Steve Maich’s column in Macleans this week entitled Rumblings of recession suggests that we may be moving into a new recession in Canada. He quotes an expert named Bob Hoye as saying:
“Politics goes to the left [in Canada] during booms and, with the sobriety of the consequent contraction, trends back to the centre,” he says. “Canada is about 15 years overdue on political reform and, in that interval, the governing classes have become even more power-mad and corrupt. The next recession could prompt a massive political reform.”
Now, anybody that reads my blog will know that I believe the next recession is going to hit New Brunswick (and Atlantic Canada) very hard and will most likely prompt this ‘political reform’ that Bob Hoye talks about. I base this on the last recession in the early 1990s which led to government restraint which hit Atlantic Canada much harder than the rest of Canada – (income transfers have still not reached their early 1990s level). In fact, Jean Cretien actually tried to tinker with the EI program as an austerity measure and got his hand slapped – electorally speaking (they have since reverted most of the changes).
I am a firm believer that you ‘make hay while the sun is shining’. This province should have attracted new industries and jobs when the North American economy was doing well. It should have built a strong fiscal foundation – translation – less reliant on Equalization – while it had the chance.
I hope there is not a recession anytime soon. I am not sure we can weather one. We are losing population in a time of economic growth across Canada.