I spent some time last night going through the Statistics Canada Year Book for 1960 and comparing some of the data to 2010. It’s my parents 50th wedding anniversary and I thought it would be interesting to look at the economy then versus now and write up a few ideas for an upcoming column.
Without giving away the column content, it is fair to say the more things change the more things stay the same. Population growth back then was well below the national average, immigration was lower, we were less educated than the rest of Canada. While we have dramatically improved a lot – relative to the rest of Canada we continue to be a laggard.
If I had an army of young researchers I would plow through all this old data – including old newspapers, books – any old content and publish reams and reams of comparative and trending data. I just don’t have the time to dedicate to this stuff but I think a key to unlocking the future is understanding the past. And we don’t spend much time at all in New Brunswick understanding our past – particularly our economic past.
But all this old data as an economic thread running throughout. Read the narrative from the 1956 Census and you will see many of the same themes. Read an old newspaper from the 1950s and you will see protectionists versus free trader and warnings for New Brunswick.
To some this old stuff should be kept in the past but I can’t help thinking it holds clues for those thinking about our future.