The urban/rural debate: Part 12

I wanted to revisit this issue of the urban/rural debate in New Brunswick in light of a couple of slides I developed for my SJ Board of Trade presentation this week.  It goes directly to this issue of becoming more ‘urban’.  Most people that think about these things say one of our problems is that we are not urban enough.  One demographer said we have the urban/rural profile of Canada back in the 1930s.   In terms of raw numbers, there is something to that statement.

But do you urbanize but emptying out your rural population or by increasing your urban population?   Again, in my opinion this is not just semantics.

Look at Canada’s urban growth since the 1950s and then look at New Brunswick’s urban growth over the same period.  In both cases the rural population grew – only slightly – but the real difference was in the growth of the urban population.

In my opinion, New Brunswick needs to work towards fostering a solid economic base under our rural economy – based on natural resources, tourism maybe telework, etc.  At the same time, if we want to grow and create a stronger and more durable province (from a fiscal perspective) we need serious growth in our urban centres such as Moncton, Saint John, Freddy and I would put the smaller urbans in there as well.  Bathurst is taking on the role as a regional urban centre – as one example.


2 thoughts on “The urban/rural debate: Part 12

  1. I wonder what the NB graph would look like if you removed the suburban LSDs from the ‘rural’ numbers? Probably a lot like the Canadian average.

  2. I just read the Globe and Mail article that you wrote on this topic. I too am an economist and from Atlantic Canada. There is one thing that I would like to point in terms of rhetoric used. I find that these discussions on rural/urban divide tend to be like walking over a field that has been land mined. You don’t know when or where but you are guaranteed that something is going to blow up. I think it is best that anyone discussing these issues first state the definition of what is urban and what is rural as far as StatsCan is concerned since there are a lot of places popularly considered to be and style themselves as rural when in fact StatsCan records them as urban cores. I myself was born and raised in one such area and I used to take great offence to “pro-urban” plans. That was until I realized that in all the stats my home town was considered to be urban. StatsCan definition of urban includes many sizeable towns through out Atlantic Canada many of which may not entirely be aware that they are urban. As a result when they see or read a pro-urban argument, they tend to see some sort of power grab by the big cities when in fact they will also end up benefiting from whatever proposal is being made.

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