Predictable Al Hogan

I can’t be too wordy this morning, I am running off to the kid’s Christmas concert but a couple of things. One, Al Hogan served another softball up to the Libs this morning in the editorial. You have to agree with me that when Al loves you, you are loved but when he turns, you had better run for the hills.

New Brunswick Finance Minister Victor Boudreau and the government of Premier Shawn Graham unveiled a generous capital works budget for the province yesterday, focussing the bulk of the funding on two crucial infrastructure areas: roads/highways/bridges and health care. Of the total $486 million capital budget, a whopping $325.9 million will go to improving our roads, highways, and bridges. That’s 67 per cent of the total. And while the exact projects and amounts must wait for departmental spending estimates, we do know that these funds will include fixing the last bad stretch of Highway 126, addressing the rutting problem on Highway 15 between Shediac and Moncton, and additional funds to ensure Mapleton Road widening in Moncton. If the rest of the highways money is as well-directed, New Brunswickers will have been well served. Our self-sufficiency depends on safe, reliable, well maintained highway infrastructure.

Why I dislike this is simple. I am turning on this notion of pouring hundreds of millions into roads while cutting economic development spending or any efforts to bring our communities and their economies into the 21st Century. It may have been cute before but now it’s just getting annoying – to me at least. I’d rather drive on potholes and beat the crap out of the underside of my Passat and get to the Miramichi and see a thriving, new economy with animation studios, R&D, data centres, a college humming with hundreds of kids ready to be turned onto the streets of the Miramichi for jobs right there than skimming over beautiful highways to reach the Miramichi and find boarded up mills and the smell of desperation.

As for the Telegraph Journal, there is a wonderful piece in the Business Section on…..

All jokes aside, there is a good opinion piece on the importance of branding but – I hate to sound like an old record here I really do – you gotta have something to brand. Slapping a new coat of paint on a Yugo doesn’t change that it is a Yugo.

There is another story that Saint John is the second-least attractive city in Canada for immigrants. Halifax and St. John’s get much better marks. Moncton, apparently doesn’t have enough immigration to be included in the study (or the Conference Board forgot to notice that Moncton is now a CMA). Anyhoo, I think issue must be addressed. There is no doubt if we start to see a turn in the economy, we will need to have the workers to feed it and just trying to attract back all the exNBers will likely not be enough.