Pothier and clarity

It seems like a lot of former Bernard Lord associates have done quite well for themselves.  I gues that whole breach of personal privacy didn’t hurt Chisholm Pothier that much.

Anyway, Pothier brings a point of clarity to the Equalization debate in a letter to the editor of the TJ.
“As a province’s economy gets relatively stronger, its equalization payments may decline. This is how the program is designed to work.”

Now, of course, we all know this.  I just like to hear the head of communications for the federal finance minister confirming that the Equalization program is designed to penalize provinces that are able to generate a little incremental economic development. 

Equalization is the greatest disincentive to provincial economic development.  Maybe that is why the majority of provinces are using the program and why the amounts keep going up each year.

6 thoughts on “Pothier and clarity

  1. > Equalization is the greatest disincentive to provincial economic development.

    Really? You think this is true?

    This would mean that, without equalization, governments would have more incentive to promote economic development than they do now. But that doesn’t seem plausible – it implies that they’re just lolling along, living off the fat of the land, an image that belies the reality.

    No, this sounds more like the churlish rich person who looks at a disabled blind homeless man and who says, “If you weren’t on welfare you’d have more incentive to find a job.” Even if true, irrelevant.

  2. And that comment is from a churlish rich person who because he is in a good situation and hasn’t had to move or watched his whole extended family move out of the province, can sit back and snipe at anyone who actually wants to see a sustained period of economic growth in this province. Regardless of your intellectual veneer, you attitude is exactly why we can’t get out of the equalization trap and can’t move the province ahead.

  3. There are many New Brunswickers who would prefer to have meaningful employment in our province for themselves and their children. For this, we need effective economic development.

    Unfortunately, there are those who either have made it and don’t care about anyone else or live in the fantasy that government money will flow forever.

    I am affraid that group number 2 represents the majority. If we don’t proactively act, the Feds and financial markets will eventually force us to. I would rather see us be proactive.

  4. The metaphor simply doesn’t work, which is why you guys are sniping. In SOME ways its true about equalization, but in other ways it isn’t. The way equalization is set up is ‘sort of’ the major problem, but as usual it depends on semantics. However, it ISN”T true that somebody’s ‘attitude’ is the reason for a specific public policy decision. As you may note from the sale of NB Power, government decisions are often made with NO regard to public opinion. This in not Maine or a democracy, when David can put forward a specific ED proposal and the NB public votes it down THEN we can talk about the public’s apathy or accountability.

    The more major problem I see is this notion of ‘government money’, It is NOT the government’s money, it is OUR money. I was educated by NB taxpayers, and now I am productive in southern ontario, where its more lucrative. I have NO problem with equalization, even though Ontario is now hitting the skids.

    The other problem is what is meant by ‘the economy’. Equalization talks about services, but the economy can be measured with no regard to taxpayers. So let’s say Irving starts making huge amounts of money, it then lays off tons of people and replaces them with technology, those workers then leave for the west. So provincial exports and ‘numbers’ may be rising, but like the US in the nineties, what you have is a ‘growth economy’ which doesn’t grow for the PEOPLE in the economy. They are working harder for less money and benefits.

    So thats NOT how the program is supposed to work.

  5. There are plenty of indicators for the health of our economy but there is no need to complicate things; just look what our kids our doing. Since there has been ineffective economic development here, they are leaving for other places where there has been more effective economic development.

    If you want to peel back another layer of the onion, the people leaving tend to be the skilled and educated ones.
    Regarding attitude, no other province has had more elections decided on public attitude. Recent elections have been decided on minor issues like toll highways and insurance rates. Not what you would expect to be priority issues in a province with the worst education system in the country, declining population and resource industry dependency which is headed to the ditch.

    David’s point is part of a bigger problem. The general public has not made the connection to the fact that if you want a good education system, good health care, nice highways and low taxes, we better have a thriving economy; or no limits on the transfer payments.

  6. I’ve said this before, but just because the media paints an issue doesn’t mean thats why people vote one way or another. The toll highway is a good example of that, there is NO evidence, because no polls were done as to whether people voted for Lord on the basis of changing toll highways.

    There is VERY little analysis done of NB ‘attitudes’, there are even very few polls done. And everything is not cut and dry, New Brunswick is not the third world, while SOME aspects of the educational system are bad, certainly not all of it is. Likewise the health system. Swine flu vaccines are readily available in many NB areas, here in southern ontario they are begging a pleading the healthy wait til november, but there are massive line ups anyway.

    Most people HAVE made that connection above, the problem is that there are only two parties, and only one media operator, which means the SOLUTIONS to those problems are never outlined. Its easy to say ‘we need a thriving economy’, but again, for years the St. John board of trade has been saying how wonderful business is. I have relatives in the IT industry and they are having trouble finding people. Irving is still flying people in from all over the globe to work in their refinery.

    The general public has no POWER to make any changes or decisions, as the NBPower sale shows. NB was decades behind other provinces in utilities, and it took a lot of work to build NBPower, and if it can be sold so easily, then its obvious why people don’t pay attention to public policy or are skeptical about the recommendations of corporations.

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