I’m a pretty mellow guy but one thing that grinds my gears is when Ontario-based experts equate Northern Ontario and New Brunswick. This includes Mr. Ignatieff who made the same off-handed point one time while in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick is a province, it is not a small part of a large province. New Brunswick is not ‘rural Canada’. It has urban centres – small urbans to be sure – but all the features of urbanity – universities, hospitals, airports, etc. It is wrong – even for Toronto-based gurus - to say New Brunswick is rural Canada.
Not all of New Brunswick has trouble retaining talent. Again, another broad sweep based on the definition that New Brunswick=Rural. Certain parts of New Brunswick and certain industries are having trouble but I wonder if the Toronto-based guru realizes that from 2001 to 2006 there was a positive net-migration from Toronto to Moncton. Take a look. 675 people were living in Moncton in 2006 that were living in Toronto in 2001. 445 people were living in Toronto in 2006 that were living in Moncton in 2001. Oops. Maybe Toronto has a brain-drain problem – at least to Moncton it does.
I’m sure this guy is well intentioned. New Brunswick isn’t on his radar so he is plucking concepts from other locations and trying to tweak them for relevance here. Fine. Hope the lobster was good.
What we really need out of these gurus is ideas on how small urbans can compete, how provinces (not small regions within provinces) can build the kind of policies that support attracting investment into targeted industries. Ultimately that is the source of my discomfort with the New Brunswick=Northern Ontario analogy. New Brunswick has the fiscal and policy making capacity to do things that make it distinct from the Gaspe or Northern Ontario or rural BC or all of the other places Iggy thinks looks like New Brunswick.