GDP per ‘Crap’ita

This is in response to ‘Anonymous’ who sent over the TJ article this morning entitled: “Fishing lodge guest praises Lord in column”.

I won’t deconstruct this article in its entirety. I think that Premier Lord is an excellent salesperson who gets standing ovations in Toronto. If I went to Larry’s Gulch I’d probably come back convinced.

But, if I may, that’s really not the point. It’s not about putting a good sales job on a crappy economic performance.

But, enough said on that. I think most folks that read this blog understand the difference between a crackerjack sales effort and reality.

But, I do want to discuss, for a moment, this statistic that keeps cropping up – namely GDP per capita.

Here’s a quote from the article:

Mr. Dubuc [guest at Larry’s Gulch and writer for Le Soleil and La Presse newspapers – one presumes he was invited by the Premier to visit Larry’s Gulch for this purpose – to raise Lord’s profile in Quebec] wrote that New Brunswick’s economy is on the rise, saying its progress shines like a bolt of lightning. He said in 1981, the standard of living, the per capita GDP, in New Brunswick was about 74 per cent of Quebec’s. Last year, it was 90 per cent, he wrote.

Now, I wish we would just park this GDP per capita thing forever. It is a useless statistic. Quebec’s economy could grow 3 times faster than New Brunswick, but if New Brunswick’s population declines then our GDP per capita – note that means per person – would actually increase.

Also, the Irving Refinery in Saint John added something like $3 billion per year to the GDP but only generates a handful of jobs. So GDP per capita is the worst economic statistic to use. However, politicians will use it because it’s the only one that looks good.

I wonder if the Premier told ‘Lord shines like a bolt of lightning’ Mr. Dubuc these stats:
*New Brunswick is now one of three provinces with an ongoing population decline (since the late 1990s).
*There has been a net out-migration of folks from New Brunswick for 13 straight years
*New Brunswick’s job creation rate from October 1999 to October 2005 is the second worst in Canada.
*Rural New Brunswick is bleeding to death. Outside of metro Fredericton and metro Moncton – population delcine is acute.
*New Brunswick’s unemployment rate is the second highest in Canada.
*New Brunswick’s employment rate is the second lowest in Canada.
*New Brunswick has attracted less immigrants in the last five years than it did in a single year during the early 1970s.
*Six of New Brunswick’s top ten exports have declined significantly in the past few years. Without the Irving refinery exports, New Brunswick has the worst export performance among the ten Canadian provinces.
*New Brunswick has dropped from sixth to 10th among the provinces for households using the Internet.
*New Brunswickers have the lowest literacy rates in Canada.

You have to wonder if he would have wrote “New Brunswick’s economy is on the rise, saying its progress shines like a bolt of lightning” if he had been presented with these facts. I hope this sounds better in French than in English.

It’s truly amazing what a Lobster supper buys you these days.

They used to grumble that McKenna became a victim of his own PR. That is, he spent so much time selling New Brunswick that the myth became his reality. And then he had a deathbed conversion, as he resigned in 1997, he made a speech talking about how New Brunswickers were ‘addicted’ to EI and Equalization and had a ‘welfare mentality’.

I wonder if Lord will have a ‘deathbed conversion’?

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0 Responses to GDP per ‘Crap’ita

  1. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with McKenna-a politician after all, and would far easier side with the oft quoted Savoie and ‘part’ of what is stated here: that New Brunswick NEEDS economic development investments AT LEAST equal to what Ontario gets, and probably more since it is a have not province. You certainly don’t need to make life worse for people before making it better.

    The argument that somehow New Brunswickers are ‘addicted’ social transfers is absurd. EI was gutted in the mid 90’s, go read some community profiles at stats canada and count how many people are in the participation rate, and what the unemployment rate and the percentage who get money from ‘government sources’ actually is. The proof is right there.

    Social transfers pay for health, education, and social issues like paying for group homes and poverty incentives. With no jobs of course education is a waste-but are we seriously considering lowering the standards so that universities are private schools and MORE people leave right after high school. For health NB has never been touted as the health capital of Canada, but of course the slash and burn can CLEARLY be traced to the federal government.

    For poverty issues we can look at the feds ‘big’ announcement of $5000 for two soup kitchens up north, wow, they sure are pulling their weight.

    So Mr. Savoie is RIGHT ON, when he says this is political, that New Brunswick needs equal representation or like northern NB within NB, it is doomed, Ontario and Alberta have their own problems and Canada itself is quickly on its way to becoming a world maritime region.

    Look at it this way, say New Brunswick was its own country. All the tax dollars stayed here, but of course that wouldn’t pay for everything, but then you would actually have a Bank of New Brunswick, plus if other banks wanted in they’d have to keep a certain amount of money locally. Plus, you could actually have insurance rates that are heavily regulated or else socialized if the companies don’t play ball (which they probably wouldn’t, they already said they might leave here).

    Go one step further, while Irving would like to ‘own’ our little country, we could actually make our own federal legislation, and in a small province it’s far more likely that people wouldn’t be so apolitical. For example, though Irving would continue to screw over the country, at least we’d have control over things like the gas pipeline and could put a tax on gas going through the province, just as the middle east got rich taxing trade going from east to west.

    Obviously I am not suggesting NB become its own country, but when you look at it with that perspective, you suddenly realize just how many of our problems come from OTTAWA, not Fredericton.

    Keep in mind Lord is doing what every premier has done since the depression, which is to make everything look good so that investors won’t shy away from it. It failed then, it failed for McKenna. This is where we differ, I don’t think the problem is TOO MUCH money from Ottawa, I think it’s TOO LITTLE.