I watch with fascination as the Times & Transcript continues to prop up the obviously weak economic development policies of the provincial government. Today’s headline – N.B. job rate tops in Canada – is an incredible example of that. It is true that the province had fairly good job growth in 2004 – mostly because we had such a bad year in 2003 and this was a make up year. At the end of 2003, when New Brunswick had the worst employment growth rate in Canada (oops, the employment actually declined), the Times & Transcript quoted a Provincial government Minister saying something to the effect that we are pleased with the performance of the economy given SARs, Mad Cow, etc – the paper interesting forgot to mention we had the worst employment growth/deline in Canada.
Fast forward a year and the headline – N.B. job rate tops in Canada – is followed by quote by the Premier saying “our policies are working and now is not the time to change that when we are clearly on the right track.” Now, neither the Times & Transcript or the Premier want to mention the fact that New Brunswick has one of the worst job creation records in Canada since 1999. From December 1999 to December 2004, total job growth was less than 6% in New Brunswick compared to 11% on PEI and 8% in lowly Nova Scotia. Nationally, employment growth has been over 45% faster than New Brunswick.
The Times & Transcript’s chief propagandist Samuel LeBreton, the senior economist for New Brunswick with the federal Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, continues to reinforce this notion of strong growth. I don’t think he has made an overtly negative comment about the labour force in years.
This pulling the wool over the eyes of New Brunswickers does absolutely no good. It makes people think things are better than they really are and gives the government an excuse not to make economic development a priority.
Oh by the way. Having a dropping unemployment rate as the result of people leaving New Brunswick is not an overly proactive economic development approach – or is it?