Raison D’être

You want to know why this blog exists? Check out the front page of the ROB section of the Globe on Saturday:

No, it’s not about John Baird.

It’s my ongoing discomfort and discontent that while Canada is on a 14 year winning streak – a time of unprecedented economic growth. A time of record population growth. A time of record Federal government surpluses.

And all New Brunswick can muster is population decline.

That’s why former Premier Lord’s past expiry date reflections were like finger nails scraping on a chalkboard. While he puffed and preened like a peacock, I was thinking about the fact he would be the only Premier in history to leave the province with less population than when he arrived.

So we have the McKenna Miracle and the Lord Prosperity and all we have to show for it is a declining population and $700 million more Equalization because we aren’t generating enough own-source taxes to cover our bills (remember nationally we are generating record fiscal surpluses).

One day a politician is going to wake up to this fact. He/She/It will wake up to the fact that during the expansion of the 1970s, NB grew fairly strongly and during the 1980s expansion NB continued to grow its population but at a lesser rate. However, after the 1990s recession, New Brunswick started down this current path of continuing out-migration, not enough jobs growth to keep people here and an inability to raise enough own-source revenue to pay the bills.

How will it be in the next 20 years? That should be the question on every politician and community leaders’ mind.

However, I think complacency may have set in.

You know the old story about the frog and the beaker. Throw the frog in a beaker of boiling water and he will jump out as quick as a flash. Put the frog in a beaker of cold water and turn it up slowly to boiling and he will stay in and die.

We’re in the beaker friends and the water temperature is rising. Ribbit, Ribbit.