Is it me?

Once in a while I get the feeling that either the rest of the world is crazy or maybe it’s just me.

I have been questionning the actual population figure in New Brunswick ever since the 2001 Census data was published. At that time, the Census revealed that New Brunswick’s population was 729,500 down from 738,000 in 1996. Statistics Canada provides estimates of population growth/decline in each year since 2001 and the population has either been stagnant or has shrunk a little bit.

So, this sounds fairly straight forward, right? Wrong.

Everyone one and their dog continues to state that the population of New Brunswick is 750,000 – even, you guessed it, Statistics Canada. Click on their population tables (not from the Census) and you will see a population of 750,000.

I just got back from a presentation by the former Minister of Business New Brunswick, Norm Betts, in which he makes the case for more immigration and he cites the 750,000 figures and the slow decline forecasted through to 2026.

Is it 750,000 or 729,000? Apparently the Federal government thinks it is 729,000 as they attempted to claw back Equalization monies based on the lower population count after the Census.

Why does it matter? It matters big time. If guys like Norm and all of the other policy makers and influencers are forecasting a population of 725,000 by 2026 and it is really that level in 2005, there are huge policy implications. By my rough guess (based on an extrapolation of the birth/death data and the out-migration trends), I suggest that without a major change in direction, we will be at well under 700,000 by 2026 – most likely closer to 650,000.

Today, at 729,000 or 750,000, we need almost $2 billion in taxpayer dollars from other provinces just to pay the bill for government services and the cost of these services continues to rise.

Massive Equalization, costs increasing and population declining.

Is it me?