Still bullish on NB – shout out to John Oxner

My column today, entitled “Still bullish on NB”  is somewhat inspired by John Oxner, who works for the provincial government, and has been reminding me of the importance of carrots versus sticks when trying to convince people of your point of view.

What I didn’t say in the column, but have said before here many times, is that on this issue New Brunswick’s small scale should be to our advantage.  In addition, the Canadian arrangement does act as a safety net – however wobbly – to ensure we do not become ‘Greece’.

It shouldn’t be that hard to get the private investment tap turned up a notch in New Brunswick.

It shouldn’t be that hard to foster an environment and create the infrastructure where entrepreneurship will thrive.  PropelICT has been specifically designed to convince folks with good tech-based ideas to go through their boot camp and put those ideas to the test.  We need more.

It shouldn’t be hard to attract thousands of immigrants over the next decade and flood the place with new talent and ideas.

It shouldn’t be that hard to attract more good quality multinational firms to the province given we have attracted firms like Thomson Reuters,, Xerox, UPS, etc. in the past.

It shouldn’t be that hard to responsibly develop our natural resources over the next couple of decades.  We have a large reservoir of natural gas and other minerals and we should be able to develop them without negatively impacting our quality of life.

Having said all that, we need to debate and discuss our challenges and I will not shy away from that.   Burying our heads in the sand is not the answer.

We can get this done and even if we don’t, there is no doubt in my mind that in 50 years from now there will still be a ‘Moncton’ and a ‘Fredericton’ and a ‘Miramichi’.  There may not be a ‘New Brunswick’ as a provincial entity but people will still live here and call this place home.

The debate now is about what that place will look like.