Maybe too much eggnog for Jupia this year?

Rereading my column this morning I realize that maybe I have been drinking too much of the Christmas elixir.  Of course, I take it sans booze but it still seems to be having some effect.  Here is the offending line from the column:

Critically, we should attempt to garner bi-partisan support in the Legislature for any new long-term vision. In fact, it would be helpful if the vision put forward by the Alward government was developed and published by a bi-partisan committee of MLAs. The government and opposition parties could (and should) vigorously debate the best tactics to achieve the vision, but they would all agree on the broad outline.


I forgot this is New Brunswick and if McKenna proposed it Lord must be against it and if Lord proposed it Graham must be against it and if Graham proposed it Alward must be against it and if Alward proposed it than Murphy must be against it.

I used to talk about how the basic formula for the Irish economic miracle was hatched with a whitepaper in the 1950s and the broad outline was followed by successive governments through the 2000s.   Too bad the Irish banks decided to blow up the economy over there by exposing themselves to billions in toxic assets alongside a massive housing bubble.  The underlying FDI, entrepreneurial and R&D mix in Ireland was truly amazing.

Maybe I am just too cynical.  Maybe there could be a bipartisan ‘vision’ committee that would come up with the next iteration of a broad ‘plan’ for NB.  Then the parties could haggle over the best way to achieve the broad vision (i.e. substantial new biz investment, repopulation of a younger demographic, productivity/innovation agenda, etc.).

As governments changed hands, this broad outline would remain in place.

Yeah, that’s crazy talk.


5 thoughts on “Maybe too much eggnog for Jupia this year?

  1. Well I guess from my perspective the problem with that paragraph is that there are (at least) three parties in New Brunswick. I recognize that the media in this province has made a religion of ignoring the New Democrats, but they do exist, they do get votes, and a stronger NDP in the province would change the dynamics of bipartisan sniping you have observed in your comments above.

  2. Opposing views is the very nature of parliamentary democracy, and it is her majesties royal opposition’s duty to oppose, to offer people an alternative view.

    What you seek is a more collaborative form of government, and they do exist, but wishing it was here is …well…I agree crazy talk. But electoral reform is not, and I agree with Mr. Downes, that the NDP with a stronger voice would be helpful, but I am not sure it’s all the media’s fault. The NDP have failed to turn their Federal seat in Acadie Bathurst into more solid gains in the North for the provincial party, but a system of proportional representation would help.

    I will add one thing, though, In Northern New Brunswick, what you describe is what is happening. Successive governments for the last 12 years, or so, have simple picked up the mantle of ED left by their predecessors and kept a consistent approach throughout. Their approach might be flawed, but everyone seems to be pulling in the same direction, and we may be seeing some benefit’s from it. Several of our local industrial service businesses have expanded into Labrador City, and are shipping work back.

    In my view electoral reform is the key to opening up our democracy a crack more to let some new voices at the table, to offer a vision. Right now we have the 2 same tired parties, who right now, may not have a decent vision between them .

  3. I appreciate your dedication to an enlightened readership, but you are ,like most of us,guilty of focusing on your speciality,economics,and neglecting other important data needed to solve our dilema. As an engineer/businessman I spent my working life creating wealth and jobs in NB in spite of the government and human resistance to change and success. Although some government is necessary, most of my business friends have more faith in the market predictions than government lead solutions.
    When predicting the future, we all live in a cave and look out toward the lighted entrance. The specialists like lawyers,engineers,scientists,economists,etc. often live deeper in the cave than the general public. The market place,with all its distortions, is still a good predicter and should be the touchstone for all big decisions. For example,job creating manufacturing is dead generally and only a few exceptions protected by a government need can survive. Forget it. Service industries are thriving but we face the dilema of the little guy who is not able to play in the big leagues. We can do a little spin-off stuff by subsidizing our University related applied research productivity. USA has much to teach us in this regard. At the moment we spend $200,000 to graduate an Engineer and send him elsewhere to create wealth and jobs for whoever. No work here.
    As a people, we are unusually smart,well imformed,caustic,and kind of lazy. We are not good at routine low paying jobs,but we are friendly and like our place. We speak English and some French. Our most successful NB employers have been and are familys who understand marketing;Irving,McCain,Ganong,Armour. Unfortunately,modern family entrepreneurs are moving away as they gain success. I wonder why? Is it only the opportunities or is NB antisucess society I suspect both.
    Forty years ago I flew back to NB to work after ten years in the US. I quickly concluded there was no point in starting a business if it was not dependent on forestry or water. I chose water,aquaculture. I have not changed my mind,I think that is still true,but aquaculture,tourism, value added processing and other related activities must hold the most promise. Look to Norway,Sweden,Finland and Florida for direction, but we are NB and must look to us first. For example, do you realize that most of our land and all our water is owned by government and two large companies. That is a third world condition.,.that resists change You get the idea, we resist change because we love NB and you don,t change what you love

  4. Crazy talk ? Are we irrevocably locked in to knee-jerk reactions, whether it be to a game-changing Hydro-Quebec opportunity, or the prospect of a break-out through heads up exploitation of shale gas. A select few other jurisdictions have been able to break free from old patterns of partisan predictability. NB has an opportunity to do the same, potentially through the NB2026 experiment, which aims to take the best of government-formulated long term objectives and keep them alive for the long run through citizen-led involvement.

  5. ‘been down so long it looks like up to me’

    NB’s economy has been in the doldrums for so long that the prospect of a mine opening or a new business startup is viewed as a sign that things aren’t so bad after all. I’d suggest that each month, when the Stascan labour reports come out, the TJ produce a chart showing net job creation in NB vs some of the more prosperous areas in the country. Perhaps a few jolts of reality are needed. Since my return to NB a few years ago, I’ve been disappointed by the complacency surrounding economic issues. I’m not sure of the cause – numbness after decades of decline?

    Given NB’s propensity for populism, together with the prevalent emotions of fear and paranoia, that complacency would trump the impacts of electoral reform or ‘consultations’. On the other hand, its certainly true that some jurisdictions have been where we are and have found a way to thrive. Perhaps some reviews in the media illustrating how those areas have turned things around, plus some frank appraisals of what sacrifices we would need to make to get to the same level, would be of help.

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