Tag Archives: Cape Breton

Yankee come home!

Oh to be a bluenoser now that the three-minute-long spring becomes us

Oh to be a bluenoser now that the three-minute-long spring becomes us

New Brunswick’s department of tourism (or whatever they’re calling it these days) should take a page from one Cape Breton radio personality’s playbook on luring wandering Yanks to these shores.

As Canadian Press playfully reported last week, “The creator of a cheeky website that encourages Americans to move to Cape Breton before Donald Trump can be elected president says he’s been shocked by the response. . .Traffic to the website has increased steadily, reaching over 35,000 unique visits on Wednesday (February 17).”

The spillover effect has also been pretty commanding. Said the CP story: “The site includes a link to Destination Cape Breton, which promotes tourism on the island. CEO Mary Tulle says U.S. traffic to her website over the past three days has jumped from almost 1,300 visits last year at this time to almost 12,000 this week.”

The man behind the fuss, Rob Calabrese, was, himself, gob smacked by the reaction. “I’m in disbelief,” he told the wire service. “I wish everyone from Cape Breton could read them (emails from Americans), because they really make you proud of living here. Some are writing about how it feels nice to know that they are welcome somewhere. A lot of Americans think that they’re not very popular in the eyes of the world.”

Heavens to betsy! Wherever did they get that idea?

Here, then, are a few collected quotes (courtesy of the CBC) of Mr. Trump from 2015:

“I don’t need anybody’s money. . .I’m using my own money, I’m not using the lobbyists, I’m not using donors, I don’t care. I’m really rich.”

“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.”

“When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best. . .They’re sending people that have lots of problems. . .They are bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.”

“Obamacare really kicks in in 2016. Obama’s going to be out playing golf, he might even be on one of my courses. I would invite him. . .I have the best courses in the world.”

“I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I will bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs and I’ll bring back our money.”

“I’m a free trader, but the problem is you need really talented people to negotiate for you. . .But we have people that are stupid.”

“I like China. . .I love China. . .Their leaders are much smarter than our leaders.”

Need we say more?  Or, as Heather from Missouri points out on the ‘Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins’ website, “As an American who has spent time in Nova Scotia exploring new opportunities and the idyllic landscape over the last three years, I would highly recommend a visit Northeast – destination Cape Breton Island. Fair warning, though, you WILL be charmed and delighted. Political asylum seeker, curious traveler, or modern nomad seeking jaw-dropping beauty, rich culture, and inspiring collaboration value, oceanside? Pack your skill set, and explore island life beyond the confines of a tourist/visitor visa. Consider the NAFTA Skilled Workers Program as a path to legal residency for American immigrants.”

In fact, the website has received an enormous amount of publicity over the past few days, having received write-ups in mainstream print and online news organizations across North America, including The National Post, Winnipeg Free Press, Vancouver Sun, Fortune, and the Huffington Post.

All of which may only prove that Mr. Trump is the greatest gift God ever created for improving Atlantic Canada’s anaemic immigration record.

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A modest proposal for New Brunswick

We could sell the snow. There's plenty of that

We could sell the snow. There’s plenty of that

In the annals of economic perdition along Canada’s benighted East Coast, Cape Breton is often cited as the exemplar of Murphy’s Law, where everything that can go wrong always does.

An Alberta colleague of mine in the Toronto newsroom of the Globe and Mail in the mid-1980s once japed that about the only government-funded development scheme that region of Nova Scotia hadn’t tried was building a monorail around the picturesque Bras d’Or Lake for rich European, American and Asian tourists.

“Because,” he shouted giddily, pointing an index finger to the sky, “there’s an idea that might actually work.”

Canada is vast enough and diverse enough that its various laughing stocks are never in short supply (much, of course, to our national discredit).

So, it seems odd that outside of a few bureaucratic enclaves at Industry Canada, New Brunswick has yet to receive the brunt of scorn and ridicule its sister parts of the Maritimes – such as Cape Breton – have endured for generations.

After all, as the lovely butt of other people’s jokes, it’s a perfect candidate. Even our very own native son, Donald Savoie, isn’t above cracking wise every now and then. . .sort of.

The Moncton-based economic development authority and university professor was in fine form last week as he chatted with the Saint John Telegraph-Journal’s John Chilibeck. Referring to the ticking time bomb that is the province’s aging population, Mr. Savoie invoked several figures of speech, including “waiting to explode” and “bite us very hard”, either or both which could involve “slow, painful economic death spiral.”

Whichever case may, ultimately, transpire, the economist’s main message is clear: We’re in for a whole lot of fear and loathing unless we get off our collective derrieres and grab the bull by the horns and go for the brass ring in our effort to prove that, if nothing else, academics aren’t the only members of provincial society who can mix a wicked metaphor.

His larger point, though, is that “we’ve being saying ‘no’ to a lot of economic development over several years. We can’t (here comes the jokey part) turn all of New Brunswick into a national park.”

Of course, we can’t. Apart from any other consideration, national parks cost big bucks and – in case some of us haven’t been paying attention – we don’t have even little ones. Oh, we have the trees, alright, but not the variety on which money grows.

Perhaps, then, we should go with our strengths – or, rather, turn our weaknesses into competitive advantages the way we turn lemons into lemonade.

Take one-part aging population, add one-part pristine environment, shake, then pour. Hey presto: we’ve got ourselves an instant, province-wide retirement community. Forget about merely visiting the old folks’ home. New Brunswick is the old folks’ home

If we’re shrewd, we can sell this brand all over the world to, you guessed it, rich Europeans, Americans and Asians.

See what we did there? In one dramatic swoop, we’ve boosted badly needed immigration. And – thanks to the money pouring into provincial coffers from fat, international retirement trusts and savings plans to pay for new sanitoriums, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, and then some – we’ve solved the fiscal crisis.

But let’s not stop there. If we start building a few monorails to replace the roads nobody will soon be driving through the countryside nobody will soon be fracking we’ll manage to keep our productivity up until, of course, we all just drop dead from natural causes.

As my Alberta chum might say, “There’s an idea that might actually work.”

Indeed, what could go wrong?

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