The BC Progress Board

I know I have posted the link to this organization at least 3-4 times in the past four years but it is well worth posting again for new readers of the blog. The BC Progress Board is an excellent example of a government funded but independent organization set up to report on the progress of the province against a predetermined set of benchmarks. It is non-partisan and the metrics don’t change from year to year (although they do delve into specific topics every year). Click on
the link to have a look at their reporting. You will see that a number of the metrics include New Brunswick and that we are at or near the bottom of the list for virtually all of them.

New Brunswick ranks 60th in GDP per capita; 57th in Real Personal Disposable Income, per capita; 49th in R&D Expenditures, percent of GDP (2nd worst in Canada).

On the plus side:

5th for Personal and Property Crime Rate, per 100,000 population.

I have said repeatedly that New Brunswick needs this kind of independent outside annual review. When this is done internally, the temptation is overwhelming to politicize it. Consider old Jeannot Volpe’s Report Card to New Brunswickers. This thing was send to 250000 households at a cost of what must have been at least a couple of million dollars and it was the biggest piece of propaganda since the case was made to invade Iraq. It was unbelieveable. Statistics were combed over and cherry picked and then sanitized to a fine political hue.

I have no problem when political parties issue such crap to defend their record but when it comes from the Department of Finance – it almost becomes unseemly. People expect accurate information coming out of official government sources – and that has become almost farcical in New Brunswick these days.

So, I hope that the provincial government ultimately will do this – set up a similar model in New Brunswick. Sure, initially, we will be at or near the bottom on almost all metrics but look at the bright side – there is nowhere to go but up.

And I’ll end on a positive note. You will see that PEI tends to rank even lower than New Brunswick on a number of statistics but I saw in the report that in the last 10 years PEI has had the biggest improvement in the area of R&D spending. That is proof that a last place province can turn things around – it takes time folks – if it puts its mind to it.