New Brunswick Innovation Foundation

I see the NBIF has a new President.  It’s funny how initial perceptions can shape your view of things on an ongoing basis.  Former Premier Bernard Lord said the NBIF was to be the ‘catalyst’ to achieve his goal of bringing New Brunswick to among the top four provinces in Canada for R&D.    As of the latest data, we are still dead last in Canada.

And instead of the NBIF and government officials lamenting this fact, there is a whole lot of back slapping and wide grinning about the success of the NBIF.

My point is that maybe for those with a lesser ambition for the NBIF, it has been a wildly successful organization.  But if you were to believe the former Premier, the NBIF is a failure.

Now, as I have pointed out on many occassions, New Brunswick would need more than $100 million per year in increased R&D to have met the former Premier’s goal and an organization with $35 million to spend over many years can hardly be expected to leverage that into $100 million in new R&D. 

But a new president should be a time of renewal and rethink.    I don’t read anything into the new president’s comments that indicate any kind of course direction.  

I guess that is what frustrates me the most about the institutions involved in achieving these ‘goals’ in New Brunswick.  Premier Lord had his prosperity plan goals – none of which were met – and there was no accountability in the institutions of government.  The Graham government has its self sufficiency goals and (cross our fingers) let’s hope they get done.  But there doesn’t seem to be any alignment between the political goals and government institutional accountability.

If the NBIF was supposed to provide small levels of VC to 3 companies per year (17 over six years), host  conference, put on a business plan competition and funnel some funds to university researchers – than it is a success and everyone involved should be satisfied.  If it was supposed to be the catalyst that led to a massive amount of new R&D, it has failed and everyone should be introspective.

7 thoughts on “New Brunswick Innovation Foundation

  1. Not to sound TOO strident, but to use a familiar theme here, when you look at these issues and lack of political action, you have to at least consider that it seems fairly evident the government doesn’t WANT that type of growth. I’d tend to agree with Richard that IF the government were actively pursuing all kinds of different investors in all kinds of different industries, then social progress would be best achieved (in NB) by having different players competing for workers and policies. It seems VERY obvious that the ‘status quo’ with Irving and others controlling policy suits them perfectly fine. To use David’s example of a few years ago with regards to the ‘resort community’, not only can we posit that they are ‘disinterested’ but that they actively DISCOURAGE other investors. THeir apparant disinterest and almost seemingly outright hostility to the new company in Miramichi illustrates the problem with Richard’s view. IF other competing industry players were likely to arrive, it certainly would have been during the high growth era of the previous decade. But its quite obvious that people can’t simply be spectators-you want to keep a ferry-you have to fight for it. You want different policies for investment-you have to do the same. I wonder what would happen if a ‘normal’ guy like Richard held a placard and protested in front of the legislature?:) Two women got substancial changes to the educational department’s policies on travel by setting up ‘vanangels’. It’s not easy, but that’s where change comes from. I wonder what social policies Primus is going to start pushing now that they are in Edmunston.

  2. The article David refers to refers to NBIF ‘foundation chair Al Lacey’. Now would that be the same Al Lacey that has been allegdly violating wetlands regulations in the Bishop Drive area of Freddy Beach??? What kind of innovation is that? Kind of tells you a lot about how much GNB really cares about R&D when they appoint a guy like that as Chair. IMHO, NBIF is a patronage organization, devoted to rewarding party bagmen and their cohorts, with no interest in R&D.

    I’d like to take a good look at their books, especially re how they have been spending our money and who has been getting it.

  3. After a quick look at the NBIF website, this is the way I see it: GNB just didn’t want to look for someone outside the organization. Just look at the heavyweights in the Board of Directors.

  4. “I don’t read anything into the new president’s comments that indicate any kind of course direction”

    David, in fact what I see is a lot of change, but you don’t have to look for it in the words of the new president. After a quick look at the NBIF website, this is the way I see it: GNB just didn’t want to look for someone outside the organization. Just check who are the heavyweights in the Board of Directors.

  5. No trouble finding money for this crap. Cut teachers and increase layarounds!!
    What a province. Tax money for votes!

    As reported in yesterday’s Times & Transcript, the provincial government has indeed announced it will invest $850,000 toward the creation of an arts and cultural centre in Dieppe.

    Premier Shawn Grahm brought lots of smiles to Dieppe yesterday when he announced funding for a Dieppe Arts centre , not to mention the chuckle he had with little Théo Boudreau before the announcement. Premier Shawn Graham made the announcement at Dieppe City Hall yesterday morning, joined by Local Government Minister Bernard LeBlanc, who’s also MLA for Memramcook-Lakeville-Dieppe; Finance Minister Victor Boudreau, who is also the minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation; and Dieppe Mayor Jean LeBlanc.

    Moncton East MLA Chris Collins, former Dieppe Mayor Achille Maillet, and a number of Dieppe city councillors were also on hand to show their support.

    The city has already put aside $900,000 of its own money for the project, and the federal government contributed the other third.

  6. Seriously, look at who’s on the board. There are 4 deputy ministers, whose main responsibility is to avoid the prospect that government might be embarrassed. A few others are blatant patronage appointments connected to Francis McGuire and you have the recipe for incompetence, lack of accountability and then the new president’s inexperience makes more sense…

    Cynical governance at its finest.

  7. Education Minister Kelly Lamrock says he can’t give an exact number of how many non-teaching jobs will be lost in the school system, despite cutting nearly $24 million from his department’s budget for 2009-10.

    As Connie Francis sang, Where the votes are!

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