Linking social and economic development

I heard on the radio this am a ‘social’ advocacy group in Saint John decrying any attempts by NB Power to ‘subsidize’ large power users on the backs of residential and small business users. While the fleeting glance at this makes some superficial sense, I don’t see how these guys can’t look below the surface on this stuff.

Where’s the mythical ‘grand bargain’ where social groups support successful economic development in return for the economic dividend of that growth being reinvested in poverty reduction and bettering social programs? I guess that is always a myth. When both economic and social groups can’t see beyond their own narrow ideology, it’s hard to get ahead. Maybe, just maybe, someday I will hear an anti-poverty group saying “we need more economic development”. Unlikely. That’s too bad. I just heard the other day that there are a record number of jobs in the Moncton area for folks with disabilities. The guy was telling me that their quality of life is up and many are feeling part of society in a way they haven’t for years – if ever.

Think deeper about this stuff, folks. Think deeper.

Hey, I read the Premier is finally going to announce funding for the convention centre. It’s about time. Monctonians have been asking for funding for at least eight years. Ooops. Actually the funding is for the Freddy convention centre – which became a priority project just a couple of years ago. There is a lesson in here somewhere.

Can anyone say deja vu? The Gleaner is quoting the Premier as saying the closure of mills and the resulting loss of hundreds of jobs was the biggest challenge he faced in 2007.

It wasn’t that long ago that the former Minister of BNB, Peter Mesheau was saying that the partial salvation of the Nackawic mill was his ‘greatest success’ as Minister.

To the Premier, I humbly say, facing a challenge is not the hard part. Addressing that challenge is. And we haven’t seen anything yet.

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0 Responses to Linking social and economic development

  1. Anonymous says:

    Cut federal funds for French, statistician urges
    ‘It’s money down the drain’ for those outside Quebec: professor

    Kate Jaimet, CanWest News Service
    Published: Friday, December 07, 2007

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    For the past decade, statistician Charles Castonguay has been predicting the demise of francophone communities outside Quebec.

    Now, with census data showing a continuing slide in native French-speakers outside Quebec, he says it’s time to cut off federal government life-support to the shrinking francophone outposts.

    “It ‘s money down the drain,” said Mr. Castonguay, an adjunct professor of mathematics and statistics at the University of Ottawa. “Not in Ottawa, not in [eastern] Ontario or New Brunswick, but outside of those areas, the strength of English is just overwhelming.”

    But the head of the organization that represents minority francophones says the government should increase its commitment, putting billions of dollars into bolstering French outside of Quebec.

    “I hope that the census data sends a very clear signal to the government that we have to act, that we have to really have concrete investments, on the ground, if we want to make a difference,” said Lise Routhier-Boudreau, president of the Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada.

    The 2006 census information released this week by Statistics Canada show that the number of people who speak mainly French at home declined between 2001 and 2006 in all anglophone provinces from Saskatchewan to Newfoundland.

    In Newfoundland, the number of French speakers plummeted by 27%, followed by 12% in Saskatchewan, 10% in Nova Scotia, and smaller declines in Ontario, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Manitoba.

    Even in Alberta, where the number of French speakers grew, that increase of 3.3% did not keep pace with the province’s overall 11% population growth between 2001 and 2006.

    Similarly, the number of people who registered French as their mother tongue sank by 13% in Newfoundland, 10% in Saskatchewan, and also declined in P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba. Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia posted modest gains in the number of native francophones, but none kept pace with the overall population increase in those provinces.

    In Newfoundland, there were only 25 babies up to the age of four whose mother tongue was registered as French on the 2006 census.

    “There are places where it’s almost catastrophic,” Ms. Routhier-Boudreau said.

    The statistics also show that, as they reach adulthood, francophones in all provinces outside of Quebec continue to switch over to living their lives mainly in English.

    Looking at the critical age group between 20 and 34 — when people typically get married and establish families — there are 158,350 francophones outside of Quebec. But only 63% of them use French as their main language at home.

    People who said they used both English and French, or French and another language at home, are not included in this figure.

    The assimilation picture is rosiest for francophones in New Brunswick, where 92% of francophones aged 20-34 continue to speak French at home.

    Things are bleakest in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, where more than half of native francophones aged 20-34 no longer speak French as their main home language.

    Close

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  2. David Campbell says:

    I didn’t want to discuss this because I fundamentally don’t agree with Mr. Castonguay. We don’t use a lot of math in Camrose, Alberta so why not cut the funding for math programs? I believe that the French language should be promoted across Canada – in a reasoned and rational way. I note the comment about New Brunswick in this story which is encouraging.

  3. mikel says:

    Theres a reason that its ‘mythical’. While the paper only talked with ONE guy who may think ‘things are pretty good’ thats far from the case and says a lot more about New Brunswick than people suspect.

    Where exactly is all this ‘quality of life’. Its not in transportation, Canada lags way behind even some third world countrys in its transportation for handicapped people. Groups all across canada have griped for years that physically handicapped people in Canada face tougher conditions than just about any industrial country and even some non industrial ones.

    So that NB, which lags behind the country on most services is ‘leading the way’ makes me a bit suspicious. Either this guy doesn’t actually represent who he thinks he does, or else the ‘standard of living’ remark was just to compare to, say, the fifties or something or is just talking about how malls are easily accessible.

    So in a province with two of the richest families in the world, where the richest 10% are the richest in Canada, and where social services rank near the bottom of the canadian pile, you SHOULD be able to see why social groups aren’t clamouring about economic development. The ‘quid pro quo’ has never surfaced in the past-why expect it for the future?

    Again, THEIR fight is not yours, don’t expect other groups to pick up your gauntlet and run with it. They, and the poor, have far different interests than your hypothetical ones. It’s fine to look around at other groups and say ‘why aren’t they talking about what I’m talking about’, its another thing to think they should be your lobbyist.

    However, I suspect if you talk to them you’ll find some common ground, although perhaps not jobwise-they know they will have a hard time getting jobs and they know the reality is that money comes from the feds. IF there were some measures in there for their interests, then you’d see common ground. I don’t know that anybody has ever looked.