely for the Feds to join in – and not vice versa.

And this does not extend to the previous government’s ‘Accelerating Prosperity’ which was a wish list of expenditures and had almost nothing to do with moving the province towards self-sufficiency.

Just another wish list of expenditures will lead to more horse trading in Ottawa and our hand is not that strong right now – and hasn’t been for a long time.

But a real plan, jointly funded by both levels of government that focuses on building several new, exciting industries might get the feds interest.


3 thoughts on “Dion shares premier’s ambition for province?

  1. The province needs to attract more research money. For Saint John to become the Atantica Energy Hub the city needs more than energy production – it needs researchers and professionals designing energy projects and move forward with entrepreneurial plans for the sector.

    If the province wants to leverage its Atlantica contributions (Energy in Saint John, Transportation in Moncton) then we need strong research and development sectors in these fields. The province needs to create and keep higher paying and higher quality jobs in these sectors to reap full economic and social benefit as we move forward.

  2. I worry about pollution and poverty in SJ. However, many waterfront projects such as police station, the courthouse, Hardman group skylines, both retail projetcs as well as a strong immigration policy will help Saint John to get a new momentum. Moncton has profited of a strong political advantage over the last 15 years on many issues. Moreover, SJ does not have Dieppe that help to increase in population as well. The time is come to help Saint John, to help its population to leave cronic poverty. On the other hand, the city has fail to slow down the population decrease between 1996 and 2001 and fail to attract new citizens. By now, I guess that Graham goverment will be more attentive about SJ city needs than both last gorverments. After all ,Saint John provide the only urban mind in New-Brunswick by far, no offence to Moncton.

    Good luck to Saint John.

    Sorry for my english, this is not my mother tongue


  3. Regardless of what happens with the Refinery, I think that SJ is on an upswing. I suspect those declining population #s will turn around soon.

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