Wanna know who’s going to win the election?

Well, if your a Tory, the Sorry Centrist thinks you are going to win by a landslide 39 seats to 16. If you are a Liberal, NB Politico thinks you will win by 7 seats over the Tories. If you are Jacques Poitras, you feel vindicated about the absolute mess of a poll served up by the classy folks at Bristol.

If you trust the CRA numbers infinitely more than the Bristol/Al Hogan poll, then tomorrow’s poll release will be watched much more closely.

If you monitor the local news media (as I do), the edge has to go to Premier Lord. He is called the frontrunner, the ‘analysts’ Desserud and Bateman are quite supportive and most of the language leans Tory.

As I predicted, economy-related issues are a non-starter. Oh, there have been numerous stories – mostly in the TJ – about the decline in tourism; the serious shortages of staff in the call centre sector, the IT industry problems, the forestry industry problems, etc. There have been ‘warnings’ from the Enterprise Network, the NB Biz Council, the Tourism Association, etc. but nary a bit of secondary commentary/editorial that would take the story to the next level of analysis and exposure to the public discourse.

Even the dreaded auto insurance that Robert Jones poured his heart and soul into – isn’t really gaining much traction. Sorry, Robert.

No, the timing of the Tories on this was impeccable. As long as the polls numbers were down, Lord was a ‘fixed election date’ guy. Then the CRA poll came out, confirming their internals, showing Lord with a lead and boom, he’s a ‘election when it makes sense’ guy.

Throw in a good news budget, a steady stream of issue numbing announcements like the HST rebate on electricity and the best time to go the polls when people are just back in school, work, etc. and not inclined to think about politics – and you’ve got a really good mix.

I stand in awe of the political spin machine that could convince us all that things are great in New Brunswick and that the government deserves a third term.

They have had two terms to deal with the economy and haven’t.

They have had two terms to deal with the worst health and education outcomes in the country – and they haven’t.

They have had two terms to deal with depopulation and they haven’t.

They’ve had two terms to deal with the lack of R&D and innovation in New Brunswick and they haven’t.

They’ve had two terms to try and reduce our reliance on Equalization and they haven’t.

They’ve had two terms to try and engender a sense of pride and optimism among people about our shared future and they haven’t.

According to the year end poll done by CRA there’s more lethargy about this government than most likely any NB government in history. A vast majority of us can’t even name one thing that Lord has done of any consequence.

And yet pervailing wisdom is that he’s going to get back in for another kick at the can.

Maybe Lord is a metaphor for New Brunswick. Maybe mediocrity and disinterest couple with just the right amount of denial is a definition of the collective we call New Brunswick.

There’s an old saying that “you get the government you deserve”.

Sounds about right, no?

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0 Responses to Wanna know who’s going to win the election?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Don’t say that til AFTER the election. Keep in mind that the one thing missing in the election has been …people. Don’t think for a minute that people don’t know whats going on. Even those I’ve spoke to who don’t hate Lord talk about ‘time for change’. The New Brunswick population has always had a way of surprising people, partly because the media has its own agenda and really isn’t interested in objectively talking to people. It is quite easy to do a poll really, and if you hire enough people, its easy to make it count.

  2. anotherdaymaybe says:

    “Time for a change” GREAT IDEA but one little problem,the rest of your family are infected,so ,change to what!

    Canadian Press

    QUEBEC — The federal Liberals have almost no credibility left with the Canadian public and will have to arm themselves with an exhaustive code of conduct in order to regain that trust, says a report by a panel of ethicists.

    The Liberals will also have to take steps to ensure ethical behaviour among their candidates, parliamentarians and employees, says the report commissioned by the party.

    “The Liberal party must bring order to its own affairs if it wants the public to one day confer another mandate to govern,” concluded the panel which included Michael Bloomfield, a Victoria-based biologist and ethicist, and Penny Collenette, spouse of former Liberal minister David Collenette.

    “Many estimate that, on just about every issue, the party has absolutely no credibility in the eyes of the public,” said the recently released report, a frank analysis of the Liberals’ behaviour during the federal sponsorship scandal.

    “Members really wonder whether it’s plausible that a minister didn’t know anything about a major scandal happening in his province while he was (minister responsible) for that province,” said the report, referring to former Quebec minister Alphonso Gagliano.

    Liberal scandals have given rise to cynicism among the public when it comes to politics, the panel found.

    “During the commission (of Judge John) Gomery, no minister or bureaucrat took responsibility with regard to the program or its failures,” said the report.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a familiar voice above, but I suspect the above isn’t in New Brunswick. You don’t get much further from the Gomery Report than the New Brunswick Provincial Liberals. The ‘scandal’ was of course massive federal dollars brought into Quebec after the referendum, ask any New Brunswicker and they’ll tell you we’d LOVE that sort of scandal to happen in New Brunswick!

    For ‘scandals’, right now its the tories who are in power and that’s where the scandals are. You need look no further than the speaker of the house, orimulsion, the toll highway, the VLT referendum, expropriation of land, massive violations of human rights and on and on. If its scandals people are thinking of, it isn’t federal ones.

  4. Frank Power says:

    The issues you raise have been problems for NB for a lot longer than the current administration. Economy, education, healthcare and R&D are all topics that get hashed around during every election, with the predictable results afterwards – little or no action on any of them. Out migration is a new issue and one that will magnify all the others, as the tax base erodes and the demands for other gov’t services increases (i.e. aging pop. and healthcare). Unfortunately, the solutions lie in implementing policies that no one is interesting in seeing. A quick example is healthcare – There is a mountain of data that shows that the current public system is broke beyond repair yet any hint of privatization is met with scorn and ridicule. Education – My understanding is that schools populations in NB are on the decline. Why are more teachers being put in the classroom. Why not take that money and provide the support and other resources needed to get to national standards. Answer – It is good politics to say more teachers are going into the classroom. Both parties are promising that.

    People have to understand that the reality of government and the economy is that government’s play supporting roles in an economy through fiscal and/or monetary measures. Governments do not create jobs. They create an environment where business can succeed and therefore hire people. The goal of any govt’ is to provide the conditions necessary for an economy to be successful. A provincial government has no impact on monetary policy. Its main weapon is fiscal policy. My understanding is that the current gov’t has lowered both corporate and personal income taxes in the past term. These measures are geared at supporting small and large businesses. Changes in fiscal policy take time to work through the economy. Results of lowers taxes this year may take several to have an impact. The underlying issue that NB has always struggled with is an economy with no solid foundation. By that I mean there is no oil or gas, large manufacturing sector or other mainstay of the economy. There is a collection of primarily small to medium size businesses that form the majority of employment in NB

    There is no magic bullet here. Gains in NB will be incremental at best. It is a small province with a limited tax base and heavy dependence on the Feds. Unfortunate but true.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The ones to watch are the undecideds. I think you will find that they will be the ones to bring down the Lord government.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just for anybody who may not know any better, the second above point is absurd. Governments obviously create jobs, in fact as this blog shows it is ONLY the government that is creating jobs.

    There is ZERO evidence that our health care is ‘broke beyond repair’. In fact, until the massive budget cuts of the liberals, Canada’s health care was deemed best in the world. As more money flows into it, the better it gets. How a poor province is supposed to improve based on private healthcare is beyond me. Just take a look at dental care, how well off are canadians with private dental care? The majority can’t afford most of its services, while industry has had to pony up serious dough to cover necessary services. If you don’t have a private insurance plan, you’re just plain screwed. And most plans are far from generous which results in people still having to pay a good percentage of dental care, which is money that could go elsewhere. The only ones who benefit, of course, are the dentists, who are doing VERY well.

    For education, that’s somewhat illogical as anybody will tell you that having smaller class sizes is HOW you get up to national standards. New Brunswick’s schools have the highest number of students in Canada, thats why more teachers are hired. This has been proven to be the case, twenty years ago Vermont had illiteracy rates similar to NB’s, it made massive investments in education and now has only 10 students per class and its illiteracy rate has plummeted to one quarter the level of NB’s.

    New Brunswick’s tax rates have been lower than the national average for over twenty years, yet foreign investment has DECREASED. A recent study out of the University of Maine shows that taxes are only a minor part of a company’s needs, and far more important is an educated workforce.

    In fact, the same is true of Canada, as the tax rates have lowered, so has direct foreign investment, and this has been shown since 1993, so it hardly ‘needs time to work through’.

    The pessimistic notion of the economy is also completely wrong. Switzerland is a country with no natural resources whatsoever yet it has a far higher standard of living and its economy is far more stable and growing faster. The same is true of Japan. In fact, resources account for a tiny minority of jobs, and far less activity than services, even less in exports (in most places).

    For an example closer to home you can look again at Vermont, which has no ‘major industry’ and few large manufacturers. In fact, the state’s exports are roughly one quarter of what New Brunswick exports. Yet that state has full employment, with a higher standard of living.

  7. Frank Power says:

    So anonymous – You say only governments create jobs. Please explain how and what they do as the sole creator of jobs? I do not work for the government. I do not recall the government recruiting me for the job that I do. I was just looking at career beacon and most of the want ads were from the private sector. What did the Government have to do with these? Business creates jobs. Not the government. As I highlighted, governments create an environment conducive to job creation.

    You say healthcare is in good shape. Do you know any of the thousands of NBers that do not have a family doctor? Are you aware of the 2 to 3 year waiting lists that exist for surgery? The complete lack of beds in senior care? And on and on. Your comparison to dental care is laughable. How long do people have to wait to see a Dentist? How many people can’t find a dentist? How many dentists are refusing new patients? The answers in order are 0, 0 & 0.

    Our healthcare system was built on borrowed dollars. Track the growth of healthcare spending to debt throughout the 70’s, 80’s and into the early 90’s. They are straight line together – up. Interesting to note your comment on healthcare spending being cut under the Liberals. Is that the same liberal gov’t that balanced the budget in the mid 90’s? Curious how the timing of balancing the budget and reducing healthcare spending coincide. Fact is we have never been able to afford universal medicare. No gov’t has had the courage to admit it. Study after study supports a mixed public/private system. Look into Sweden and other Nordic countries. These countries have very successful mixed systems.

    Enrollment in NB schools has been declining for several years and is projected to continue to decline. If there are fewer students why do we need more teachers?

    Per capita income in Vermont is $33K. In NB it is $31.5K. Unemployment in Saint John. Fredericton and Moncton is comparable to Vermont. Low. You use Japan and Switzerland as comparable economies. Lets see – Japan has a world class manufacturing sector (do you drive a car/own a stereo or use a computer? If so you might recognize some familar names). Switzerland had one of the largest financial service sectors in the entire world. Last I checked there were not a lot of cars (since the Bricklin) being built in NB and I do not recall any many multi national banks being headquartered in the province.

    The point I was making was that NB needs to find its own economic niche. McKenna made strides with Information Tech and call centers. These have to be taken to another level. It cannot be completely on the Gov’t shoulders to do this. The private sector has to be there as well. Until this happens – As has been clearly highlighted on this blog – The province will remain very dependant on transfers from Ottawa and will be for the near to medium term. Regardless of the political stripes running the province. Imagine the state of NB without Equalization?

  8. Anonymous says:

    THe tories have just announced they are hiring 500 teachers, count up all the jobs at careerbeacon and see how close that gets. Then add up all the nurses, doctors as well as public administrators. Read the past blogs here and you’ll see the statistics, virtually the only job creation has been by government by an overwhelming scale. That certainly doesn’t mean everybody works for government, nobody said that.

    As for family docs, they are already paid per patient by the government, so ‘private docs’ essentially means they bill patients, not the government. That means people will still be without a doctor-they’ll just be poor people.

    There are very few surgeries that have a 2-3 year wait, you’ll have to prove that. Waiting times for most surgeries have been falling because the government has been on a hiring spree for specialities.

    In fact, we can easily afford universal healthcare and the fact that it exists proves it. The federal government has been showing a surplus, yet here we are still with healthcare.

    Actually, go back and check your figures. The massive national debt is almost completely due to rising interest rates, NOT to increased government spending.

    As for teachers, reread the post above.

    Per capita income is one thing, but then take a look at taxes and rents. Vermonts prices are nowhere near New Brunswicks.

    The japanese build more than cars, and do more than cars. But you just made my point. The swiss are financiers, thats a service. Services are worth more than resources, so what does New Brunswick having resources mean? Nada. You build your service sector, but for that you need educated people.

    Nobody is disputing the final points, although they could. NB needs to build…so saying that “gains will be incremental at best” is completely wrong. It all depends on the governments choices.

    Ironically, if NB could get Malcolm Bricklin back and make another deal, it would be far more successful. He is bringing in chinese cars and they need to be manufactured in North America. So ‘being japanese’ is an option that is always open, just like being a switzerland is.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Moncton and St.Johns unemployment is twice Vermonts. And just because NB centralizes industry doesn’t mean they have to, so you have to compare the entire province, not just bits of it.