Civilization and its discontents

I have been thinking about that new political party after reading the TJ article yesterday. 

I know I have been banging on this drum a lot lately but it is a fundamental issue for me.  I need to get my head around how New Brunswickers – Minto-based pastors no less – can watch a steady stream of data go by about New Brunswick having the least healthy population (the article yesterday about NB having the least active teenagers of all 10 provinces as an example), the least educated population, one of the worst performing economies, etc. – and hardly say boo but when a government tries to, it seems in good faith, address a looming crisis in electricity generation – we get unprecedented outrage, community mobilization, coffee shop anger and, yes, even new political parties.

Where are the new political parties forming as a result of the outrage about things that matter?  If anyone really believes the ultimate ownership of NB Power is more important than our heath or education or economic development, I grant they have the right in a democracy but that shows pretty screwed up priorities to.

I’d like to see the mobilization on these other far more important issues but for some reason that continues to elude me people seem to think that other stuff is somehow inevitable while stopping the fascist pillage of NB Power is a righeous cause.

If you want to know why the vast majority of NB communities are losing population or why New Brunswick ranks so low on so many economic and social measurements – look no further.  We are a province that is hard wired to accept our fate – to the point we will fight any effort to change it.

5 thoughts on “Civilization and its discontents

  1. I don’t think you are beating a drum, it’s more like beating your head against a wall. And your point of view, with all due respect, is a bit elitist and dare I say, bordering on condescending. I do not believe you to be either of those things, but perhaps hanging around something other than data, and people in business suits might open your eyes a bit. (Now, who is being condescending?).

    NBPower is a symptom of a wider frustration, coupled with a simple lack of awareness. While for people like you live for information, not everyone thinks that way, nor will they ever. Where I think you get frustrated is understanding politics, and is one of the many reasons that Economic Development and Politics are not a healthy mix. They are very different.

    The old saying all politics is local, and it is very very true. In New Brunswick we have a two party system, that are subject to being unduly influence to an ‘establishment’. If you want to start lamenting that we are so poor and stupid that we won’t change, perhaps most of the blame rests with the establishment.

    If you want to know why the vast majority of NB communities are losing population or why New Brunswick ranks so low on so many economic and social measurements it’s because we have a stagnant, established and elitist business and political class who, like the rest of us, are only out for their own self interest and for some reason think that their best interest is everyone else’s.

    I keep lamenting that if you want change, we need electoral reform, but the established interests like the status quo.

  2. I have always said there are certain interests in New Brunswick that are benefitting from the status quo. That is exactly why I rave against companies that lobby against efforts to attract industry here. Some, and I say some, firms like low labour costs and lack of competition for workers. Some firms like having access to the government kitty all to themselves. In the most successful jursidictions that I have looked at the local business community is actively helping to attract business investment under the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats.

    You want electoral reform. I want an open economy that is attracting investment, talent and ideas.

  3. I’m not sure it is a surprise that it’s the NB Power / HQ story that gets the juices flowing. After all, on the surface, it is fairly straightforward and easy to portray as a black and white issue. I do not think that is an unusual situation in most jurisdictions around the globe to have stories like this become dominant and galvanizing, while issues perhaps more vital to people’s well-being are getting short-shrift.

    People tend to accept the ‘current state’ as normal, no matter how bad it is, and are often resistant to change. Rather than proposing major electoral reforms (that likely would not get enough support to pass), I’d be more in favour of some legislative changes that would 1) increase govt transparency 2) promote establishment of information / policy clearinghouses at the unis 3) promote new hard copy media by strenghthening anti-competitive actions by the Irving press. That would perhaps help get people more engaged in policy issues, and perhaps encourage a society more open to change on all fronts, economic and political.

  4. “by strenghthening anti-competitive actions by the Irving press. ”

    Oops. That should have been ‘by inhibiting anti-competitive actions by the Irving press.’

  5. “People get the government they deserve – and they deserve to get it good and hard.” – H.L. Mencken

    A note to all those who complain about the “Establishment” running everything, you ARE the Establishment.

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