Love in the time of Recession

The Globe has a couple of stories today about how rich provinces in Canada handle economic tough times.   It’s a bit like when Spock does the Vulcan mind meld on the Horta.  “Pain, Pain!”.

Story #1: B.C. Premier demands single standard for EI ‘Canadians are Canadians, and they should be treated equally,’ Gordon Campbell asserts. 

I actually agree on a national standard. I have said on these pages that EI should not become a substitute for serious economic development effort and it has in New Brunswick.  If the money the Feds have poured into this province for seasonal EI wage support over the past 20 years had been put into economic development (somewhere north of $12 billion) think of the highways, the business parks, the job creation, etc.  I think BC, Ontario and Alberta viewed EI with a wink and a nod to placate the poor Atl. Canadians.  Now they are struggling and want their share – give it too them.  But having said that, it is easy for Premiers to fall into the ‘culture of welfare’ that former Premier Harper talked about (I don’t subscribe to the term personally).  When things are great – they thumb their noses down here but when things are going down they want their share.

Story #2: $1.4-million for every job saved
With the latest forecast pegging the overall auto bailout bill at as much as $13.5-billion, Konrad Yakabuski writes, politicians are testing the limits of Canadians’ tolerance.

Exhibit B – the auto bailout.   Forest products plants have been falling like dominos in New Brunswick and the best we get out of the Feds is some ‘transitional’ money to help communities cope and a few bucks for silviculture.    I guarantee on a relative basis, the forestry decline in New Brunswick is at least as impactful as the auto sector in Ontario but……

$1.4 million for every job saved.   That’s an interesting number.

2 thoughts on “Love in the time of Recession

  1. Keep in mind that forestry dominoes are not exclusive to New Brunswick. Northern ontario has seen as many mills close as NB. There definitely should be an analysis on the ‘why’ of various industries, but that one isn’t unique to NB or even the east coast. Something else is at work there, and I suspect it has something to do with the duty issue.

  2. I suspect its votes, not fear of trade retaliation. If they wanted to aid the regions suffering from forestry declines, and they were afraid of the US lumber industry’s reaction, then the feds could always pump money into ‘replacement’ industries. They haven’t done that either, likely because those regions are under-populated and thus have fewer votes to cast.

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