The CBC did a piece last night on the nationals that looked more deeply at the Liberal’s economic track record since coming to power in 1993.
The reporter concluded that the two main strikes against the Liberal economic record are: productivity and trade. We have dropped to 13 for productivity in the OECD and we are too dependent on US trade which has been stagnant since 2000.
Now, my point is this. Did Atlantic Canada just drop off Mike Hornbrook’s map of Canada? Because I would say that a third chink in the Liberal armour would be regional economic development (unless the 2.1 million people and shrinking in this region don’t count).
Atlantic Canada’s population growth (the ultimately proxy for economic growth) throughout the 50s and 60s was below the national average but not by much. In the 1980s, our population growth tempered but was relatively stable. But it peaked in 1993 and has been declining since. Well, 1993 was the year the Liberals took power.
Now, you can argue that it was the cuts to social programs to beat the deficit that led to this. You can argue many points.
But my point today to Mike Hornbrook, et. al. is this is a national story. It’s a national story because it continues today. It’s a national story because Liberal economic policy was biased towards a small handful of urban areas. While the EU was dumping billions into the Irish turnaround, Ottawa was dumping billions into Ontario and Quebec and slowly but steadily increasing Atlantic Canada’s dependence on Equalization.
I wonder would things have been different if Ottawa had dumped billions in Equalization and EI into Ontario and billions into auto plants, aerospace plants, high tech firms, etc. in Atlantic Canada.
I wonder. I wa wa wa wa wonder…. (pop quiz what song?).