Blink: The power of snap judgements

Someone tweeted today that New Brunswick was named world’s best place for mining and – in a split second – I groaned.

That’s the world we live in.  If the province was named the best place for IT or finance or whatever – hallelujah.  Best place for mining?  Must mean lax environment standards and the crappy royalty regime.

Of course that isn’t the case.  According to the Ottawa Citizen story on it:

“New Brunswick shot to the top of the rankings as miners lauded the province for its fair, transparent, and efficient legal system and consistency in the enforcement and interpretation of existing environmental regulations,” Fred McMahon, vice-president of international policy research at the Fraser Institute, said in a statement.
My point is that my first reaction to this was negative.  And it shouldn’t have been.

I want New Brunswick to be a place where companies can invest with confidence.  The idea that NB is fair, transparent, efficient and consistent in the enforcement of environmental law is a very good thing.




2 thoughts on “Blink: The power of snap judgements

  1. All very good, except that what the Fraser Institute characterizes as “fair, transparent, efficient and consistent” is nothing like the way you or I would characterize it.

    If we look at the actual report we read (p.8) about “The effects of increasingly onerous, seemingly capricious regulations, uncertainty about land use, higher levels of taxation, and other policies that interfere with market conditions…”

    It’s not much of a jump from this to “lax environment standards and the crappy royalty regime.”

    Your first insticts were right after all. The news reports, typically weak in their analysis of Fraser Institute publications, was misleading.

  2. When Premier Alward promised that he wants New Brunswick to have “the strongest shale gas exploration regulations on the continent,” he sent an unequivocal message that the necessary regulations were not currently in place in NB. More stringent environmental standards, according to the Fraser always constitute interference with market conditions. Once NB institutionalizes more comprehensive environmental standards, we can expect the Fraser to respond by bemoaning the decline both in efficiency and fairness to business.

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