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.