Monday, May 07, 2007

Self-Sufficiency

So the report is out. I am not really all that overwhelmed by it.

There is nothing radical in it and I believe a radical change on par with Equal Opportunity is necessary in order to turn things around in this province.

Eugene took a shot at me and suggested I might like the report but not so much the implementation. I am afraid my disappointment is coming a little bit early, I do remain optomistic for the implementation however.

The report is largely just common sense recommendations that one would not needed to have spent half a million dollars on a commission to come up with. A lot of their recommendations are common sense. In other cases they say that we need to fix a lot of tough problems, but they do not say how, for instance:

Recommendation 32. Ensure that credential recognition processes for doctors, nurses, engineers and other accredited professions are timely, responsive to labour force requirements, transparent and accountable, with first priority being given to post-secondary institutions in those countries targeted under the Provincial Nominee Program.

That is a great idea, if New Brunswick did not have the problems of credential recognition that other provinces have, then we would certainly dramatically increase the number of skilled immigrants that would move to New Brunswick and therefore have a great competitive edge over the rest of Canada. However, the province has nothing to do with the recognition of these credentials. It is the individual professional organizations for each field that is responsible for certifying people and giving them the right to work in that field. How is the province going to implement this recommendation? This is a good thing, that should be done, but how are we going to do it? I am a regular schmoe and could have told you that we should do this and I might even have a few ideas as to how to do it but isn't that what this Task Force was for?

There are plenty of other lofty ideas which are great but there is no plan to enable them.

I guess we can only hope that this will help:

Recommendation 2. Appoint a deputy minister to be responsible for the self-sufficiency agenda and to oversee its implementation.

If this was done and a stand alone DM was appointed to work out of the Executive Council with broad powers to develop policy and implement this plan, then maybe the agenda would work out. My fear however is that some deputy minister in some department (presumably Business NB) will be annointed as the deputy minsiter responsible for Self-Sufficiency but will continue to be housed in BNB and therefore have no real mandate to execute change in other departments and not have the time to devote exclusively to this agenda due to him or her having to deal with the day-to-day administration of a department.

So in summary, what I read here is a good series of recommendations. However, the best analogy I can come up with would be someone telling you that a pirate left a tremendous treasure in the Bay of Fundy but they failed to give you a treasure map. The Bay isn't that big, but it is big enough that without a guide to find the treasure, you probably never would except for a fluke.

Let's hope that the government takes these recommendations and develops a plan to implement them and does it in short order. That is our only hope.

11 comments:

Eugene said...

Now, now, it wasn't a shot at you, more at the government itself.

I too am very disappointed by this report. Your analogy is quite accurate and you could even go further to say that there are already a vast number of people out in the Bay searching but we've just been told the treasure is out there putting us even further behind the eight ball.

I too was holding out some hope that they would wow us all but as you say, this is nothing but common sense. I see nothing in here that people can get behind and instill some pride in NB's future. In fact, it is more depressing that anything in that apparently, we are not currently acting in a common sense manner.

Sadly, the vast majority of these recommendations are nothing but more of the same as we've seen from this government, more analysis, more studies, more "it would be nice if...." dreaming. We need real, ready-to-implement plans on this front. Frankly, if the government is going to build up hope the province can turn things around and are going to expect people to uproot their lives because of it, they had better come up with something more inspiring that this laundry list.

Charles LeBlanc said...

I admire Eugene on one thing!!!

He has a site meter!!!

You should have one also.

A public one like Eugene and Spinks.

This is where I do my searching.

It's fun!!!

Keep on the fine work!!!

Anonymous said...

I hear Bill Ferguson, former fed public servant will be named new DM.

nbpolitico said...

Charles,

I thought about putting one up, but I would want something that was counting from the beginning not something arbitrary in the middle.

Eugene said...

Indeed, I enjoy having my inability to attract readers out there for all to see. Keeps me grounded you know....

Spinks said...

Almost 100 action items is pretty ambitious. Trying to put in 80 in the next year is frankly unrealistic in the bureaucratic system we have (even though as Eugene pointed out a lot are common sense). I'll be curious how many actually get done. All the more power to them but I'd of rather seen a couple of realistics short term strategies coupled with mid-term to long term ones. This has a smell of doomed to fail but may Graham prove me wrong.

scott said...

Almost 100 action items is pretty ambitious. Trying to put in 80 in the next year is frankly unrealistic in the bureaucratic system we have (even though as Eugene pointed out a lot are common sense).

I agree with spinks and while reading his above argument this quote was going through my head, "underpromising won’t guarantee success, but overpromising is the surest path to failure." The Liberals seem to be making a living out of the latter.

Anonymous said...

In terms of reccomendation number 32, the federal and provincial governments have been working sector by sector on this front for some time. We had placed significant resources under the previous federal Liberal government (Foreign Credential Recognition program) to establish pan-Canadian systems for doctors (see IMG Task Force) Nurses, engineers (see "From Consideration to Integration" Report), and others. Credentialing agencies are under provincial jurisdiction and ultimately the government of New Brunswick will have a say in cutting red tape that is involved with determining whether or not someone cleared to be a doctor in BC, for example, is also cleared to be a doctor in NB. The province must make this a priority now that the federal Conservatives have dropped the ball..there has been NO MOVEMENET on this front since they took over and instead of the hands-on approach by the federal Liberals the neo-Cons have announced that they will instead focus on advertising provinicial programs on federal web sites! Thanks a lot Harper! Like all policy areas, Harper is determined to download responsibilities to the provinces and you can guess which provinces will be screwed most by this decentralized approach! Quebec better be careful what they are asking for because Harper seems intent on giving it to them!

Anonymous said...

My biggest disappointment is with NBPOlitico! I was expecting a thorough analysis of the report, that it only warrants such little comment is jury enough of its inadequacies!

I would like to see some statistics on one thing, and that's whether there is any actual benefit to appointing and paying a Deputy Minister to sit in an office and say "how're we doing?" This task force cost a half a million dollars you say? For some 'common sense' recommendations with no way to implement them? Sounds like these two guys did some hard drinking down the pub while spitballing-how cost effective is that?

That amount could have built a dozen low income housing units, probably more.

Combine the comments here from 'anonymous' and NBP about certification and what seems clear to me is that the 'general public' is far more informed and educated than those who are making their decisions. I mentioned decentralizing education away from bureaucrats, I think I'd suggest the same in politics.

Anonymous said...

The funniest thing ever I saw came from the report....one of the conclusions "we must get more money from the federal government". That's just too rich! You'd think they'd at least save that for a footnote or something!

Anonymous said...

I have been a Liberal for 27 years and i can say that I cannot bring myself to vote for this once great party. Shawn Graham has distroyed this provience and everything that Mr. McKenna had built Lord was bad but Graham is 10 times worse... What a path of destruction these fools have made