Dispatches from the road: Sao Paulo

The family and I are here for our now bi-annual pilgrmage to see my in-laws in Brazil.   I was here two years ago but in that short time the country had a significant growth spurt and significant foreign investment flowed in leading to a highly valued currency and eroding the value of my poor CDN dollars.  Bottom line?  Everything seems considerably more expensive.

I´ll still be posting to the blog and Twitter during my time here except for a short period when we venture into a remote part of the country for some interesting tourism.

I´ll start my remote posting with this.  I hope that wanna-be leader of the Liberal party Mike Murphy doesn`t play politics with the natural gas exploration industry in New Brunswick.  I have said here many times that there should be a good debate on this industry and people need to be informed on the current techniques, how the industry is working to overcome the problems, etc.   It is important to understand the economic development issues, etc. 

I have said here before that the Quebec rules now stipulate that for each successful well an amount (I think it´s $100k) goes back to the local community for local projects.  It is important that this industry benefits New Brusnwickers by a) creating good paying jobs for NBers, b) generates significant royalty revenue for the government, c) some of that money flows back directly to the local communities where the development happens and d) we try to look for ways to expand the economic potential further by using the gas for local economic development.

Anyway, I like Mike Murphy.  He seems like a smart guy and would likely make a good leader but there is a bad trap these guys get into where they think they have to oppose the current government just to prove there is daylight between the parties.  Issues such as shale gas can be injected with hyperbole and whip a lot of folks into a frenzy.  If he takes a hostile stand just to show his Tim Horton credentials, I will be disappointed.

We need this industry.  We need to get it right and as I have said here if we start to see problems, we will need to pull back but to shut down an entire industry – with serious economic potential – on speculation or on the fearmonger associated with the early stages of the industry´s growth (most of which have been addressed), would be wrong headed – particularly if it was just for cold hearted politics.

Look, I disagreed with the PCs on their stance on Hydro-Quebec and NB Power and if Murphy goes against shale gas because he smells political blood, I will disagree with him as well.

2 thoughts on “Dispatches from the road: Sao Paulo

  1. Actually, he should ‘shut it down’ for the simple reason that its clear there is a sizeable population that wants exactly that. While its YOUR opinion that this is something NB ‘needs’, the political arena is not designed to accommodate any one single individual. That would make democracy pretty non existent. As an ‘opposition’ leader-or potential one, Murphy should ‘oppose’ the government, thats their job. You may not like it, but in a democracy that’s tough cookies. And again, its worth pointing out that while some people want ‘no’ gas fracking EVER, what the demands are stating is that a moratorium be declared until the legislation is put in place.
    The government has said that they can play catch up, but people are right to smell a rat- the government announced ‘new rules’ for the industry, then later the same day the Minister said that the rules had been in place for years. What’s more, there is virtually no enforcement of the regulations as they stand.
    I doubt Murphy is dumb enough to look a gift horse in the mouth, resource extraction is ‘easy money’ and every politician likes to see that. But to get elected, well, he’s got to show there’s a dime’s difference between the parties.

  2. If Murphy wants to show that he has the guts it takes to lead this province (rather than follow the populist rant), he could support gas extraction with various provisos, such as the one you listed. He could go farther and demand that legislation be enacted that establishes compensation (by industry via an independent board) for those adversly affected and lays out some parameters for investment of royalty funds.

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