An Important New Brunswick Blog

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This week, it seemed like a good occasion to share another blog from New Brunswick that I read. "It's The Economy, Stupid" by David Campbell is about economic development in Atlantic Canada—a topic of some importance in my opinion. Mr. Campbell, whom I've never met in person, regularly (often more than once a week) discusses topics about development, business, demographics, and policy that are relevant to Atlantic Canada. Even when you disagree with his ideas, his posts normally stimulate thought. And he normally manages to avoid blatant partisanship in his discussions of public policy issues.

Here are a couple of excerpts from past posts as an example of what "It's The Economy, Stupid" is about:

  • From a post about looking across the Atlantic for a model of a focussed R&D/Industrial cluster:

There are many layers to the Glasgow story but I love the idea of a smaller university becoming the ‘best’ at some form of research linked to a growing cluster in a jurisdiction. This builds durability. I love the notion of the university as an attractor of global firms to do research in a smaller jurisdiction. How many global firms have research partnerships at UNB? or UdeM? If New Brunswick wants to grow its shale gas industry, for example, its universities should be attracting the R&D of the large global firms that are already here in New Brunswick on the E&P side. I would say a critical component of any targeted growth industry should be the role of universities and R&D.

  • From a recent post about the benefits (and detriments) of scale in dense urban areas:

I do think Atlantic Canada is particularly challenged because the region isn’t even in the orbit of an urban centre with 500k (from the Census, Halifax only had about 300k in its urban area – population centre). You have to drive by car eight hours (roughly) to reach a large urban centre and I think that could be an impediment to growth. New Brunswick is practically Wyoming – Moncton ranks 27th in Canada with a population centre (urban) of 107,000 in 2011 behind Kingston, Guelph and Kelowna. NB really needs a focus on urban growth.