Why doesn’t someone ask the question?

Is it that hard? Has every journalist and political analyst in New Brunswick forgot about the economy?

Someone needs to ask the Tories and the Liberals where jobs are going to be created over the next 5-10 years. They need to be pinned down on this.

It is incredibly serious. Just about everything else hinges on it. How can you ‘bring people back’ without jobs? How can you spur immigration without jobs? How can you reverse population decline without jobs? How can you generate increasing own-source tax revenue without jobs?

I have pointed out elsewhere that job creation over the past seven years is second worst in Canada. I have further pointed out that the few jobs that were created were government and call centre jobs. I have further pointed out that many of our bedrock industries are in trouble: forestry, fishing, tourism, etc.

So, where are the jobs coming from over the next 5-10 years?

I have a suspicion that the Miramichi pulp mill may not last 12-24 months. Even the mill in Nackawic – the one Lord gave a record level of subsidies – said they will likely need more government assistance.

We know that Premier Lord and the Tories have not had a coherent plan for job creation in seven years. They promised a ‘made in New Brunswick’ solution to economic development in 1999 but since that time we have seen a decline in the # of small businesses (7% drop), a major decline in non-oil exports, a decline in tourism and almost no growth in any of the so-called growth sectors in the 1990s (IT, e-Learning, new media, etc.).

I am not even sure the Liberals know the answer to this question. They have mentioned a few sectors: aquaculture, energy and forestry that they are going to try and grow – this is much better than the Tories – but I am not convinced that we can have the job creation required to bring the economy back and turn around our population problems.

Do New Brunswickers care?
It would seem that the majority of us don’t really care. The media doesn’t help much. I swear that Samuel Lebreton is a puzzling fellow. I have been following his comments in the local media for years and almost without exception they are positive on the economy. Even when there’s a downward trend he makes things look positive.

As the top labour market analyst in the province, doesn’t he have the obligation to ask the questions I ask here?

But beyond Al Hogan and Lebreton and Jody Carr, people just need to look around. Even in Moncton. I’ve had four people tell me in the last two months they are moving out west – and their from Greater Moncton!

I have to believe that unless you are a hermit you are seeing these trends.

But yet we are completely willing to serve up another four years to an administration that has led us down a very dangerous path of depopulation, out-migration and tepid job growth – based soley on the 1990s call centre initiative and government spending.

I hate to sound like Jerimiah here but things are trending downward and I don’t see any real interest in substantial change.