Mandate creep

The TJ has an article today discussing the Acadian Peninsula Economic Development Fund.  It mostly makes the case that a lot of money has been spent for a very small amount of jobs.

I’m not going to critique this article except to say a couple of things:

1. This type of information needs to be in the public domain even though it does reinforce negative stereotypes of economic development efforts.  No good comes from hiding this stuff.

2. I think there in fact is a role for government to play in the funding of ‘studies’, historic buildings and industrial parks.  Who else is going to fund them?  It is the role of government to act on behalf of the public at large.  We can debate the relevancy of certain expenditures but we shouldn’t pretend there is no role for the government in the area of economic development.

3. The problem here is mandate creep.  I would argue that many economic development agencies (including ACOA) suffer from either bad mandates or mandate creep.  If the Acadian Peninsula Economic Development Fund was set up to create good paying jobs for the residents up there, the monies should have been used to leverage private sector investments that led directly to job creation.  There has been $105 million doled out since the Tories set up these Northern NB funding programs in 1999.  That’s a pretty good chunk of change that could have been leveraged into at least 4,000-5,000 good paying jobs in the North.

That’s why I like clean and neat investment attraction efforts.  There is almost zero politics (i.e. funding gravy train projects in local areas), no rewarding political friends, no funding for highly speculative projects (remember I didn’t like the textile mill projects from the start), etc.  The only politics, I suppose, comes into play when you are working with the companies on where to physically locate their operations – then there is fierce competition.

We need to get back to the fundamental need in the north for significant new business investment.  Every project funded up there should be put through that lense.  Every $50,000 in government spending should leverage $200,000 of private sector spending.

7 thoughts on “Mandate creep

  1. I was just heading your way with this.
    My concern is, is this enough to buy the Acadian vote or do you expect more?
    And do you think Frank Branch should of had more support from this liberal leader? Leader? lol

    Why do I have the feeling NB is getting worse?
    You see! I have gained confidence in you and know you have the answer.

  2. Why does this outfit need to be classed as bilingual? I mean “WE” never hear of it. How much money goes into this? Who belongs ?
    What is it for? As most of us know,bilingual means french.

    Human Resources Association of New Brunswick

    Founded in October 1996, we’ve come a long way in meeting the needs of Human Resource professionals in New Brunswick. We’ve grown from just over a few individuals to now over 1,000 members in five chapters. Throughout it all, we’ve been involved in helping our members grow and achieve, as well as promoting a professional standard of knowledge and proficiency in Human Resources.

  3. This has nothing to do with the region being French. Cape Breton has the same economic development problems in Nova Scotia.

    As for the original post, how much of the ~$100 million does the textile mill cover?

  4. Politics disguised as economic development. This is meat for the anti-economic development cause.

    The two do not mix.

  5. Anonymous-

    It’s a question for David. I’m wondering whether he knows how much of that $100 million represents the two textile mills, or whether they’re included at all.

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