Politicians shouldn’t live in fantasy land

In my opinion, some politicians like to try and spin information to suit their needs and others just plain live in fantasy land. Jeannot Volpé, with all due respect, is the latter.

He writes a long windy op-ed in the T&T today called Premier Graham must build on Lord’s legacy in which he repeats all the tired clap trap that they used when in power and they used to get booted out of power.

Consider a few excerpts:

Volpé: Unfortunately, years of mismanagement prior to the Lord government has misled taxpayers as to the real cost of electricity in our province.

Orimulsion was a Liberal scandal, eh? At least Belledune actually produced power (that was considered to be McKenna’s NB Power fiasco). Orimulsion will cost the province several billion dollars Mr. Volpé. Then there’s the NB Power Lepreau refit (which I support by the way). Lord said many times that power rates would go up significantly if that plant was refurbished without federal support. No federal support, Lord went ahead anyway.

Volpé: For our province to be self-sufficient however, New Brunswick will have to continue to build on the foundation laid by Premier Lord. He laid the framework for what every province that seeks self-sufficiency needs, an environment that is favourable to business and job creation.

Wow. And again I say wow. New Brunswick dependance on Equalization (the opposite of self-sufficiency) increased more than any other province under Lord by a wide margin! And Lord created an environment favourable to business and job creation! How come dozens of large corporations have set up in Nova Scotia and almost none in New Brunswick (except the virtual call centre)? This is one of the greatest travesties to the truth ever penned in New Brunswick (how’s that for hyperbole?).

Volpé: It takes more than a little dance with Frank McKenna on Bay Street to convince businesses to come and invest in New Brunswick.

At least he’s dancing. Lord showed more disinterest towards economic development than any Premier in decades.

Volpé: Bernard Lord saw this potential and made record advancements to make New Brunswick a business hub.

By who’s measurement? One of the lowest employment growth rates, underperforming GDP growth 5 of 7 years in office, net out-migration every year he was in office, etc.

There was an article last week that said Volpé was the leading contender to replace Bernard Lord as leader of the provincial Tories. In my opinion, this op-ed shows just how unqualified he is for that position. He is locked into some group-think-Al-Hogan-Bernard-Lord-Don’t-Tell-Me-Any-Bad-News mindset.

After losing the election, Volpé should have become reflective. He should be coming forward with a message of what he would do different – not just a blind subservience to a system that patently failed over the past seven years.

The only thing that Volpé is correct about is this. New Brunswick’s debt to GDP ratio did decline during the Tory rule. That is true. But at what cost? I, for one, would have supported additional expenditures if they had been targeted towards real investments in economic development.

The facts are plain and undisputable:

The population is formally in decline and has been since the late 1990s. No other Premier in history saw a population decline on his watch.

There has been net out-migration for 14 straight years (yes well before Lord).

Employment growth in New Brunswick from 1999 to 2006 was either second or third worst in Canada depending on what month to month you look at.

Our neighbours in PEI and Nova Scotia have absolutely kicked our butts on the economic development file over the seven years Lord was in office – this is a fact not an opinion.