I have been a vocal critic of the lack of focus on economic development in the province over the past number of years. I believe that it has led directly to the population crisis, the EI problem, youth out-migration and the other results of economic stagnancy, namely increasing dependence on EI, the education gap, decaying infrastructure, etc.
However, I can’t believe that the PC Party of New Brunswick isn’t sounding the alarm. At their convention last year, there was almost no attention to economic matters and the Premier himself openly brags about cutting spending in all areas except health care and education.
Well, cutting spending on economic development, highways, etc. has its effect on the New Brunswick economy.
Just for fun, I looked at the first five years of the last PC Premier, Richard Hatfield from 1971-76. During that five year period, there was a net in-migration of 16,700 people (that is the difference between people moving in and moving out). In addition, there were over 9,000 immigrants. Now fast forward to the first full five years of Premier Lord. There has been a net out-migration of -5,600 people and only 3,600 immigrants. From Hatfield to Lord, we have gone from thousands of people moving here to thousands of people moving out (net). Despite record levels of immigrants to Canada in the past five years, only 1/3 of the number of immigrants settled in New Brunswick from 1999-2004 compared to 1971-1976.
I am curious why the Tory party itself isn’t sound the alarm and cracking the whip – forcing Lord to start actually doing something. Sooner or later the abysmal economic performance of New Brunswick is going to sink in with the general population and the Tories will be bounced from office.
Too bad we couldn’t roll out the bones of Hatfield to provide Lord with some advice. It would be better than what he is getting now.