A couple of years ago there was a massive snow storm in the Maritimes. It dumped 100 centimetres on Halifax (the most snow there in decades). In Fredericton, however; there was very little snow and the Daily Gleaner ran an interesting headline entitled something like “Major Winter Storm bypasses New Brunswick”.

Trouble is, Moncton got 70 centimetres in that storm.

And the Fredericton paper said that the storm bypassed New Brunswick – presumably because it bypassed Fredericton.

Or maybe 70 centimetres in Moncton constitutes a ‘bypass’.

Either way, I felt at the time that this was more or less a good metaphor for how Fredericton views Moncton generally.

I had the same feeling this morning about New Brunswick when the January 2007 labour market statistics were published by Statistics Canada. The agency hardly mentions New Brunswick. The Globe & Mail intones “Sizzling job market adds 88,900 new hires” and makes no mention of New Brunswick’s year over year decline.

I guess that New Brunswick’s employment and labour market declines don’t mean too much in the national scheme of things.

It will be interesting to see how this data is put out tomorrow in the local press (where, presumably it does matter). Al Hogan at the T&T will likely tease out some positive figures for Moncton. The government will probably say they are reasonably happy with the December to January changes in the employment figures.

The year over year stuff will most likely be barely mentioned.

But it will be mentioned here.

New Brunswick was the only province in Canada to register a decline in seasonally adjusted employment and labour force over the 12 month period (which is a far better measure than month to month).

The ten provinces combined added a massive 399,000 jobs. Impressive by any angle. And all New Brunswick could do was drop 2,000 jobs.

The other three Atl. provinces added over 14,000 jobs for cripes sake.

This is getting serious folks. Real serious.

We may have to forget about this talk of ‘self-sufficiency’ and start talking about just stopping the bleeding as a major goal.

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0 Responses to Marginalization

  1. Scott says:

    I think the big problem is that we still don’t seem to be able to close the necessary deals when the opportunities come knocking at our door. I know I have been critical of individuals in the past who always feel the need to compare our lack of economic success with our neighbours to the east, but after viewing this, I couldn’t resist.

    Why do we continue to lose [even] this small battle as well? I mean, the Telegraph Journal did boast a week ago that “New Brunswick companies sure lucrative deals with Alberta to follow three-day trip to oilpatch”. So where are these deals? Were they made? What is the holdup?

    Could it be that they aren’t coming? Could it be that we have weakened out trade relations [even more] with Alberta now that there is a Liberal Premier in place? Or is it that we simply appear to western companies as a Liberal light province [politically] who depends heavily on central policies to remain afloat? Either way, from my firsthand knowledge of how we are perceived outhere, there’s no doubt it’s a tough sell.

    I guess that’s why they get the plums in Nova Scotia when the Tories are in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That’s a good point but you can’t really compare it by political parties. There was a tory government here for years but I don’t remember any big new announcements from Alberta, and that’s even though the largest metal tank fabricator in northern new brunswick is actually OWNED by an Alberta company.

    When it comes to business political parties don’t matter, it all comes down to who can make the sweetest deal to the investor. Both parties are pretty much business whores now, just go read the budget speech.

  3. David Campbell says:

    I told you. It’s like a compulsion. When in government, Ministers just can’t say anything negative for fear it will reflect on them. Here is the quote from the NB Training Minister on the latest labour market data:

    “I remain optimistic as the unemployment rate stays in the eight-point range. I was also pleased to see that 3,000 more New Brunswickers were working as compared to last month, and that there were increases in the labour force levels,” the minister said.

    This would have been the perfect – perfect – opportunity to make the case for the tough love they are implying in the McGuire committee.

    But nothing.