Rhonda Herrington Bulmer
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September 25th, 2018
The more things change, the more they stay the same?
by Rhonda Herrington Bulmer


In light of yesterday’s shake-up election, this interview covering Don Mills by Huddle is the best thing I’ve read today.

And the best quote? “Because of the way politics works in this region nobody wants to make a hard decision on things.”

Don Mills’ Truth bomb #2 was echoed by Dr. Donald Savoie in his book, “Looking for Bootstraps.” I highly recommend it.

I am a unilingual English person, and I hear a lot of complaints about bilingualism from people, who like me, have difficulty finding a job in certain fields (mine is communications), and don’t see the usefulness or fairness of it. But many of those jobs are in government, or crown corporations. When one in four people in this province are employed by the government, it’s not surprising that we think government jobs are the best jobs, and are jealous when we can’t compete for them. They pay well, offer great pensions and benefits, and for the most part they offer job security.

But the problem is not bilingualism, My Fellow New Brunswickers. The problem is that we think a government job is the best job.

To really truly thrive, we need a vibrant private sector and we can’t depend on the government to create that vibrancy for us. That hasn’t worked for 150 years. All it has done is create more dependency.
And the highest taxes in the country.


I spent two years researching the anti-confederate leader Sir Albert Smith and his work during the 1860s—the years leading up to Confederation—and writing his story in various ways until we settled on a 20-minute animated documentary, which you can watch here.

Because of that, I’m convinced that New Brunswick has remained virtually unchanged politically and economically since that time. New Brunswick is Brigadoon. We live in a time warp—we largely vote the same way, in the same geographic regions for the same reasons.

And nothing. Ever. Changes. Except to get worse.

It served the budding federal government in Ottawa to set it up that way in 1867 (to me, John A. MacDonald is only a hero to Ontario), because it resulted in policies that moved that “national economy” and the “national interest” to Central Canada—but we lost our independence as a result. After 150 years, we’ve adopted those notions and settled into them like a warm and fuzzy blanket. But it’s suffocating us.

Now that we have the first minority government in New Brunswick in a century, is it a momentary blip before we return to the status quo (and what I believe is an inevitable crash), or is it an opportunity to make some hard decisions? I hope it’s the latter.

2 Responses to “The more things change, the more they stay the same?”

  1. Marlene Oulton says:

    Good points, Rhonda. I, too, wish there was more investment and support for the private business sector instead of higher taxes and general disregard by our political parties. Also everyone knows (or should) that Sir John A. was a drunkard who most likely made backroom deals on our Constitution while totally hammered. Pity.

    • rhonda says:

      Thanks, Marlene. Drunkard or not, MacDonald realized his goal, which was to get out of the agreement with Quebec, and to build a powerful central economy utilizing tax money from the oldest colonies. But the new agreement did not benefit us in the way he sold it to Maritime leaders.

      But today, I guess the most important point is that we have to take the advice that people like Don Mills are putting forward, but it requires the willingness to shed the old way of life.

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