The BC Progress Board

I know I have posted the link to this organization at least 3-4 times in the past four years but it is well worth posting again for new readers of the blog. The BC Progress Board is an excellent example of a government funded but independent organization set up to report on the progress of the province against a predetermined set of benchmarks. It is non-partisan and the metrics don’t change from year to year (although they do delve into specific topics every year). Click on
the link to have a look at their reporting. You will see that a number of the metrics include New Brunswick and that we are at or near the bottom of the list for virtually all of them.

New Brunswick ranks 60th in GDP per capita; 57th in Real Personal Disposable Income, per capita; 49th in R&D Expenditures, percent of GDP (2nd worst in Canada).

On the plus side:

5th for Personal and Property Crime Rate, per 100,000 population.

I have said repeatedly that New Brunswick needs this kind of independent outside annual review. When this is done internally, the temptation is overwhelming to politicize it. Consider old Jeannot Volpe’s Report Card to New Brunswickers. This thing was send to 250000 households at a cost of what must have been at least a couple of million dollars and it was the biggest piece of propaganda since the case was made to invade Iraq. It was unbelieveable. Statistics were combed over and cherry picked and then sanitized to a fine political hue.

I have no problem when political parties issue such crap to defend their record but when it comes from the Department of Finance – it almost becomes unseemly. People expect accurate information coming out of official government sources – and that has become almost farcical in New Brunswick these days.

So, I hope that the provincial government ultimately will do this – set up a similar model in New Brunswick. Sure, initially, we will be at or near the bottom on almost all metrics but look at the bright side – there is nowhere to go but up.

And I’ll end on a positive note. You will see that PEI tends to rank even lower than New Brunswick on a number of statistics but I saw in the report that in the last 10 years PEI has had the biggest improvement in the area of R&D spending. That is proof that a last place province can turn things around – it takes time folks – if it puts its mind to it.

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0 Responses to The BC Progress Board

  1. David Campbell says:

    By the way, I took a more detailed look and there are a few areas where NB has fared quite well over the past 10 years. Have a look.

  2. miikel says:

    I can guess the places where it ‘fared well':) However, isn’t your ‘liberal bias’ showing? Why create a bureaucracy to produce a report that British Columbia has already produced FOR you. Didn’t you say New Brunswick is listed in all the metrics?

    So the REAL problem appears to be what is your secondary aim of the blog-namely, the lack of media attention on the facts. Whether BC produced the report or a NB group, the info is the same. The problem is that nobody hears about it, which could (would?) also be the case if it were done in NB.

    So, a couple of questions, issues, come to mind. First, YOU have a column in the TJ. Have they actually TOLD you NOT to write stuff like this in your article? How much editorial pressure are you under? A column wouldn’t necessarily have to be a bash on the media, just reporting the report card, or even, as you state, setting up such a group in NB.

    Keep in mind also that there IS a far more responsive media in NB-namely the CBC. Over at Spinks’ blog in the past he’s had success in getting them to respond to silly editorial things, so perhaps this kind of stuff is simply unknown to them because of cutbacks. Don’t ASSUME media knows this stuff.

    And finally, a far more detailed discussion, even a series, could be done on your podcast-come to think of it, where IS that podcast? It still isn’t available through itunes store, and old podcasts can’t even be found without scrolling back and back and back. Even having a single page where they are all listed would be a help.

    So that would do SOMETHING to get that information ‘out there’. It doesn’t deal with the central problem of the media ignoring such things, but remember, YOU are media now (mainstream media even).

  3. David Campbell says:

    Hey, how come you doubled the ii in your name?

  4. miiikel says:

    Whaddya mean?

  5. Anonymous says:

    And some areas not so well,even with that great job maker, a great bilingual workfarce.

    MONCTON – The Chrysler LLC parts distribution centre (formerly Daimler Chrysler Canada Inc.) in Moncton, loacated at 615 St. George Blvd., has announced it will close, effective Nov. 30.

    “In our continued strategy to review all opportunities for operational efficiency and in order to remain globally competitive, Mopar (Chrysler LLC’s original equipment parts manufacturer and distributor) has made the difficult decision to close the Moncton parts distribution centre,” said Mary Gauthier, senior manager of corporate communication for Chrysler Canada, in a prepared statement.

    As two separate entities, Gauthier said the Moncton Chrysler dealership on Mountain Road will not be impacted by the closure.

    Information isn’t yet available on how many employees will lose work as a result of the closure.

    “The employees were just notified. We like to share information with employees first. When we have more details we’ll be happy to share them,” she said.

    The Chrysler facility is the last of four industry facilities to leave St. George Boulevard, as Goodyear, GM and Firestone have all formerly had operations centres in the area.

    The corporate communications manager says Chrysler is reviewing operations throughout the company and the company announced some closures last week in America.

    “We’re reviewing all operations throughout our global operations for all kinds of efficiencies, so this is not Moncton specific,” she said.

  6. Anonymous says:

    NB is a place of bilingual(french) secure government and subsiduary jobs.

    English regular NBer’s are mostly working at seasonal jobs and needed and depended on a good UI program.
    Doug Young and his liberals ,who were drawing a millionaires salary for doing nothing,could not take seasonal workers helped by UI,so made it useless.
    Result was ,layoff,UI run out in 12 weeks.Leave the area!
    Now the Economist can explain the rest.
    Is it why the liberals are now offering to return to a program that maintained a workforce?
    Remember,you may hold the reigns of the horse,but the horse is the real boss.

  7. mikel says:

    I just type too fast and put too many i’s in there (the second comment wasn’t mine).

    For the above comment, EVERY govenrment functions with the aim of maintaining a workforce. That is especially true of NB, but most provinces, even countries, are essentially the same in that regard, and bilingualism has ZERO to do with it. Some countries have more political tools to combat those government policies, but Canada has very few.

    The chrysler info is interesting, but that is going on at auto factories all over Canada. A recent report says ontario will lose over 5 million jobs over the next five years.

    I read up on the Goderich deal, and it works against David’s main theme. In the 1990’s there was Champion Road Company, which was then bought by Volvo. Now the company is shutting it down and doing the work at its pennsylvania plants.

    Automaking is where the real deal is nowadays, and the comments about creativity are very apt. For example, laws AGAINST slow moving vehicles seriously impedes new electric car development. Heck, I can buy a golf cart and outfit it with a heater and winter tires and try to sell it as an ‘alternative vehicle’, but the law prohibits it. but electric vehicles can be cheap to make.

    In ontario there is ample evidence now that automakers-who are the job makers, pretty much control this and ‘creativity’ is out the window. However, no such industry (except Irving I guess) holds such clout in NB. Electric vehicles are butthead easy to make and those are the types of investment that are at least possible for a small province like NB. As you see from the chrysler example, even if the province COULD pony up that kind of dough in subsidies, its not necessarily a good thing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    A Toronto-based company, ZENN Motors, has taken the lead in the production of electric cars. Don’t believe me? If you too thought the dream of the electric car was dead after watching the excellent (albeit depressing) documentary Who Killer the Electric Car it’s time to think different. I took the above photo of the ZENN earlier today outside the Isabel Bader Theatre while attending the ideaCity 2007 conference. This is the real deal friends. The car is slick and I want one. It seemed that everyone else who saw the car today wants one too.

    The problem, however, is that we can’t buy one. Although the car is now available for sale in 48 US States, no Canadian government has approved it for sale in Canada. In fact, Queens Park refused to even entertain the idea until Al Gore cornered Dalton McGuinty earlier this year and insisted that he make it happen.

    You must love me feeding you the information happening in the present.

    Yes,and read a few books on like the old RCMP,and catch the unmentionable mention of what and when the force and society started down the drain.You may see the word trudeau,etc.
    There is an old chinese saying,”it was the best of times,It was the worst of times”!
    I know I have seen the best of times?