There are two reasons why exports should be an election issue:
1) Because when you exclude the Irving refinery, total exports are down by $800 million from 2000 to 2005. This translates into thousands of lost – mostly rural and small town – jobs. Paper Mills exports are down 47%, Sawmills and Wood Preservation down 26%, aquaculture down 13%, paperboard mills down 34%, etc. There have been a few winners, Veneer, Plywood and Engineered Wood Product Manufacturing is up 73% higher in 2005 than 2000. Overall, however; the trend is decidedly downward and the government has incessantly bragged about the record export levels (who can forget the billion with a ‘b’ comment).
2) The second reason why is the mysteriously vanishing Prosperty Plan goal:
NB will increase its percentage of exporting firms from 45% to 55%,
and the proportion of its non-resource-based exports from 29% to 40%
of total exports by 2012.
Now, by my rough calculation, the proportion of non-resource-based exports has decreased since 2000.
In my opinion, New Brunswick is an exporting province but not a province of exporters. When you back out resource-based exports, there’s almost none left.
By the way, in case you were wondering, across Canada, despite the border problems, exports are up by $16 billion from 2000 to 2005.
We need a government that will be honest with the people about our export situation. Billion with a ‘b’ should be stricken from the public record.
We need a government that doesn’t make silly promises when there is no hope in heck of achieving them (most of the PP targets).
If a government says increasing SME exports is a priority, then it should lean into that objective and put serious resources behind it. We need a government that does what it says it will do.