West Virginia North?

I know this is an old report but I doubt the numbers have changed that much. I pull it out everytime some smart pundit or politicians worries that New Brunswick could end up like Alabama or West Virginia (like this op/ed today).

It shows both Alabama and West Virginia ahead of New Brunswick for their average standard of living (page 10). 

I know some will question the study (Industry Canada put it together) and others will question whether or not PPP GDP per capita is a good measure.  Others will talk about the gap between rich and poor, environmental issues, etc.

The last time I checked, the percentage of persons living in low income in Alabama was lower than New Brunswick (can’t remember the West Virginia numbers).

I don’t know enough about the environmental situation in West Virginia to comment.

But the truth is that on this one measure – widely used to compare economic standard of living – New Brunswick is at or near the bottom in North America.  If people like this columnist want to frighten us that New Brunswick will end up like province or state x, they are going to have to find new examples.

Final point.  The columnist (along with a litany of others) talks up the potential of tourism – particularly in rural New Brunswick.    Do you think replacing forest product mill jobs with tourism jobs will enhance the standard of living of the average New Brunswick?

It’s time we started realizing that “Alabama North” wouldn’t be that bad if you look at issues like income levels, lack of poverty, attraction of new industries like steel and auto, etc.  It’s also time to realize we can’t rely on tourism as a primary economic engine for the province.

4 thoughts on “West Virginia North?

  1. That’s funny, I don’t think Irving would have EVER printed such an oped when the refinery was a go. I suspect Irving is looking at green projects in NB (as well as its ones in PEI).
    The environmental situation is specifically the ‘mountain top removal’ process that was approved by Bush and now is a political hot potato. Obama said he would ban it but the EPA has approved a mountain top removal plan that will permanently bury several streams under rock. IF something were under the Christmas mountains I suspect northern NB would be flat by now.

    But again, this familiar refrain should be obvious-WHEN has NB ever
    relied on tourism’ as an economic engine? Tourism is a non starter in NB, I remember the complaints from a tourist operator at the CBC who said that they are tired of people asking where the lighthouses were because NB tourism was so numb they put lighthouses on the signs for the river valley tour drive. With the Molson and Moosehead deals they seem intent on running Pumphouse Breweries out of business, believe me, the micro brew tour market is becoming HUGE, these people travel all over the world just for different beer. And I posted before about how fishermen were consistently denied funding even to set up educational tourism spots to help diminish their reliance on fishing. As for forestry and waterways, I think they go without saying. IF there were a serious tourism push then that would at least be something, most regions in the northeast have tourism as a big spender and I don’t think thats because of underdevelopment in other areas.

  2. “The columnist (along with a litany of others) talks up the potential of tourism – particularly in rural New Brunswick. ”

    Well, he talks a bit about eco-tourism; but mainly he spouts about ‘green’ investments and how NB can be a leader in some of these sectors. If he had checked some actual data, he might have found that NB is already way behind in most of these areas and it will be difficult to catch up. A rational plan for doing so would be more valuable than another shopping list. This fellow is typical of many columnists in local media; he has his opinions but has never done much in the way of data analysis. I don’t find that kind of commentary very useful or informative.

  3. Actually, NB is catching up rapidly. There are already wind farm plans that will shortly outmatch PEI, and Nova Scotia has few wind farms.

    What he’s NOT saying is that the jobs are NOT in setting up wind farms, it takes about a day to put up a turbine, and unless the economic plan is to be putting up hundreds each day of the year then those ‘jobs’ are not highly sought after. The ED comes from what David has been saying-get it cheap and subsidized and dependable so industrial and business users want to locate there. Unfortunately, where NB is behind is that its wind farms are private and will be sending the power directly to the US-almost no benefit to NB at all.

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