Tuesday, February 19, 2008
MAINE MEDIA SHOULD EDUCATE THEMSELVES ABOUT NEW BRUNSWICK!!!!
Maine and New Brunswick have been working in recent years to strengthen their obvious but undervalued historical, economic, transportation, natural resource, recreational and cultural ties. On Tuesday, some of those ties were in focus in Bangor and Augusta, as Gov. John Baldacci hosted New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham.
Mr. Graham, 39, is an energetic and rising star on the Canadian political scene, and some of his proposals may offer opportunities for both the province and Maine.
Mr. Graham aims to have New Brunswick be self-sufficient — that is, not reliant on federal funds — by 2026. It’s a lofty a goal, but he has a plan to get there. A key part of that plan is turning the province into an energy hub. The premier is a proponent of building a second nuclear reactor at Point Lepreau, on the Bay of Fundy, where a nuclear power plant has operated since the early 1980s. The plant was scheduled to be mothballed this year, but a feasibility study suggests a new reactor could be built on the site.
A liquefied natural gas terminal has been proposed for the Port of Saint John, and the province has potential for wind and tidal power. Maine’s Legislature is considering three options that would change the state’s relationship with the New England power grid; one is to join with New Brunswick and upgrade transmission capacity to southern New England, potentially putting the state and province in a stronger position to negotiate better electric rates.
Tourism is another area of cooperation. The state and province have a "Two Nation Vacation" package they are promoting, albeit in a limited way. With the Canadian dollar at par with the U.S. dollar, Maine is seeing Canadian shoppers and travelers and expects to see more this summer.
Though Maine and New Brunswick shipping ports essentially compete, there may be ways they can cooperate on transportation matters, particularly through improving east-west highways.
Premier Graham has said that any partnerships with his province must be evaluated first on how well they serve New Brunswick. If they benefit the province, then he is willing to pursue joint ventures with Maine. Maine should take the same approach rather than engage in dual efforts just for the sake of good feelings.
But there are gains to be made. Maine can be seen as the poor cousin in the New England family. But linked with New Brunswick, with its population of 750,000 and similar economic strengths and goals, the two can achieve a critical mass of sorts and work toward being part of a vital and growing region. It’s an effort worth making.
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Robert of Eastport, ME - 02/14/08
It's amazing how the BDN editorial staff can be so unfamiliar with news reported in its own publication. The liquefied natural gas terminal at Saint John, New Brunswick, isn't proposed, it's being constructed right now, is 67% complete, and will be ready for processing its first cargo around the end of 2008. Progress photographs of the project are available on the Canaport website at .