Sunday night, feeling old & tired

I just got done listening to a little bit of Cross Country Checkup on CBC. Rex is in Newfoundland and the program is on out-migration from – essentially the Atl. Provinces to central and western Canada.

I just had to turn it off. I really did. I am getting either fatigued or cynical about all the crap floating around these days. We get guilt ridden editorials in the Toronto Star. National call in shows like Rex’s. Local columnists issuing dire warnings.


New Brunswick has had 14 straight years of net out-migration – more moving out than in. Now it makes the national news? Newfoundland has been bleeding population for years – now it might be an issue of interest?

Let me tell you (or remind you) what’s different about this little round of liberal, central Canadian guilt at the decline of Atlantic Canada. In the 1990s Ontario (post Rae) went through an unprecedented economic growth. Jobs were everywhere. But the government didn’t spend one red cent trying to ‘recruit’ Atlantic Canadians into Ontario. Sure many Maritimers left – but in fact the net out-migration to Ontario was very limited and in fact places like Halifax and Moncton actually had net in-migration from Ontario during the 1990s. Check it out.

But did that matter to Ontario? Not in the least. 10,000 immigrants were landing in Ontario a week – do you think anybody gave a crap about attracting whiny Maritimers who would spend the first ten years of their life in Ontario pining for the shores of the Bay of Fundy?

When unemployment in the Maritimes was at 15%, Ontario made no effort to formally recruit Maritimers. Now when we are closing in on full employment in the Maritimes, Western Canadian governments are spending oodles of dough to skim off the best and brightest of our workforce.

What’s changed? You tell me. Maybe they don’t want as many immigrants (there was a study that insinuated that Maritimers were easier to integrate than immigrants). Maybe they like Maritimer work ethic again (I was in Red Deer in the late 1990s and I was practically told that they ‘do things different out here’ – assuming I would want to work my 20 weeks and go on EI). Maybe this is some payback on McKenna for stealing all the call centre jobs in the 1990s. You took our jobs, now we’ll take your people.

Whatever, it doesn’t matter. The truth is that the lack of interest by guys like Bernard Lord in trying to build a strong economy has led to this. If we had been attracting RIM, Toyota, Ubisoft, etc. over the past 10 years, we would be the ones spending money to attract people back to the province. We would be the ones putting serious immigration strategies in place.

Now, who knows?

Project this out ten years and it doesn’t look pretty.

Why am I cranky? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I just spent 20 minutes trying to console my mother after she packed up her son and family and they moved to Nevada.

Now that they are gone, I can tell this story. I couldn’t before because he was known. My brother ran River Rehabilitation Services in Miramichi for over a decade. It was a successful practice for most of that time. He set up a satellite clinic in Doaktown a few years ago and almost immediately after doing this, the government came in and plunked down a competing service. When my brother wrote a letter to BNB Minister Mesheau, he was told (in a letter) to stop complaining. From that day one, my brother, the devout Tory to the end, decided to leave and now he has gone. In addition to the nasty letter from Mesheau, he also worried about the mill closure and was getting frustrated trying to rehabilitate many people who didn’t want to be rehabilitated.

I came across this definition for the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah:

The wailing prophet, famous for his hard luck stories, groans, lamentations and evil prophecies.

I’m getting a little tired of wailing, to tell you the truth.

I think I’ll migrate this blog into another needed one about celebrity gossip.

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0 Responses to Sunday night, feeling old & tired

  1. scott says:

    Sure many Maritimers left – but in fact the net out-migration to Ontario was very limited and in fact places like Halifax and Moncton actually had net in-migration from Ontario during the 1990s. Check it out.

    I did a study at university on this very subject matter. We found that this is very much the case, in that, ppl who did chose to return to the maritimes chose Halifax as their re-entry point. We also found that individuals who were born and raised in smaller cities like Woodstock, Truro, Stephenville, Summerside, etc. were more apt to migrate back to Halifax while those who were born and raised in Bathurst, Shediac, Shippigan were more apt to return to Moncton. The overall conclusion was that there was a migratory pattern based on language and culture.

    Though it wasn’t a part of my study, I also reached the conclusion that New Brunswick (especially Moncton) has to look at this issue more closely if they are to retain more of their educated anglophones and create more opportunities for incoming anglophones. Whether you like it or not, the language issue is hurting Moncton’s overall economic growth as a majority of provinces and states in North America, outside NB, are english speaking. So in other words, making it more difficult rather than much easier for your potential labour market, which you need to rely on, is simply self-defeating to say the least.

    Not to mention, we have to look more at creating more links between urban, urban fringe and rural regions of the province. I’m sure you would agree with creating an infrastructure that would satisfy this notion, especially since those who are returning from an urban area would possibly like to live in a quiet rural setting [Sackville, Petitcodiac, Salisbury, etc.] while working in a bustling yet clean and safe urban environment [Moncton].

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why not have the work in Shediac? Who wants to drive that? As for the blog, buck up, as they say ‘better late than never’.

  3. scott says:

    Why not have the work in Shediac?

    I agree anon, we should have a good balance of both going on. For instance, Moneris solutions is a great example of a company moving its operation from Toronto to Sackville, NB. You know that many who chose to make the transition from TO [as senior management] were originally maritimers. Relocating and investing in New Brunswick was a great move for this company and a huge boost to a crumbling manufacturing town like Sackville. Rumour has it that there are a few more projects of that nature in the works for the town. Maybe someone [municipally] is finally taking the advice of the man on this blog. If that isn’t a reason to keep up the fight David, than I don’t know what would be.

    Don’t worry though, they’re still a few startups, an ethanol plant, a wind farm and a transit system to Moncton away from satisfying my innate scepticism. lol

  4. MonctonLandlord says:

    How come I have to stumble on this article on google? Why did this article not make the 6pm news?

    Where is the application form for a $500M TPC loan to bring Big Pharma to Moncton?

  5. David Campbell says:

    Monctonlandlord, you are just too quick for me. I have Moncton set up as a Google News Alert and report such stories here. As for the 6 pm news, I think they did a small report on the KPMG study when it came out in the spring but I agree with you – when it makes an industry publication such as this, somebody should try and leverage it.