Economic development is a non-partisan issue

Somebody send me a post for the blog that led off with”

“People like Donald Savoie (UofM), David Campbell, Peter Linfield and Don Desseraud (UNB) seem remarkably quiet about this election. Why are some of these experts not ‘beating the drum’ on the following:”

and then went on to list a variety of issues such as Atcon, Hydro-Quebec, deficits, etc. – basically all of the opposition talking points for this election.

I can’t speak for Savoie, Lindfield or Desseraud but I would make two responses to this from my perspective.

First, I have been raising the issues that I think are very important both in my column and this blog – deficits, job creation, the need for high value jobs, my disagreement with tax cuts, etc.  I have stated clearly that I supported the Hydro-Quebec sale and burned through a lot of goodwill at the same time.

Second, I am trying to be non-partisan about this because I hate it when we politicize economic development.  When Bernard Lord repudiated Frank McKenna’s economic development efforts for purely partisan reasons, I couldn’t believe it.  Most people – not all – but most agreed that Frank’s main contribution was his economic development efforts and Lord felt he had to come up with a ‘Made in New Brunswick’ economic development model.  As I have pointed out, he ended up benefitting from more call centre jobs created than McKenna did – a fact that is never mentioned by anyone.  Lord could have expanded McKenna’s efforts beyond call centres and helped foster the growth of other sectors of the economy but opted for a passive approach.  I hope the current Tories understand the critical importance of setting policy and effort to make New Brunswick attractive for business investment.

The Liberals have Atcon, the Tories had Atlantic Fine Yarns.  The Liberals had the Caisse bailout, the Tories had Orimulsion.  The Liberals are running up a huge deficit in the face of the recent recesssion, the Tories ran up a huge deficit under former Premier Hatfield.  The Liberals may have made mistakes with NB Power (I am honestly not qualified to say) but so did the Tories (Orimulsion and the Lepreau refurb). 

The point for me is there are lots of folks parsing political messages and making their points to try and sway voters one way or the other.   I’m interested in trying to get economic development on the radar of all political parties and the general public as well. 

This is non-partisan.

In response to charges he was too cozy to Stalin, Winston Churchill once said he would make a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons if he would help defeat Hitler.

I’ll make a favourable reference on these pages to any political party or politician that recognizes the importance of economic development and sets a clear agenda to move away from the sprinking of taxpayer dollars around New Brunswick model to a strategic sector development model.

2 thoughts on “Economic development is a non-partisan issue

  1. The big problem here is that ‘you’ are in the media now, and sadly there is almost NO critical commentary on the election out there. This seems a general complaint of “why is nobody talking about the election”. NB MAY unfortunately follow Alberta and Ontario in checking out of one of the only democratic forms we have.

    Nobody is completely non partisan, and again, if there were some actual policies to come out of here, then at least there would be some discussion on whether any parties listen. Its not partisanship if you criticize EVERYONE. Its a weird kind of objectivity that says ‘I don’t want to be biased so I won’t talk about it at all’.

    Keep in mind also that Atlantic Fine Yarns benefitted from BOTH parties, and both parties were deeply involved in the Caissie Populaire scandal. Again, the two political parties in NB are virtually identical in their effects, and often in their policies.

    Don’t know where the Churchill thing comes from, but Churchill was never a ‘fan’ of Stalin, and was by no means a supporter. He did cave in at Yalta, even though he wasn’t quite as gullible as Roosevelt, who was as numb as they come. However, Churchill was just as ‘totalitarian’, and his greatest fear was the support the russians might give India in its quest for independance. Again, Churchill wanted to ruthlessly crush the rebellion in a country that had helped them win the war and keep it as a colony. He asked both the US and Canada for aid, Canada’s Mackenzie King told him to take a flying leap. The totalitarianism in Great Britain was quite different from the soviet union, but it was still totalitarianism. When George Orwell wrote 1984 he quite specifically said he was referring to Great Britain, NOT the soviet union (the former had spies rooting out dissention, Stalin just took whole groups and killed them). There’s no doubt which is worse, but that doesn’t make one of them ‘good’.

  2. “strategic sector development model”

    Excellent phrase- I hope you don’t mind it if we employ this idea freely in talks with government to help induce regular support for development in the Arts and Culture sector.

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