Is it just me or are Westerners crapping on Atlantic Canadians a lot more lately? In my day job I have to monitor newspapers from across Canada and the general public out there is getting a steady diet of anti-Atlantic Canadianism from a wide variety of sources left, right and centre.
Consider this one. It’s a piece last weekend in the Victoria Times (BC) by a guy by the name of Mark Milke.
Milke trying to make himself look smart by stating that Ottawa should try ‘immigration’ from Atlantic Canada to solve western Canada’s labour shortages. Golly gee, as if that hasn’t been said before.
The problem with Milke and all the other superficial thinkers that are promoting this notion widely is that they may just get what they ask for. HRSDC recently paid for a study published by an Ottawa think tank that recommended providing ‘incentives’ to get people to move from Atlantic Canada to the West.
Now, at first glance, you and I might go along with this. Surely, a person working in Alberta is better off than one unemployed or seasonally employed in Atlantic Canada.
But if you empty Atlantic Canada of its workers (and usually the best and brightest leave just as The Virginian) what will be left? The New Brunswick government’s budget has increased by almost 40% since Premier Lord took office. Costs are going up and population is going down. Skimming off another 10,000 workers and shipping them to Alberta will just mean 10,000 less people – many of which are paying at least some taxes.
The point is that there is a baseload of costs associated with offering Canada’s generous public service infrastructure (health care, education, infrastructure, EI, welfare, et. al.) and there will not be a correlation between a drop in population and a drop in the cost of government.
So you will be left with a multi-billion dollar government spread over a smaller group of taxpayers requiring even more Equalization from the West (that is what is going on now, folks).
Or you dramatically cut the cost of government services or shift it to the residents and viola, you get the third world right here at home – not to mention Constitutional challenges (a la the threat of Lord a few weeks ago).
So, in my opinion all this invective coming out the West is not helpful as it will stir up increasing bad will among fellow Canadians and no prompting to action that will actually make a difference.
If Milke et. al. were smart they would support (like the EU and Ireland) a broad-based strategy to stimulate real economic development in Atlantic Canada.
But Milke et. al. don’t understand the politics of the thing. It is far easier to support more Equalization in Atlantic Canada. The 905 crowd will grudgingly support that. But to put an auto plant in New Brunswick that ‘rightfully’ should go into Ontario – heaven help us.
Those greedy beggars in Atlantic Canada want our tax dollars and now they want our jobs.