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Throne speech

November 26, 2008

I would have listened to the throne speech yesterday, honest, but I had to wash my hair. But luckily the Gleaner has published excerpts:

Now more than ever, New Brunswick must be competitive in demonstrating that New Brunswick is a great place to be in business. Business New Brunswick has launched an aggressive investment attraction strategy. Your government remains committed to fostering innovation and exploring the potential of promising technology clusters such as advanced learning, health and biosciences.

Advanced learning (and what does that mean, exactly? Post-secondary, one assumes?) is a “technology cluster”?

There is definitely some sort of cluster here.

For [those] pursuing higher learning, post-secondary education must be accessible and affordable. That’s the goal of the action plan for post-secondary education, Be Inspired. Be Ready. Be Better. – students getting the quality education and training they need to build careers in the growing New Brunswick economy.

With 33 recommendations, the Action Plan represents the most comprehensive commitment to post-secondary education in New Brunswick in decades.

And how many of those recommendations actually have to do with accessibility and affordability? Not many. Most of them are about layering on extra levels of bureaucracy, imposing government control, and politicizing higher education in this province.

By working with the business community, academia, community groups, municipal governments and the federal government; by working with New Brunswickers, we will build a better, more self-sufficient New Brunswick.

Just so we’re clear: universities are not armies. Our leaders are not generals; they are “the first among equals,” with all the difference of opinion that that implies. They cannot truly speak for us without first having followed internal collegial processes. So if the government truly wants to work with academia, it will need to engage much more fully with the broad, diverse, enduring academic community itself.

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