Friday, September 15, 2006
A reader views on the Liberal plateform!
Compensation Commission (WHSCC).
This means they have no idea what they will do, or else they
want to say. But they know there is quite a bit of outrage over this
department, so hopefully just mentioning it will make some headway.
again, there is no reason they can't actually say what they will do.
2. Take stronger measures to ensure the security of private sector
plans, including improved oversight by the Supervisor of Pensions and closer
monitoring of underfunded private pension funds.
Aimed directly at Nackawic, this issue shows exactly what can
when you have an unregulated marketplace. However anybody that thinks
'underfunded private pension funds' just need "closer monitoring"
don't have one.
3. Institute mandatory coroner's inquests for workplace fatalities.
NEW: This is actually a big step forward. Workplace, and in fact
in general are seriously unstudied in the province. More people die
workplace accidents in Canada than in Great Britain, and it has ten
the population. Any effort here is a step, but it hooks into the above
'study' of the WHSCC. Better regulation so that companies can't get
with the stuff in the first place is a start, and better legislation so
lawsuits can be initiated would be nice.
4. Establish regular meetings between the Premier, Cabinet Ministers
Nothing new there
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Offer a one-time grant of $2,000 to every full-time, firstyear New
Brunswick student entering a provincial university.
NEW Unlike some other posters I don't agree that this is a bad idea.
fact, back in the day this was par for the course. The feds, with
massive surplus should be paying this, but this is a provincial
This also guarantees that those who flunk out first year aren't
with huge debt because they made a mistake in what they thought they
2. Establish the NB Hopes Scholarship program that will cover a portion
continuing students' tuition based on need.
There are already a number of scholarshop programs out there, how
this will be for remains to be seen. Paying a larger portion of a
Universities cost would be much more welcome.
3. Remove the assessment of parental and spousal income from student
I may be wrong but I think this was already done. If not, its NEW
is a big deal.
4. Offer a tax rebate to students who complete postsecondary education
choose to stay in, or return to, New Brunswick.
You have to have a decent size rebate here to make that worthwhile.
if there is no job for you anyway, a tax rebate isn't going to be much
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Endorse and implement the recommendations and timelines outlined in
Thats a big issue there with a lot of meat in it. If they are are
planning on implementing all the recommendations that a big deal but
big to comment on here.
2. Within one year, establish a new formula to determine funding for
students with special needs in our schools.
How about saying 'increased funding for special needs' or
something? Every child is unique, you don't need a formula, you need the resources
make sure every kid gets through school with the required education.
3. Within one year, establish a Provincial Learning Disabilities
focusing on earlier identification of learning disabilities and
access to treatment and support services.
Again with the strategies. How about telling what the strategy
4. Ensure funding support for schools to reduce class size in
compositionally challenging classrooms.
So now suddenly the 'worst to first' only means certain class sizes
reduced? How about saying 'we will reduce class sizes to no more than
(which many states have done)
5. Implement the recommendations of the Interdepartmental Committee on
See 1. However, I've never seen a government adopt all
of any report, perhaps this will be different, but I doubt it.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM - Part 17
1. Develop increased opportunities for professional development.
In other words suck up to teachers more and hire more as
2. Work with the New Brunswick Teachers Federation to enhance and
the Student Code of Conduct that emphasizes respect for teachers and
students an environment suited for learning free of bullying and
No saying how exactly they are going to do that. Sounds like a
the bums out of school when they get rowdy' line, however, what do you
with them when they aren't in school?
Keep in mind that for education the liberals need to spend a quarter
billion dollars to go from 'worst to first'.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Appoint a Commission on Post-Secondary Education that will examine
higher education needs of New Brunswickers.
Duh, If they don't know that by now they shouldn't even be
Spend five minutes with a university administrator and a student
representative and you've got your answer. Just look what wonders the
"Commission on Legislative Democracy" produced.
2. Authorize the Standing Committee on Education to invite university
officials to outline their plans, priorities and financial needs on an
Same old, same old.
3. Work with the federal government to establish a dedicated transfer
post-secondary education that is adequate, stable, and predictable.
And click your heels together three times while your at it.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Add 12,000 new spaces at the New Brunswick Community College over
I'm not aware that there are huge numbers clamoring to get into CC
can't get in because of space, but I'm no expert. If so, then this is
and those are a lot of bums in seats. However, are the jobs there
once they graduate?
2. Introduce a new vision for the New Brunswick Community College
a. a comprehensive provincial inventory of skills and skill
b. improved access in rural New Brunswick;
c. access to university-recognized credits in specific
NBCC courses; and,
d. a review process for community college tuitions.
3. Expand distance education opportunities including using
existing infrastructure to expand the current offerings of
Year 1 and 2 university programs at the NBCC Miramichi
4. Create a new community college campus in Fredericton
This is quite NEW, especially the CC availability in rural New
For those living there, free rent is always easier than moving to a
city. I was amazed that Miramichi's animation program isn't even
online. That's simply insane. Their rationale may be 'get more people
move to Mirimichi', but first they need to get as many people taking
as possible and get some cash. Every single course should be available online, which is great in rural areas because you don't even need
infrastructure, you just need to make sure that the people who live
can afford internet access. I've heard rumours that its almost $100
month for high speed access in rural areas, which is crazy.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM
1. Establish clear and measurable benchmarks and targets for the
of pay equity supported by yearly progress updates.
In other words, like the tories, the liberals are too gutless to
force the private sector to enact pay equity policies, something
Canada's ratification of labour rights. All the 'talk' means they will
procrastinate as long as possible.
2. Ensure that the Pay Equity Act applies to all parts of the public
Its good enough for the government, but for some reason women who
find a job in the government are SOL.
3. Bring together all stakeholders to further address issues raised at
recent public hearings with the goal of extending pay equity to the
sector through legislation.
Is a carrot thrown to those demanding equal rights. The issue has
around forever, but of course the liberals can't simply say they will
in pay equity. In other words, they will procrastinate as long as
4. Establish government as a model employer by starting job evaluations
extend pay equity to workers providing contracted services to
NEW This remains to be seen but is a big difference from Lords
which was cited by the United Nations for its treatment of part time
workers. This is a very important issue which should really be played
I Create the Northern New Brunswick Initiative (NNBI) as a
strategy for the northern and Miramichi regions.
Whether 'new' departments and initiatives accomplish anything is
open to debate. Simply announcing what policy changes will be made in the area
affected is enough, but rarely done. By creating new bureaucracies
government is able to control the information flow, which makes it
hide failures and tout successes. NB is one of the worst provinces for
access to information, which makes it hard to keep tabs on what is
going on. God knows the north needs all the help it can get, but
'initiatives' are not what is needed-concrete proposals is what is
2. Assign responsibility for the NNBI to a Minister with an economic
Big whoop. Although some bloggers complain that economic development
should be the main function of ALL departments, so this will please
with that view. Unfortunately, a quick view of history shows that many
initiatives were initial failures and needed time to establish
Just because a minister has an economic portfolio doesn't mean they
bubkus about making money.
3. As part of the New Brunswick Infrastructure Program include the
following: a. Develop The Road to Resources/La route des Resources
trade corridor between northern New Brunswick and the United States,
b. Improve Routes 11 and 17;c. Offer cost-free space in all industrial
in the area with a minimum capital investment; d. Continue to develop
Port of Belledune; e. Undertake a feasibility study regarding the expansion
of the Belledune Generating Station; and,
Nothing really new there, better highways are typically made as
Roads aren't that big a deal when you consider that worldwide the
sector outweighs the goods sector by about threee to one. Belledune has
an expansion in customers, and essentially this is designed to keep
areas hooked on resources and their transportation, guaranteeing that
populations will keep leaving.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Implement a book publishing policy to support the artists working
the written word, including a new fund to support literary translation;
NEW: No saying exactly what the policy is, which would have been nice.
2. Support the Beaverbrook Art Gallery to prevent the loss of art works
donated to this institution;
No telling what exactly that means. Support can mean just about
3. Provide assistance to New Brunswick artists and performers seeking
to federal support from FACTOR/CTL,VideoFACT, the Canada Council and
federally-sponsored cultural funds;
This sounds like a cost sharing program, but 'assistance' can mean
anything. How about funds to start up a New Brunswick television
where artists and performers actually have a place to display their
4. Ensure the eligibility of cultural entrepreneurs for start-up
that would be available to small businesses in New Brunswick;
NEW: It is hard for new artists to get going, but there's really no
evidence that the kind of start up capital is necessary for cultural
products as for other industries. The province would be better off
providing decent funds to the various film co ops throughout the
which are far better at getting cultural products out there than a
bureaucrats and Business NB.
5. Undertake an inventory of architecturally-significant buildings and
communities with a view to identify, protect and promote the common
heritage of New
NEW but not that intrigueing as it stands.
6. Protect and enhance the New Brunswick Provincial Archives as well as
public library system throughout New Brunswick; and;
Doesn't say much.
7. Promote heritage tourism sites, such as Kings Landing and Le Pays de
Sagouine, as part of New Brunswick's tourism marketing strategy.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Commit to establishing a three-year marketing strategy and add $3
to the annual tourism marketing budget.
NEW: Adding three million is a new development, although "committing
establishing a strategy" is hardly new. Why not present your strategy
voters can decide? Tourism is not a cash cow, it provides lousy low
dead end jobs. There is some benefit to it, but just throwing money at
the budget doesn't say much.
2. Invest in tourism and accommodation infrastructure in areas where
is an identifiable shortage.
NEW: But 'huh?' What is tourism infrastructure? Giant mascots at the
entrance to every town? Provincially run Bed and Breakfasts? This is
the last thing rural areas need. Canadian tourism is increasing
while american tourism has been decreasing and will no doubt decrease
more as the dollar equalizes and border crossings become a pain in the
3. Better integrate our summer and winter tourism strategies.
4. Pursue an agreement with the federal government to complete the
Would be interesting, but depends on another party. National Parks
seem a priority right now. They'd be better off telling the cops that
volunteers from the various trail and conservation groups will be
in and doing the work, so don't arrest them for trespassing (or else do
5. Examine the feasibility of enhancing Phase 2 of the Village
Why they can't examine the feasibility beforehand is beyond me.
6. Promote the 2009 Congrès mondial acadien in the Acadian Peninsula as
a major tourism event including the development of tourist greeting and
infrastructure for the Acadian Peninsula.
No doubt the tories would do this anyway, although the money for
enhancements 'may' be a step up. If you ask anybody from the acadian
peninsula about their needs you'll hear a far different response to
'increase nuber of tourist jobs'
7. Work with communities and port authorities to promote New Brunswick
cruise ship destination.
Nothing new there. How about doing like Ontario and taking over
8. Renew investments in the New Brunswick trail system.
NEW But hardly earth shattering. Will no doubt depend on how much
money is laying around.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Establish a Department of Fisheries.
NEW So there's a department of agriculture and aquaculture and also
department of Fisheries? Clearly the liberals want to expand job
by hiring hundreds more government officials
2. More actively promote innovation, with programs being developed and
administered in each of the regions to address the distinct
each region offers.
Doesn't mean much. One comment here is that I know of at least one
group that has been trying to get funding for ages for an inshore scallop
If you read Donald Savoie's book on economic development in the Kent
you'll see an interesting passage in that the central problem with
has been that while the feds trust the locals, the province alwasy
up and refuses to cede power to the region-who usually know better.
groups don't need development or administration, they need MONEY. Why
just provide that?
3. Work with stakeholders to increase training opportunities in the
Will provide better UI.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Establish a Mining Development Fund to assist in financing:
NEW: (sort of) There are six or seven points there, basically it
means they will provide massive handouts and bend over backwards for
companies. Whether that's worth the effort remains to be seen. Mining
companies are quite adept at finding out where the minerals are, and
government handouts don't provide enough incentive to establish
One point of interest was to 'modernize regulations' so that New
Brusnwickers can invest in mining operations.
What is interesting here is what is not said. For example, for
mining job in Canada, Canadian taxpayers pay $15,000 of that miners
salary in various forms of subsidies.
If massive amounts of cash is going to be put into an industry,
heaven's name would you pick one as unpredictable as mining? Why not
medical research? Physics? Chemistry? Software design or high tech
manufacturing? The assumption is that there are lots of ex miners
around doing nothing, or else that little traiing is necessary. Bad
Take a look at mining in canada, technology has made a large workforce
unnecessary and ex miners have split for profitable mines in Ontario
west. Why beat that dead horse into the ground? The natural
sector in the province has been dying for decades (at least the
part of it, which we'd assume is all they are interested in), and the
way it survives elsewhere is that other industries provide the tax
to subsidize them, something not available in New Brunswick.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Establish a Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture.
NEW: I'm sure this must be a typo. Without defining its
this is just hiring more bureaucrats to make life miserable for farmers
land and sea.
2. Continue to invest in the research and development of value-added
processing, packaging and market development.
In other words, do the same as tories
3. Enhance the New Entrant Development Strategy to address challenges facing
A little late for that. The comment about abandoned farmland
all. People would be crazy to get into anything other than small scale
organic farming (unless they have a huge bankroll behind them, and who
does?) Just ask a retired farmer about the challenges and see how
it is that Graham is going to go up against McCain.
4. Complete an inventory of abandoned farms and farmland and establish
policy on the redevelopment of these properties.
NEW But strange, since they already said that abandoned farms would
used for forestry. It seems strange that they can't establish a policy
right now during the campaign on what they plan on doing (if it is
from the forestry comment)
5. Maintain policies that support family farms.
6. Expand the NB Grown marketing program.
NEW Anytime new money or expansion goes into a program it is something
unusual. The other parties involved need to be consulted on how they
like to expand to see whether this will happen. Sometimes one groups
goes up against another industry player which makes it less likely they
get money for what they want, but instead will just see a bunch of
bureaucrats whose job it will be to oversee a department which meets
7. Work aggressively with the aquaculture industry to move forward with
disease management, marketing and product diversification.
Same, although may also mean "we'll have even fewer environmental
regulations than our predecessors"
8. Urge the federal government to introduce a sustainability program
Don't hold your breath.
Liberal Platform - Establish a cabinet committee to work with industry to further
forestry in the province.
These guys don't need a cabinet committee (don't cabinet members
enough to do?) The tories are already bankrolling all the modernize
efforts in forestry. In resource extraction, 'modernize' typically
'replace workers with technology'. In New Brunswick, that's hardly a
thing. Unions and workers had been arguing for pulp mills to switch to
glossy paper a decade ago, but why would they when they can simply put
the poor mouth and have government bankroll new technology? Sure to
off lots of people in other industries and sectors that can't even get
meeting with a cabinet minister let alone have a whole committee
to them. It's not like UPN or Irving are quiet when they need
2. Undertake the necessary work to implement a forest management plan
Here's a thought, how about use the forest plan the tories threw
garbage? Forest management in NB is a joke. The only positive thing about
this is that the liberals 'may' be thinking that there's no way they
actually say what they are going to do, but hopefully just mentioning
management will make enough people give them the benefit of the doubt.
It's highly doubtful Graham has the cajones to stand up to the large
industry players who run the forestry industry.
3. Ensure that there is equitable market treatment for private woodlot
NEW: This is something that private woodlot owners have been
for. Many don't realize it but there are more private woodlot owners
province than their are workers at the UPN mill in Miramichi. In fact,
make up a good majority of forestry workers. Putting them out of
is not good for business, especially when mill owners are continuously
threatening to leave. People are also not aware that there are lots of
small operators buying wood, which would create a far healthier
than the big players who dictate forest policy.
4. Work with New Brunswick community colleges to provide training for
modernized forestry operations.
The forest industry is shrinking at a rapid rate in the
Providing new workers for a declining industry seems odd. What about
animation, high tech, manufacturing, exporting?
5. Examine options for using abandoned farmland for forestry purposes.
NEW: Opens the door for more lawyers as bureaucrats since previous
claims must be settled. How about tossing a bone to natives (which
even get a mention) and providing farmland as token land to nearby reservations until land claims are settled. Natives could then choose
farm it for food or for lumber or for other purposes.
LIBERAL PARTY PLATFORM -
1. Establish a Population Growth Secretariat.
More government jobs. Whether giving a new name to an already
department will actually change anything remains to be seen. The devil
in the details. Reminds me of those stores that advertise "we're a
store, not a music department".
2. Develop a comprehensive strategy to promote population growth
retention of New Brunswick residents, repatriation, immigration and
Why wait? Why isn't that strategy part of the campaign? The
'have a strategy', it just isn't working. However, some of the
in the other aspects of the platform.
3. Establish a Repatriation Unit within the Population Growth
with a proactive approach to recruiting and matching former New
with job opportunities in our province.
This sounds like restarting the "NB jobs" website. However,
offering jobs to those who have left for better opportunities elsewhere
sure to miff off the unemployed who stayed behind and pay taxes. If
were full employment in the province this would make sense, but its not
even close to being the case.
4. Partner with Federal and Municipal governments to:
a. Increase the number of immigrants coming to the province with the
attracting at least 5,000 people per year by the year 2015;
In other words try to get other levels of government to do their
What is the town of Kedgewick going to be doing to get immigrants?
the Mayor to China to get immigrants to open a chinese restaurant?
b Establish increased targets for the number of immigrants attracted
the Provincial Nominee Program;
Targets doesn't seem to be the problem. The point is, if thousands
leaving, why would immigrants stay? Particularly when their
cultures are prominent in other areas of the country.
c. Invest in a co-funding arrangement with the federal government to
increase settlement funding support and partner with community based
improve local settlement services and increase our retention rate to 80
cent by 2015;
While the feds like co funding, that doesn't mean they are going to
out huge amounts of dough. This is already done, oddly enough, through
which has a number of such projects. In some cases it has meant
africans to rural areas, educating them in forestry of all things, then
giving them jobs that would have gone to New Brunswickers. That's not
you build an immigration platform.
d. Increase resources in second language training to meet the needs of
More is always better, one wonders why there is such an effort on
immigrants, when a good majority of New Brunswickers only speak one
language. In other words, you bring in and train immigrants to get the
bilingual jobs that New Brunswickers are not qualified for.
e. Work with the federal government to offer a threeyear work visa to
international students who graduate from a New Brunswick post-secondary
institution and choose to stay in the province.
Other provinces have tried this and the feds haven't budged.
no reason to think they will now.