I just got home from work and there in the mail was a 12 page ‘Post-Budget Report to New Brunswickers’ from the government.
I expected to open it up and read:
Fellow citizens, I regret to inform you that we are heading towards a serious crisis. We have been in population decline since 1998, our key industries are losing steam and we have not been able to attract new industries to replace the old ones. As a result, we will require more money from other provinces and we will have to continue to belt tighten here.
But what I read was:
Building a stronger New Brunswick for all!
The Prosperity Plan is ‘Bang on’!
Strong fiscal management
New Brunswick will lead Canada in broadband access by 2007
Millions for economic development
Now a few key points of rebuttal:
- I am not sure why they continue to compare the lowest month for employment in 1999 to the highest month in 2005. Every New Brunswicker knows the seasonal nature of our workforce. The real job creation record since 1999 has been the worst in Atlantic Canada and third worst in Canada (see the chart below).
- The document fails to mention that we have underperformed the national average for GDP growth (economic growth) all but one year since 1999 and are expected to underperform for the next three.
- The document talks about ‘investments’ in ‘prosperity’ but then again openly brags about cutting spending except for education and health care. $3.35 billion more on health care and less on economic development. Hmmmm.
- The document states that New Brunswick will lead Canada in broadband access by 2007 but fails to mention we have dropped from 7th to last among the Canadian provinces for households connected to the Internet.
- The document talks with great gusto about the small business tax reductions but fails to mention NB has the third worst rate of small business creation in Canada since 1999 and the worst in Atlantic Canada.
- The document talks about a 3 year, $18 million Community Development Initiative. This works out to $8 bucks per person per year for ‘community development’. We spend $70 bucks a person on garbage removal. Thanks a bunch.
- $4 million per year for the Acadian Peninsula Economic Development Fund (they forgot to mention the $200 million in EI and social assistance).
- Lastly, but certainly not least (ly), $1 million for immigration – the lowest amount in the country.
I think we are just about ready for less marketing shtick and a little more straight talk, how about you?