Another likely reason to have called the election

Today’s Statistics Canada release of new population figures are undoubtedly another reason why Premier Lord called the election. I am sure that certain elements of the media (and bloggers) would have tried to make hay with this data (except Al Hogan).

Canada’s population increased by over 323,000 people in the last year alone (estimated) and all
New Brunswick could do was witness a population drop of 2,313 people last year.

It’s interesting to note that PEI’s population is increasing.

People say to me that dropping 2,000 people isn’t that bad.

Look at the trend folks. In the 1970s, population growth in New Brunswick was in the 5-6% range from Census to Census. Then it dropped in the 1980s to 2-3%. Then it dropped further in the 1990s and the last Census 1996-2001 saw a population drop of 1.2%.

It is very likely that the 2006 Census (data released next year) will show an even steeper decline.

Look at the chart. In the early 1970s, New Brunswick’s population actually grew faster than Canada as a whole. Then it dropped and dropped and dropped.

Use your imagination to extend this out another decade or two. It won’t be pretty.

Notwithstanding Al Hogan’s Pollyannish world, this is serious stuff, folks.

Time to get crackin’

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0 Responses to Another likely reason to have called the election

  1. Anonymous says:

    Very serious, but as they say, what to do?

  2. David Campbell says:

    Click on the October 2004 blogs and work your way through the 920+ entries up until this one. You will have to read through more pages than two full length novels. Or, alternative, here is the Cliff Notes Version:

    Make economic development a priority – increase spending on economic development to 3% of the total budget by 2009 (it’s less than 0.5% today). Challenge the Feds to match that contribution with the goal of reducing Equalization over time.

    Hire top minds and top sales guys/gals(even if you have to pay a decent salary). Set up foreign offices. Promote, promote, promote.

    Attract at least our share of foreign investment (new companies and expansion capital into our successful firms).

    Pick a few key industry sectors with very good growth prospects and make considerable investments in training, infrastructure, R&D, etc.

    Attract a few ‘anchor’ industrial projects like auto plants, aerospace plants, etc. These tend to have 25-30 year lifecyles and would be well appreciated in a number of locations all over NB.

    Nurture real entrepreneurship – not small business ownership – but guys/gals with a burning desire to grow something in New Brunswick and take it to the world. Olivier Soapary would be one. There are a few dozen more but not that many in the whole province. Identify them and find out what needs to be done (including getting out of the way) to help them achieve their dream.

    Cut back all the other small biz programs and work with the banks to get them to play the appropriate small biz financing role.

    Develop a compelling people attraction strategy (in-migration/immigration) tied directly to actually jobs in New Brunswick (i.e. 1,200 jobs at RIM in Halifax – attracting people for real jobs not hypothetical jobs).

    Giddy up.

  3. MonctonLandlord says:

    For anon: (regarding what to do).

    +++ sorry for this long blog, I am pulling a DC here +++

    Released on Sept 25, 2006, the Annual Report from NBIMC (N.B. Investment Management Corporation).

    DC has always said NBIMC should commit a percentage of the Public Service, Teachers and Judges pension funds in NB companies, I agree, where we differ, I think it should be whooping 5% of the $8 billion in assets (or $400Million). Afterall, like DC has said in the past, the citizens and buisnesses in this Province are the ones that have built-up this massive Pot of Gold. The least the fund can do is invest 5% (my opinion) in innovative companies in NB.

    For the GOOD NEWS! Such portfolio exits it is called the Atlantic Opportunities Private Equity Fund the current guidlines is an investment from $2-5Million, normally not to exceed $10M in one company. The portfolio is pegged at 1% of the assets. OF COURSE, THE BLOGGING BEGINS – with facts like DC wants:

    … from the Annual Report:

    Results versus Objectives:
    Upon the conclusion of our first decade of operations we thought it would be helpful to report and reflect against how the Corporation has succeeded against the objectives outlined in the New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation Act that created NBIMC.

    They are as follows:
    Section 4:
    The objects and purposes of the
    Corporation are

    a) to act as trustee for the funds referred to in subsection 14(1),
    b) to provide investment counseling services and other services in respect of the funds
    referred to in section 15,
    c) to promote the development of the financial services industry and capital markets in the Province, and
    d) to carry out such other activities or duties as may be authorized or required by this Act or the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may direct.
    We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made against each of these four objectives. Over the past ten years we have used this forum to report on our progress mainly against objective “a”,”b”, and “d”. This year we would also like to outline in more detail our progress versus objective “c”.

    Ok folks, the last sentence above… where is the data…

    … from the Financial Statements:

    New Brunswick and Atlantic
    Canada Equity Opportunity
    (from Public Service, p.38): $10.6M
    (from Teachers, p.39): $9.1M
    (from Judges, p.40): $0.67M
    Total: $20.3Million

    CONCLUSION:
    Earmarked for NB companies 1% (or $70M – in 2005-2006, ACTUAL investement was: $20.3Million!!!

    So, invested in NB Companies: less than 0.3% of the Assets, way below the 1% policy, and way way below than my proposed 5% policy!!!!

    What to do? – Hold them accountable, blogs is one way, action is another, I will be writing a letter to the President & CEO, and urge citizens to do the same. Copying the new Premier is always a great way to ensure someone doesn’t lose the letter!

    Source: http://www.nbimc.com/Files/2006/Report2005-2006Eng.pdf

    http://www.nbimc.com/Files/2006/FinancialStatements2005-2006Eng.pdf

    http://www.gnb.ca/cnb/news/imc/2006e1208im.htm

  4. Freddy Beach says:

    MonctonLandlord:

    I agree that the amount invested in NB should be much higher than it currently is. From where I sit however, as a private investor I find it very difficult to find NB companies to invest in. The larger (and thus seemingly) more stable companies in NB are mainly family owned private companies. There are other bright small companies that aren’t listed on the TSE or even the venture exchange to make it easy for me to buy equity in their companies.

    I can sink my retirement savings into NB Gov’t bonds but that won’t help grow NB companies to the extent that I would like to see.

    Maybe there is a large group out there that I am missing but from what I’ve read in Progress Magazine (July/August 06) :
    “Figures distributed by the New Brunswick Securities Commission state that there are almost 3400 listed companies in Canada, but only 52 of them, or less than 2% are based in Atlantic Canada – 34 in Nova Scotia, 12 in Newfoundland, 6 in New Brunswick and non on PEI.”

    If those figures are accurate perhaps subsidizing the process of getting companies listed is needed.

    Without a listing it is difficult to attract capital (foreign or domestic).

  5. Anonymous says:

    That is exactly the problem that I’ve mentioned numerous times. With virtually all of the companies in New Brunswick owned by families, there is no way to grow them IN THE WAY that taxpayers would like.

    In fact, taxpayers ARE growing them, look at the latest handouts to Irving and the monopoly protections granted McCains. These families lobby, and because they have so much wealth they literally run the province. Taxpayers DO invest in them, but they don’t get jobs, they get families who suck out millions, even billions.

    That’s reality. As said, there are precious few places to put money, so why bother? There are so few sectors that escape the hands of these families, that New Brunswickers are wise to get the hell out of the province and run their startups from Quebec and Ontario, and I know many who do.

    But more specifically, the above point misses a critical factor in that the 1% ‘requested’ was in fact in a piece of legislation offered up by the liberals last session. That would make it LAW. I think it died at the election, but since it was a liberal bill, people should blog and more importantly, write the premier telling him they remember this bill well.

    However, as for Davids points, I mentioned them before. Pissing away money on promotion of a place that has little to offer is a dead end I think. Again, to toot my horn, a New Brunswick television station could feature animation from Miramichi, and that would do more to showcase and grow talent than having lackeys all over the place saying “wouldn’t ya like to set up in NB, come now please?” Companies like to see initiative, and this province ain’t it.

    I read an article where a university of Waterloo group started an animation festival, that’s just one university in one city of not much more than Saint John. You can bet that as that grows, there will be talent watching their products. Because a television station or festival provides companies with what they want-research into audience reaction. That’s why Sudbury now has the fourth largest film festival in Canada now.

    That takes real initiative, and a look at Sudbury shows a lot of examples of that. The city has ten different festivals throughout the year. They had empty mines, just like New Brunswick does, and what did they do? They built it into a world class neutrino research station that was opened by Stephen Hawking.

    I was amused to go to ‘scienceeast’ after visiting ‘science north’ in Sudbury. An Imax theatre (is there even ONE in New Brunswick?) a butterfly conservatory and reams of science exhibits. Science east is an embarassment to anybody who has ever been to the former. And this in a province where science enrollment is declinging faster than its population.

    On my summer holiday I passed there heading west, and stopped in a hick town called Massey. Just another dying town on the trans canada. They were having a ‘sidewalk painting festival’ that had world renowned artists from all over the world working with locals to paint the sidewalks. No, its not going to turn the economy around, but it sure as hell makes life more enjoyable. Fredericton is still coasting on its one week of jazz and blues that it started more than a decade ago.