What’s in a word? Boom versus bust

Daniel MacEachern
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Being at the St. John’s Board of Trade’s launch of its Be the Boom campaign Friday morning was almost surreal for me. The reason?

I spent six years in Fort McMurray — a place that knows a thing or two about explosive economic growth — and while I was there, and likely still, “boom” is considered a dirty word.

Politicians and business leaders — especially ones around when oil prices plummeted in the ’80s, stagnating growth immediately — tend not to utter the b-word themselves, because of its connection to another b-word: bust.

Not that I share the superstition, but I asked Kim Keating, the board’s first vice-chairwoman, whether the new campaign isn’t taking a victory lap a little early. She said the campaign is meant to celebrate current success, but that the focus is still very much on sustainable growth.

“This campaign, this movement, this parade, really, is about celebrating the success of business now,” she said.

“There’s potential around every corner. We believe there’s huge opportunity to make sure we make the right decisions now to sustain this boom. The future’s being decided now — we need to approach this boom. It’s not a destitnation, it’s not a point in time, it’s a journey. So while we want to celebrate the success today, we’re actually very forward thinking in terms of recognizing that there are decisions to be made to make sure we sustain this boom.”

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Several Newfoundlanders are among 50 people younger than 35 years old selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders Summit to be held in Digby, N.S., later this month.

The summit aims to connect people with a “common will to help develop Atlantic Canada and help the region prosper in order to ensure everyone has a better quality of life.” The Newfoundlanders selected are Brittany Tibbo, school programs co-ordinator for the Heart and Stroke Foundation; Jennifer Smith, a realtor with Home Team NL, Mike Wahl, co-owner of HP Fitness; Raymond Pretty, co-founder of Verafin; Sandy Cooper, health and safety advisor for Husky Energy; Scott Oldford, CEO of Essential Coding; and Steve Kent, MHA and parliamentary secretary.

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Speaking of Scott Oldford, the 22-year-old launched a new design and digital strategy company this week. Infinitus Marketing and Technology provides web design, social media marketing and ecommerce — among other strategies. He’s got nearly a decade of experience in the field already. That’s not a typo — he’s been at it since he was 13.

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Jason Clemens, the executive vice-president of the Fraser Institute, will be provide the keynote address at the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council’s annual conference next month. Clemens will discuss the province’s business competitiveness and will outline why having natural resources is not enough to provide long-term prosperity.


Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Heart and Stroke Foundation, HP Fitness, Husky Energy Fraser Institute Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council

Geographic location: Fort McMurray, Digby, Atlantic Canada

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