Region needs a strong economic development voice

The Times & Transcript ran a front page article this morning on the future of Enterprise Greater Moncton.

I think it is totally legitimate to re-examine the mandate and activities of EGM at a time of transition (such as when a CEO resigns). Things have changed in the region and the various stakeholders of EGM should make sure that the organization is as relevant as it can be in these times of change.

But the idea put forward by some that EGM should be scaled back or that its municipal funding should be pulled is wrong headed.

I find it ironic that at this time when everywhere you look people are hammering for more ‘leadership’ on regional and national issues, some want to gut an organization that has played an important role in Moncton’s transformation over the last 20 years. Of course EGM wasn’t the Moncton Miracle but it did play an important role catalyzing regional projects, projecting a regional voice and implementing regional projects that would not have been accomplished without it.

The whole reason GMEC (now EGM) was founded was to bring a collective voice and collective action on economic development for the region. What has changed to make this collective approach irrelevant?

As I have said before the time is now for Greater Moncton to figure out where it’s economic growth will becoming from over the next 10-15 years and to figure out what the role of EGM will be (if any) in catalyzing that growth.

Hollowing out EGM or scaling it back to some local business counselling, etc.. would be a mistake, in my opinion.

There seem to be a lot of voices these days talking about ‘overlap’ and too many economic developers, etc. But even if you believe that, why cut EGM? Why not cut other levels, layers, laterals?

I think there is a legitimate and emerging view that we need to see more economic development success and the buck stops with the folks in that biz and their political leaders and the policies and directions they take.

But that, IMO, should lead to calls for strengthening EGM – not gutting it.