Sorry Centrist out front on key issue

I’ve never actually met the Sorry One. We’ve exchanged emails. I have met his dad – good fella all around.

I am a big believer in Maritime cooperation – throw in all your buzz words – critical mass, power in numbers, yadda yadda yadda.

But there’s a broader, deeper and more insidious thing going on here the people don’t want to talk about.

There’s a deep-seated and multi-generational fear in Atlantic Canada that one or the other province might just ‘get ahead’ of the other. Misery loves company and virtually all efforts to get the provinces to seriously cooperate (beyond stuff that all can readily agree on) have failed.

Even now, we fight over beer, LNG, pipelines, Equalization, jobs, funding, on and on.

Heaven forbid that PEI might just get ahead or curse us all if New Brunswick moves one step forward.

I remember having a talk one time about 15 years ago with a grizzled old veteran of New Brunswick business. He used to manufacture windows and doors and he told me in the 1950s and 1960s it was harder to sell to government in Nova Scotia than just about any other province or state. He said they would rather buy from an Ontario firm at a higher cost than a New Brunswick firm.

So that’s why the Sad Centrist makes perfect sense and why some will scoff at the notion.

Not me. The first thing I thought when I heard Halifax was scrapping their bid for the Commonwealth Games was “why wasn’t this pitched as a Maritime bid? Sure, the bulk of the activity would have been in Halifax but if we can do a Vancouver-Whistler Olympic bid, why not a Halifax-Moncton-Saint John bid?

I don’t know but I think deep down in my bones that a lot of regional – non-Nova Scotia – and maybe just non-Halifax politicians were secretly grinning last night. And if so, that’s shameful. I don’t know the full extent of the rationale to pull out but I’ll take them at their word that it was necessary. But hosting those games and the resultant infrastructure and influence would have been a coup for Halifax – and yes, you parochialists – the Maritimes.

This kind of morbid race to the bottom, fighting over table scraps, attitude between provinces and cities in the Maritimes has got to stop.

I stand up and clap loudly when Halifax lands 1,000 hedge fund management jobs. Hallelujah. The recent wins on PEI – financial services and biotech? Hallelujah. The recent….. in New Brunswick? If there were some, I would yell hallelujah.

And if, God forbid, PEI gets a little bit ahead? Great. Maybe a little more pressure on the other Atl. provinces will get people moving.

I have the ‘pleasure’ of reading virtually all of the regional newspapers on a daily basis. Occupational hazard, one might say. I can tell you in all of these papers, you will find snide voices stirring up this kind of community-to-community resentment in the Maritimes. Al Hogan probably puts on seminars for guys like this Peter Moreira down at the Chronicle Herald. Constantly crapping on any attempts to work together to the betterment of the whole Maritimes. Constantly demanding that we isolate ourselves from any effort to move ahead. And the icing on the cake? Never offering any real alternatives – just spiteful and self-defeating rhetoric.

So we leave it to those lost soul bloggers. And the rub? These scribblers get paid to spew forth their poison while the Sorry Centrist gets sweet diddly squat.