Letters to the Editor

Monday, 27 February 2012

NDP slams Business New Brunswick for record of failure

ACOA architect Donald Savoie joins New Democrats in call for agency to close

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick’s New Democrats emphasized the need to end corporate welfare following a damning report by the Canadian Press stating that 23% of Business New Brunswick (BNB) investments over the last six years went to companies that have since declared bankruptcy or closed their doors.

New Democrat Leader Dominic Cardy said, “Liberal and Conservative governments threw more than $150 million dollars down the drain. Money we need for schools, for research and development, to tackle poverty. Mr. Premier, shut down Business New Brunswick. Put a stop to corporate welfare. Liberal and Tory businesses will have to go somewhere else to find money to waste.”

New Democrats proposed ending corporate welfare in the 2010 provincial election. The party is pleased Professor Donald Savoie, key architect of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, has said the time for corporate welfare programs has passed.

Said Cardy, “Progressive parties, including mine, used to hope governments playing favourites with business could strengthen the economy. The idea was tried. It did not work. The people who benefit most from corporate welfare aren’t New Brunswick businesses or taxpayers. The people who benefit most are Liberal and Conservative insiders; too often Business New Brunswick has been used to pass money to their friends and family members. Just look at Atcon – nearly $70 million dollars to a company with direct connections to the last Liberal government.”

Cardy expressed surprise after a BNB spokesperson said many failed BNB-backed businesses reopened with the help of additional government money. He said, “Liberals and Conservatives believe the only way New Brunswick can survive is by bribing bad companies. I don’t buy it: I believe in a rich and fair New Brunswick where people with a great education, living in safe, green communities, apply for jobs with New Brunswick companies that grew because they were world class.”

Cardy said, “Existing companies will move to New Brunswick because they see a province that values new ideas, that’s open and creative. A New Democrat government will work hard to make sure our people have the skills they need, that they are healthy, that our regulations and infrastructure make sense.”

The New Democrats have proposed programs to replace BNB including a revenue-generating New Jobs Tax Credit to reward companies that create jobs.