I have said elsewhere in this blog that the current government in New Brunswick is highly tuned to the opinions found in the province’s media outlets. We have seen them over the past five years adjust their strategies based on the griping and complaining found between the pages of the three major English language and one major French language newspapers.
Despite a continuing population decline, the closure of major rural employers and the continuing overall economic challenges facing the province, there was almost no mention of economic development by the Premier at the Conservative annual meeting last weekend. All of the newspapers reported on and rendered opinions on this event. In all cases, none of the newspapers even questioned the lack of focus on the economy. None raised the 18% unemployment rate in the Acadian Peninsula. None discussed the closure of major anchor employers in Nackawic, Miramichi, Campbellton and Sussex. None discussed the continuing challenges faced by Saint John.
Although I sound like a broken record, I will continue to say that the newspapers in this province have to step up and take on the role of champion for the economy. They have said almost nothing about the current Premiers record on economic development. They have not once, that I can remember, asked where we stand in the 10 year Provincial Prosperity Plan. If they had bothered to check, we are slipping against all of the economic goals set in that document.