GDP per ‘Crap’ita

This is in response to ‘Anonymous’ who sent over the TJ article this morning entitled: “Fishing lodge guest praises Lord in column”.

I won’t deconstruct this article in its entirety. I think that Premier Lord is an excellent salesperson who gets standing ovations in Toronto. If I went to Larry’s Gulch I’d probably come back convinced.

But, if I may, that’s really not the point. It’s not about putting a good sales job on a crappy economic performance.

But, enough said on that. I think most folks that read this blog understand the difference between a crackerjack sales effort and reality.

But, I do want to discuss, for a moment, this statistic that keeps cropping up – namely GDP per capita.

Here’s a quote from the article:

Mr. Dubuc [guest at Larry’s Gulch and writer for Le Soleil and La Presse newspapers – one presumes he was invited by the Premier to visit Larry’s Gulch for this purpose – to raise Lord’s profile in Quebec] wrote that New Brunswick’s economy is on the rise, saying its progress shines like a bolt of lightning. He said in 1981, the standard of living, the per capita GDP, in New Brunswick was about 74 per cent of Quebec’s. Last year, it was 90 per cent, he wrote.

Now, I wish we would just park this GDP per capita thing forever. It is a useless statistic. Quebec’s economy could grow 3 times faster than New Brunswick, but if New Brunswick’s population declines then our GDP per capita – note that means per person – would actually increase.

Also, the Irving Refinery in Saint John added something like $3 billion per year to the GDP but only generates a handful of jobs. So GDP per capita is the worst economic statistic to use. However, politicians will use it because it’s the only one that looks good.

I wonder if the Premier told ‘Lord shines like a bolt of lightning’ Mr. Dubuc these stats:
*New Brunswick is now one of three provinces with an ongoing population decline (since the late 1990s).
*There has been a net out-migration of folks from New Brunswick for 13 straight years
*New Brunswick’s job creation rate from October 1999 to October 2005 is the second worst in Canada.
*Rural New Brunswick is bleeding to death. Outside of metro Fredericton and metro Moncton – population delcine is acute.
*New Brunswick’s unemployment rate is the second highest in Canada.
*New Brunswick’s employment rate is the second lowest in Canada.
*New Brunswick has attracted less immigrants in the last five years than it did in a single year during the early 1970s.
*Six of New Brunswick’s top ten exports have declined significantly in the past few years. Without the Irving refinery exports, New Brunswick has the worst export performance among the ten Canadian provinces.
*New Brunswick has dropped from sixth to 10th among the provinces for households using the Internet.
*New Brunswickers have the lowest literacy rates in Canada.

You have to wonder if he would have wrote “New Brunswick’s economy is on the rise, saying its progress shines like a bolt of lightning” if he had been presented with these facts. I hope this sounds better in French than in English.

It’s truly amazing what a Lobster supper buys you these days.

They used to grumble that McKenna became a victim of his own PR. That is, he spent so much time selling New Brunswick that the myth became his reality. And then he had a deathbed conversion, as he resigned in 1997, he made a speech talking about how New Brunswickers were ‘addicted’ to EI and Equalization and had a ‘welfare mentality’.

I wonder if Lord will have a ‘deathbed conversion’?