One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

As you know, New Brunswick was virtually left out of the growth of the manufacturing sector in Canada for decades.  Other than manufacturing that is tied directly to our natural resources, we have attracted and fostered very little.  By contrast, Ontario and Quebec fostered the growth of a wide variety of non-resource-based manufacturing in aerospace, automobile, electronics, pharmaceuticals, energy equipment, etc.

Now those sectors are being hit by the recession so New Brunswick isn’t feeling as much pain

But I have heard some people actually positioning this as a good thing.  You will hear, for example, that New Brunswick is somewhat buffered from this recession because of our ‘diversified’ economy.  In fact, this was actually said by provincial officials.

Underperforming in economic development for two decades and then spinning that out as positive is weird and even cynical.

I wish we had grown non-resource-based manufacturing in New Brunswick over the years.  It would have kept our people here and attracted immigrants and migrants.  I would be willing to take a little pain when there is a recession.

But to pretend that our underperformance is a good thing?  Nah.

But the bad news is that the recession now becomes an excuse for everything.  Deficits, lack of industry attraction, lack of employment growth, wage stagnation, whatever- you have a gift-wrapped excuse in the form of a recession.

4 thoughts on “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

  1. This is a very important topic. Failing to recognize our economic shortfalls or worse yet glossing them over as you point out is why there is such difficulty in getting any significant interest in economic development. Your posts on spin touch on the same point.

    The first step in solving a problem is recognizing we have a problem. We do have a problem. We are underperforming. Our approaches for the last 20 years are not working. We need to change.

  2. This is pretty much the same as during the depression. When canadians think of the depression they think of the prairies, but this is because chronic underperformance had been the norm for the maritimes since the turn of the century.

    But although Florida’s work is not so popular here, it does say something about Ontario. The ‘strategic’ investments that are essential are now largely being tied to ‘green’ infrastructure. There is even considerable media and political attention on Toronto’s attempt at getting high speed rail transit-at a time when government has NO money.

    The thinking is that if government has to make the jobs, they should at least be jobs aimed at the ‘new’ economy. And much of that is being driven by voters and groups continuously lobbying and making these demands.

    So it IS a time for potential opportunities. Which is why the media and politicians are talking about the status quo-roads, nuclear power, construction. If voters actually started making real demands on them, that’s not good for business-at least THEIR businesses. I’d again suggest that that’s pretty predictable when the media is owned by an industrialist with many and varied companies. In ontario the press is far different, as mentioned before, its almost overblown.But with the parrallels, the NB press should have been turning out the same type of dire stories for DECADES. Ironically, in NB its bad and the press says its lovely, in ontario its bettter, but the press says we’re all about a die a horribly fiery death! What a world.

  3. There is one issue that most people in NB are dangerously ignoring: the slowdown/recession in Alberta and Saskatchewan means less work for NBers here.

    The result will unfortunately be: (1) less money will be sent by NBers to their families back home (I don’t need to mention the effect of this on retail and services), and (2) more NBers will go back home and increase pressure on the province’s job market (and on government programs and services at a time when revenues will be lower).

    The effects have not been felt with all their force yet because the energy sector has typically been a lagging one in North American recessions.

    So suddenly the ugly and dirty oil sands will not look so bad after all…

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