A young person wrote a letter to the editor of the Telegraph Journal this week with an ambitious defense of the current government’s strategy for economic development. He stated in his letter that “New Brunswick’s economy has never been better“. After reading this, I am left asking–like the Professor in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe–“What are they teaching in schools these days?” If young people like Mr. White (although his writings in The Brunswickan indicate he is most likely an dewey eyed, pimply Conservative dragon slayer) can’t see what is right in front of them, who can? The youth tend to be the most critical of institutions and of having the wool pulled over their eyes but Mr. White’s analysis sounds like a cut and paste from a government press release.
Mr. White goes on to say:
Unlike Mr. Graham, I want to live in a province that rewards hard work, perseverance and determination and where people look to create a job instead of feeling entitled to a job. I want to live in a province where the last spot people look for help is the government. Finally, I want to live in a province where it is expected that children will grow up and work in the communities and cities where they were raised and not feel like they have to leave to find success and prosperity.
Now the overtly Young PC-schtik spewed forth by Mr. White actually makes sense. But when you have a government that drops economic development to the bottom of the priority list, how exactly does he think we will get over this dependency on government? How does he think people will be able to live and work in the communities where they were raised when there is almost no effort to bring in new companies and industries to those communities? Does he think that Premier Lord is the economic development equivalent of Houdini?
The question for Mr. White is simple. We are in a population decline. The first sustained population decline since Confederation. We are losing our major industries. We have no immigration. This is good enough for you?
And as for his assertion that there is too much ‘negativity’ around, when he gets into the real world he will realize that criticism is an essential part of democracy. If a government’s policies are strong, criticism will bounce off. If they are weak, criticism will sink in and ultimately force change.
If no one criticizes and we all turn a blind eye to the economic realities in New Brunswick (like Al lob-the-occasional-softball Hogan at the Times & Trashscript), then no one benefits.