I now have an appreciation for what journalists covering the legislature have to deal with on a daily basis. There is almost a separate vocabulary the politicians use that intricately mixes non-answers, vague denials, double speak and teeth gritting irony. It’s pretty intoxicating but you finish reading this stuff without learning much.
By the way, I have been reading the hansard from the NB legislature and that’s what I am talking about.
But I wanted to point out a mini-speech given by Premier Lord in one of his answers:
To use the word of the Leader of the Opposition, who likes to use the word “realize” this afternoon, what the Leader of the Opposition must realize is that the money the government uses comes from taxpayers. He must realize that the government cannot just use tax dollars to prop up businesses when it does not make sense. Too much of that has been done in the past. Too often, the taxpayers have been left holding the bill. That is why the approach that we have taken as a government is a realistic and reasonable, but very aggressive, approach. It has yielded better results than ever before, more jobs than ever before, lower unemployment than before, higher wages than before, and better economic conditions in all regions of New Brunswick. We will continue on this path, and we will work with all the companies that want to invest in New Brunswick.
The Premier is obviously the Lord of the Spin Doctors. He whips off these statements without even hesitating when there is almost no justifiable proof of his comments. But they sure sound nice.
For example, he says they have been ‘very aggressive’ in their approach to economic development. Huh? Not even wet behind the ears journalists would buy this. He says his economic development policies have ‘yeilded better results than ever before’. Huh?
New Brunswick has among the highest rates of unemployment in North America and the differential with the Canadian average is as high today as six years ago.
It has lead to ‘better economic conditions in all regions of New Brunswick’. Has he ever been to these ‘regions’? I’ll say one thing on this. New Brunswick’s population – using the government’s own data has been stagnant or declining since the Premier came to power. At the same time we know that Moncton has added something like 10-15k population in that time frame. Fredericton has also grown its population. So, by definition, the rest of New Brunswick has dropped by 20k or 25k or more (we won’t know until 2007 for sure) – in some communities this drop has been much more noticable. Ask the mayors of Northern New Brunswick if ‘all regions’ have ‘better economic conditions’. They just announced today they are banding together to take on the government on these issues.
The polls tell a different story, Mr. Premier.