I was struck by how many times David Alward used the term ‘rebuild’ in his SOTP address last week (reconstruction en française). It seems to me that the Premier and his advisers are trying to impress upon people the scale of the challenge but I don’t know if the general public is really feeling it. It’s different now than compared to the early 1990s or even the 1970s. You have more than 40 the adult population that is or will be 65 within 10 years. It’s just a fact they are not by in large thinking about growing their careers in New Brunswick.
You have an effective unemployment rate of well below 10 percent – this compares to 17 percent not that long ago in our history.
And, most of all, the folks that are in the positions of leadership – are mostly concentrated in areas of the province that are chugging along quite nicely – visibly they are doing fine.
So when the Premier talks of a huge demographic problem, a structural fiscal deficit, etc. – I don’t know how many people get it because I don’t know how many of them are impacted by it – particularly among those in positions of leadership in government and in our communities.
Some people that study the issues – get it. Talking to folks in the health care system – most of them get it. They are bracing for a wave of boomers starting to need advanced health care services.
The primary and secondary education community gets it – they will be planning for wholesale decline in the coming years.
I don’t know if that trickles down to the average NBer, though.
Everyone loves the idea of ‘rebuilding’ unless that rebuilding impacts their lives personally. Then, we shall see.