I can’t help it. I know a lot of you are growing weary of my negativism but I just can’t help it. Here are a few quotes from a recent Telegraph-Journal article on New Brunswick’s export performance in 2005:
Naive Journalist: New Brunswick soared to new trade heights last year by exporting more than $10.7 billion worth of goods internationally – a new record for Canada’s most export-dependent province.
“It’s proof positive that New Brunswickers can and do compete in a global marketplace,” said Kirk MacDonald, the minister of Business New Brunswick. [Can I get an amen to that brother?, yee haw]
The numbers are in line with 10-year competitiveness targets set out by Premier Bernard Lord in his government’s prosperity plan.
The proportion of exporting firms increased from 45 per cent in 2001, two years after Mr. Lord’s Tories took office, to 49 per cent last year, and the government expects New Brunswick’s percentage of exporting firms to grow to 55 per cent by 2012.
Non-resource exports have grown by $25 million per year since 2001 [Note to Ms. Naive: how much is $25 million as a percentage of $10 billion]. The proportion of the province’s non-resource based exports is expected to climb to 40 per cent of total exports by 2012 as well.
So, to read this all – you would be bowled over with how good things are. Okay, now for the facts:
-Exports from New Brunswick are down $818 million since 2000 (excluding the Irving Refinery) – the first full year the Tories were in office.
-All of these categories have seen major declines in exports since 2000: Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging, Paper Mills, Sawmills and Wood Preservation, Pulp Mills, Electric Power Generation, Animal Aquaculture, Paperboard Mills, Nursery and Floriculture Production, and Ornamental and Architectural Metal Products Manufacturing.
Three of our traditionally strong manufacturing sectors forestry, seafood and electricity are all down substantially since 2000 and the friggin’ Minister of Business New Brunswick says this means “New Brunswickers can compete in the global marketplace”. And apparently, losing $800 million of jobs intensive exports like seafood preparation and wood production means we are on target to hit the friggin’ Prosperity Plan targets. Which page of the PP says that losing $800 million core exports (not including oil) is the target?
So, for all of you that are telling me to stop my whining – just read on a bit more. PEI’s exports from 2000 to 2005 are up 16% (not including oil). Nova Scotia’s exports (not including oil or gas) are the same in 2005 compared to 2000.
I am sorry. I usually am a little more polite. I speak tongue-in-cheek when the Training Minister says every month about how encouraged they are about the labour market figures. I giggle a bit when someone talks about the Prosperity Plan. But these export figures are no laughing matter. None whatsoever. And any Minister or Premier or Journalist that could look at the 2000 and 2005 figures and then spew forth nonsense about being globally competitive is nothing but either completely ignorant or supremely cynical.
Somebody needs to tell the public that our traditional industries forestry, fishing, mining are going down and we are doing nothing to replace them.
And the public is never going to know about it because the government does its best to hide behind distorted and manipulated statistics and the pimply, underpaid media writes up what they are told.
I’ll be nicer tomorrow, promise.