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ESJ has a another defender in the TJ

October 1, 2008

David Campbell, a consultant from Moncton, provides us with a somewhat condescending lesson on why the people of Saint John should support Enterprise Saint John.  In his column he states that ESJ, as well as Chambers of Commerce and other similar agencies should raise “the profile of the local community in the regional, national and international context” as a means of stimulating economic development.

Perhaps Mr Campbell doesn’t read the news, or has a short memory.

ESJ did just as he recommended last year when it supported closing UNB Saint John.  This initiative certainly raised our profile–and in all the wrong ways.  If he checks media accounts from a year ago, he will see that this wacky idea prompted some of our international students to refer to the proposal (supported by ESJ) for a polytechnic as a “fake university.”  And we certainly made the news beyond the province as well.  One of the first questions asked of me when in Calgary in December 2008 was “What the heck is the government doing in New Brunswick?”  And this question about the recently released PSE Report did not come from a family member or someone in the academic community.  I can assure you others have similar anecdotes to share.

Unless someone can provide a compelling argument supporting taxpayer funding of ESJ–and not pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking about what ESJ can do if just given the funding and another chance to prove its worth–I am one Saint John taxpayer who thinks the enterprising people at ESJ should find other sources of funding.

I just love it when agencies try to be entrpreneurial (i.e. engaging in risk-taking behaviour) with public funds.  Isn’t this contradictory to the philosophy they so readily spew at the drop of a penny?

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