I know I have covered this before but I think it’s worth repeating. Saint John has lost 2,000 people (population decline) since 1999, many of its traditional industries are tanking and the economic future of the city is in jeopardy but the main election issues in Monday’s by-election according to the esteemed Telegraph Journal are:
$1.43 billion in Equalization next year and the ‘issues’ are all about more spending. Tories, Libs, NDP – it doesn’t matter – the whole election is about who will turn up the spending tap.
We keep spending other people’s money like it’s going out of style. I told you in a previous blog that government spending in New Brunswick is up almost 40% since 1999 – almost the level of increase in Alberta which has had a population increase of over 14%.
Shame on the Telegraph Journal for not at least trying to make the economy one small issue in this by-election (if the parties won’t). I find it incredible that the Irvings don’t seem to care about Saint John’s collapse (if the editorial style of the newspaper is any guide). Note to Irving (collective): 50 jobs in an LNG plant ain’t gonna save Saint John.
I know I’ll get comments that politicians campaign on what ‘matters’ to voters – but somebody has to educate the public as to what ‘really’ matters. How much money will be left for affordable housing, child care, senior care and the harbour cleanup if there is another recession in Canada? After the last recession New Brunswick was hit very hard (the high level of out-migration and the beginning of population decline started post the 1991 recession) and now we are much more compromised (in terms of our dependency on Equalization).
I would have hoped that one party (or the independant) would care about Saint John’s economic future.