I just got back from listening to the Premier’s State of the Province address. I hadn’t gone to one of these things in several years. In fact, the last one I went to was held at the Sheraton and wasn’t even full. I think it was three or four years ago. This one was packed – someone said over 1,100 people.

The Premier bragged that as a result of his self-sufficiency plan, the province broke the longest string of population decline in New Brunswick since the Great Depression.

The Premier would be advised not to push this too hard. The formal estimate of the population did increase like he said but by only about 600 people (2006-2007). In addition, while no one knows the exact amount, one estimate I heard recently from a union guy was that there are between 4,000 and 8,000 people working in Alberta but that technically live in New Brunswick. In addition, the temporary construction workers are coming in from out of province to work on the infrastructure projects in SJ – and they won’t be here too long. All I am saying is that this is a fluid situation.

Second, Bernard Lord benefitted from something like 7 or 8k call centre jobs during his mandate. It is likely Graham will get no bounce like that.

The other thing of a general nature that I find funny is that Graham, like Lord before him, is promising 100 new doctors. Lord and Graham combined have hired something like 3,000 new health care workers in the past 8-9 years – on no population increase. Will someone please tell me how come we need 3,000 more health care workers when the population has actually declined? Both Lord and Graham are ‘transforming’ the health care system. At this rate, we will all have our own family doctor by 2026.

But overall, you have to like the guy’s enthusiasm. Like I said, the last one I went to was like a morgue. Graham got so exciting spewing forth the schpeel that I thought he was going to levitate. It was like a Penticostal preacher without the speaking in tongues thing (although the crowd didn’t quite get some of his French references).

I just think things are a little misaligned.

After 140 years of being at the arse end of Canada in terms of economic development (we have never achieved at least the national growth rate in population for a single Census period in 140 years), I don’t think that New Brunswickers are an overly optimistic lot. It’s bread in the bone. Most of the applause tonight was of the polite variety.

I do think that if Graham actually gets some results, then people might start getting excited. You plop down a 500 person, high paying aerospace plant in the Miramichi and they will start buying into your notion.

Graham talks about New Brunswick being the best place in Canada to be. Actually, that’s the new slogan “Be…. quelque chose”.

Maybe. But it will take more than words. Graham talks about “the most significant changes to the post-secondary system in 40 years” and then announces that UNBSJ and UdeM will stay as they are. He gutted the two main recommendations of the report (although I realize that these were highly controversial). What would he call ‘significant’?

He’s forecasting 25,000 to 30,000 new jobs over his first mandate (I think this was the number). But where would they come from? Imagine if a company said they were going to triple sales. Wouldn’t the stockholders want to know how?

I wish them well, I honestly do. I am now 18 years into my New Brunswick career and I don’t think much has changed in those 18 years. We are more in debt to the Equalization program. We still have upwards of 100,000 people on EI each year. We have moved from population growth to population decline. Certainly there are less people unemployed now than 18 years ago about that actually brings its own set of problems.

Let’s hope that next year’s SOTP will be a good START.

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0 Responses to SOTP

  1. Anonymous says:

    According to the B/U report, EI/UI reforms since the beginning of the decade did not appreciably affect the B/U ratio until after 1993, as the recession-induced increase in benefit eligibility and duration offset the policy changes made to the program in the early 1990s. Many of the EI/UI reforms introduced since 1990 were designed to reduce program costs and create incentives to establish stronger attachments to work. As such, these policy changes were designed to reduce the B/U ratio, at least in the short term, while reducing unemployment in the longer term. Throughout this period, three program reforms – modifications to the qualification requirement and to the benefit structure, and the imposition of a total disqualification for quitting a job without “just cause” or losing employment due to misconduct – are thought to have been significant contributors to the reduction in the number of regular beneficiaries.

    A. Qualification Requirements

    When Bill C-21 was implemented in 1990, the qualification requirement for regular benefits (except those for self-employed fishers) was increased from 10 to 14 weeks of insurable employment (depending on the region) to 10 to 20 weeks. All individuals residing in regions with an unemployment rate below 15% witnessed an increase in their qualification requirement. Qualification requirements were increased by one to five weeks of insurable employment in areas whose unemployment rate was more than 10% but not more than 15%, and by six weeks in all regions whose unemployment rate was below 10%.

    In 1994, Bill C-17 raised the minimum qualification requirement in the highest unemployment areas of the country from 10 to 12 weeks of insurable employment. In addition, the Unemployment Insurance Regulations were amended so as to impose the same qualification requirement (not qualifying period) on self-employed fishers as on regular claimants.

    Under the Employment Insurance Act, the most recent change to qualification requirements, the old weeks-based entrance requirement became hours-based (a 35-hour work-week was used to make this conversion). Under this change, the effective qualification requirement increased for those working fewer than 35 hours a week, and decreased for those working more than 35 hours per week. Although EI now extends coverage to the first hour of work, it has also significantly increased the qualification requirement for some part-time workers, particularly those who had qualified under the former program’s minimum insurability rules. New entrants and re-entrants are now required to obtain 910 hours of insurable employment, up 210 hours from the previous hourly equivalent of 700 hours (less under former minimum insurability rules).

    The new qualification provisions were introduced in two stages. During the latter half of 1996, new entrants and re-entrants were required to obtain six additional weeks of insurable employment in order to qualify for benefits and, as of January 1997, all claimants were subjected to the hours-based qualification requirement. According to the 1997 Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report, the number of new claims (excluding those defined under section 58(1) of the Act) declined by 12% (149,000) between the latter halves of 1995 and 1996 and by 18.6% (169,000) between the first halves of 1996 and 1997. It is interesting to note that claimants with 20 to 25 weeks of insurable employment made up almost one-half of the decline in new claims in the first of these periods and one-third of the decline in new claims in the second.(10) This is the claimant category most affected by the higher qualification requirement for new-entrants and re-entrants. In contrast to this, it seems that some new-entrants and re-entrants have been able to satisfy the new qualification requirement; the number of new claims among those with 26 to 30 weeks of insurable employment increased by 7.5% between the second halves of 1995 and 1996 and 3.5% between the first halves of 1996 and 1997. This is the only claimant category to have registered an increase in new claims during these periods.(11)

    As long as you understand it was playing with figures not getting more jobs.
    Quite difficult to fool the worker,who usually has no ability to fight back.Unless you include the fact someone like liar mckenna will never be elected anywhere again.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not your best day,eh?
    Did having your way paid affect your statistic studying ability?

    ONLY Ontario,and Quebec have greater than 100,000 people ever on EI,which combines to 277,000 persons.Compared to 29,000 new brunswickers.
    So I shall repeat what I told Alberta.
    “You could give every nber a poverty pension (14,000) with the money you give quebec,and have lots left over.
    Post my facts!as they more relevant

  3. Anonymous says:

    In fact,give us the number of persons in ontario and quebec,either
    Who are on EI
    Who are on work welfare
    Who are on compensation
    Who are on Disability stress leave.
    Who just chose not to work.(criminal activity)?
    Bet you hit 5 million.
    Eastereners feed the canadian real work force and we naturally expect to be compensated for it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    How can you be in dept to an equalization program?

    750,000 unemployed in Quebec and Ontario,but only 280,000 on EI?

    I need a real truthful economist to make sense of these figures

  5. Anonymous says:

    And as the 10th member of my extended family,
    a teacher,yesterday,received the offer of double her teaching salary ,in Mcmurray,where she will join her Husband,who works at double his dept of highways supervisor position formerly here in NB.
    Maybe too much emphasis placed on the paltry number of unemployed.
    and welfare cases in NB,which basically never changes,instead of the well educated and trades people,who are the ones leaving in plane loads.
    But I have always noticed,it good to have a dog around to beat.

    Certainly,in watching the well educated or well qualified workers leave to enhance the image of other parts of Canada(who dearly need enhancing out of the dark ages)nber’s should be working towards equalization payment increases for this great service to the new Canada,devoid of the destruction of forced language equality.

  6. David Campbell says:

    To my dear little drive by smear guy, there is a difference between the monthly EI recipient estimates and the total # of folks that collect EI during the course of the year. In 2005, over 107,000 people collected some portion of their income from the EI program in New Brunswick. This is the same as in 2000. So, while the unemployment rate has declined, the use of EI has remained about the same. Check your facts before leveling the smears.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My facts are government statistics,about important figures in Canada.
    If the yearly EI figures for NB is 7%,what has the fact different people were listed got to do with anything,except that the percentage of NB jobs were bout 35 % temporary,and the same number seasonal. I just hate to see a nice person like yourself,wasting time quoting figures that no matter how they vary have basically nothing to do with anything.
    Remember a million people left quebec,but things just kept getting better.
    I will drive by slower so you don’t get smeared.

  8. Anonymous says:

    And did you know,that the most important thing slowing NB,highspeed internet is to be accessible to EVERONE by end of year at a reasonable price,which eliminates Barrett explore.

  9. nbt says:

    In addition, while no one knows the exact amount, one estimate I heard recently from a union guy was that there are between 4,000 and 8,000 people working in Alberta but that technically live in New Brunswick.

    LOL! We are like Mexico of the north. The Alberta government should hire Lou Dobbs to go after these NB “pseudo illegals” so as to pressure them to either pay provincial taxes where they work or go back to where they came from.

  10. mikel says:

    Be fair, those certainly aren’t ‘drive by’ smears, the first post was a huge essay.

    There is a point though, don’t beat up on the unemployed, its not them who are dictating policy-but to be fair in this post there wasn’t really any beating up on the unemployed.

    But as mentioned above, NB is increasingly supplying much trained labour to places west and elsewhere-too bad we can’t get some equalization from China (well, I guess the cheap goods will have to do). NB is the Mexico of Canada, though there are also lots of mexicans, so by that ruler equalization should be MUCH higher. MUCH higher, so as stated, you can’t be ‘more in debt’ to equalization.

    But far more worrying than arguing statistics is that Graham has LESS going for him than Lord and you talk as if enthusiasm is a GOOD thing. In such a case wouldn’t that be symptomatic of delusion? Shouldn’t the guy be locked up in Campbellton?

    As for ‘best place to live’. Let’s get real. Virtually EVERY place in the world says that. Let’s have a list of exactly what it is that makes the province so desirable except maybe that ‘those who live there like it a lot’.

    My dad still lives there, always will but he’s visiting us here in ontario and said today that if he were 30 or 40 years younger he would never raise a family ‘here’. What’s the point? Your kids will almost certainly never find a decent job. Here in ontario its a real strange thing to talk to people ‘from around here’. There parents live a few blocks away, their siblings are nearby, and they help raise their kids.

    A maritimers family is typically spread across the globe, hell, if ‘we’ were a different colour we’d all be grouped in with the genocidal treatment of natives by the feds. We’d have the UN doing like it does with palestine and attacking Canada as imperialist destroyers of cultures. The difference is of course maritimers weren’t FORCED from the land, there is just nothing there for them so they meandered off on their own.

    So lets cut the delusional bullshit. At least Lord and crew said it like it is-why the hell would corporation x set up there? At least if Graham had some actual policies then we could say there was some method to his madness-but this is just madness. A good movie to watch is ‘the madness of king george’-‘the lunatics are running the asylum’ as they say, and you talk as if all that enthusiasm is wonderful-maybe next year we should all bring butterfly nets to the speech.

    Jingoism is one thing, but this is something else entirely. The only thing that makes any sense at all is that virtually all ED prospects rest on the IRvings, and things are getting so bad that they need the Premier as a cheerleader- Sure, don’t pay attention to the fact that millions of property tax are being lost to LNG terminals. Forget that energy projects, unlike virtually ANY new industry, not only are spurious economically, but now actually KILL people.

    Yes, lets dance and sing about how New Brunswick, with virtually the lowest indicators of any kind of social policy is ‘the best place in the world’. No, you DON”T have to appreciate the enthusiasm, you should be scared shitless that the main man at the wheel talks like a raving lunatic.

  11. Anonymous says:

    At the SOTP there were no less than 8 new task forces/commisions announced. Some were task forces as a result of task force reports. And when the reports are presented, if a few people protest, there will be another task force until we have a situation like forestry where there have been so many studies that the best help the task forces have provided is increasing the demand for paper (maybe that is the strategy).

    NB is in, and headed deeper,a crisis. We are falling behind other provinces like NFLD and Sask. PEI is kicking our ass and now NS is taking jobs away from us. We have a few opportunities in energy and mining but those should be baby steps towards turning this ship around. I am affraid that once these projects run their cousre, we will be no better off.

    Wait for the big tax announcements and/or program cuts to pay for the subsidized power, subsidized tuition rates, massive highway budget and further over capacity committed for post secondary education. Big time spending commitments and the money has to come from some place; get ready to reach deeper in your pocket.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Mikel said: “As for ‘best place to live’. Let’s get real. Virtually EVERY place in the world says that. Let’s have a list of exactly what it is that makes the province so desirable except maybe that ‘those who live there like it a lot’.

    The rivers are still fairly clean at least… One of the few places left on earth where you can still canoe and swim without much fear of mercury / e-coli contamination; where lynx still hunt and eagles still fly, and the concrete jungle gets ripped up every year in the frosts.

    Your (and my) participation in this forum indicates some level of attachment to the place, despite its current economic shackling – a sense of attachment that goes beyond the sort of fondness you hear from other émigrés about their native lands.

    Where are New Brunswick’s net profits going? If our business leaders are continued to allow to pillage the land at the expense of the people – the same groups who have radically altered the US economy (check out Maine, sometime – if you want to see depressing).

    When you centralize the private profit taking, socialize the risk and continue to escalate the global pyramid scheme that is our free-trade free-market corporate kleptocracy.

    How many white-teethed Mit-Romney characters are we going to allow to ride humanity down to a nub in order to swith from renting to owning the jet?

    I wonder what Irving thinks of Ron Paul’s stadings in Maine this year (1). That wouldn’t be good for their business interests now, would it?

  13. richard says:

    To use a hockey analogy, Graham and his ministers have been skating around at center ice to the applause of the crowd. If he really wants to do some positive things for NB then he has to go to the net.

    No one expects to be turned around over night, but we do need to see some signs of intelligent life in freddy beach. He has to push forward on the energy front – encourage the energy developments in SJ, including nuclear power; use that power to attract industry with large energy requirements that create high paying white collar jobs; push UNB into becoming a research university focussed on natural resource utilisation and value added products; and encourage community forestry with emphasis on value-added products.

    EI regs, on the other hand, have zero to do with the situation NB is in, and aren’t worth discussing.