Talking points

I see in the TJ that economic development folks are getting a little restless. Talking about the upcoming skilled labour shortage summit, several economic guys are stressing that it has to be more than ‘talk’ and actually result in tangible action. In my opinion, this is the on the ground view of most economic developers. There has been spectacular talk but not much action in the past year.

The TJ is also blaming the Feds for the lack of immigration in New Brunswick. The point they are making is that the system is not designed to attract tradespersons. While this is a real problem, it represents about 1% (in my opinion) of the issue. There are much more important issues. A number of other provinces have ‘deals’ with the feds on immigration. New Brunswick does not. New Brunswick, as a province, does not have a targeted immigration strategy. In Nova Scotia, officials are going to Costa Rica to attract accountants directly into the financial services back office sector – real, good paying jobs. New Brunswick’s immigration ‘budget’ is essentially nothing. There may be one or two persons involved in immigrations. Quebec has 100 employees working directly on immigration.

The Daily Gleaner is running a story about a psychic and his prediction about ‘self-sufficiency’. Keith Atkinson, a clairvoyant originally from Ottawa with 30 years of experience predicting the future, says ‘yes.’ “It will reach self-sufficiency by 2026 at least, and if Ottawa co-operates, it could happen before then,” Atkinson said at Fredericton’s annual psychic fair held on the weekend.

Even the psychics are already blaming the feds if we don’t reach self-sufficiency. We already have a fall back position if we don’t become self-sufficient. Blame the feds. Sounds like the same excuse from the last 140 years. Eventually, we have to take responsibility for ourselves.

And as for the psychic, remember that Rasputin was advising the Romonovs as they were in the midst of collapse. So I wouldn’t be too interested in the word of a modern day clairvoyant.

The CBC is reporting on India’s AV Group expanding their mills in Nackawic and Atholville, near Campbellton, so the facilities can produce dissolving pulp, used in making rayon. The world demand for that fibre has increased, while the market for others, such as cotton and polyester, is falling.

Two points. One good and one bad. On the good side, this could represent one model for adding value in a new way. On the bad side, I still remember the owner of the Nackawic mill forewarning that he may need more government money to survive. He said this on the day the mill reopened.