16 April 2010

I thought *you* had jobs to send to *us*…

Take a look at the very limited amount coverage available on the Internet about the southern governors and Canadian premiers conference.

There are lots of platitudes about relationships.  There was plenty of interest in energy jobs. But aside from vapid comments about things like the international awareness of American business leaders – they are apparently very, very good -  there wasn’t much of substance coming from any mouths.

That’s hardly surprising:  the southern United States is looking for people to move in a create local jobs. Take, for example, the situation in Alabama, as described by an editorial in the Anniston Star newspaper:

It's a non-debatable, obvious fact. Alabama needs jobs.

Anniston – roughly the size of Corner Brook - is looking for someone to come to the state, set up a business and create jobs for Alabamans. Neal Wade, of the state economic development agency, told Associated Press [quoted in the Anniston Star]:

"What we want to see is not just the assembly jobs, but the research and development, renewable energy projects that will impact not just our state but all of the country…. I think there are tremendous opportunities not just to reduce the cost of energy in our state, but also to increase jobs."

Three years into the exercise this particular conference of governors and premiers seems to be coming up very short.  Some provinces, like Quebec, may be able to profit but it is hard to know why a province like Newfoundland and Labrador is devoting such effort as sending the premier to the meetings while other, more lucrative prospects have been either neglected or trashed.

After all, you can just hear Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Premier Danny Williams when they first met:  “But I thought you had jobs to send to us.

At least, Danny didn’t have to travel far to get to Biloxi.