December 20 2019
BY DENNIS ATCHISON
Dear Rest of Canada,
Well there she goes … 2019. It passed as quick as a blink … but a blink that had something stuck in your eye.
Our province, all some right 760,000 of us, ended the year as the “poorest” province in Canada, and as such we get a first round draft pick and an increase in Federal Transfer Payments. Many of you will not know of former Premier Shawn Graham’s big push for “self-sufficiency” back in 2010 with the goal of getting off transfer payments. He appointed some big business uppity-ups to spearhead the economic revolution.
Look how that worked out, eh? I should mention one of those uppity-ups from the business world is not in charge of ACOA (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency … and no, that is not a four word oxymoron).
So New Brunswick ends the year, and the decade, at the back of the Canadian pack. Well, at least in terms of transfer payment calculations.
On the up side we have our first minority government in over a hundred years— and a four-way minority at that! While our media, such as it is, continue to paint this as a problem (as if everything that has come before over the past one hundred years was a solution, goodness) many of us here at the everyday “just-doing-what-ever-we-have-to-do” level think it is a good thing. A new way on a new day is just what our politics needed (and a step away from the backroom gang who have lead us to last place in the first place). The best thing now is to give the politicians some time to figure out how to make it work. So that is a positive for 2020.
Health care still takes up a lot of attention and money. Imagine… $2.1Billion budget for 760,000 people! And everyone in the health sector screams the solution to better health care is more money. Something will have to give. Maybe we will find out in the coming year.
And like everyone else, people are running around on how to “mitigate” climate change. Record spring floods, larger rain and snow falls, higher winds, drier summers and all that, captures the attention. But try and find a word or an idea or an actual action plan to reduce greenhouse gases, or to change behavior. Not! So … much like the rest of Canada … our leadership is focused on the symptoms while the solutions remains “over there” out of the mainstream conversation.
So all this begs a question … will 2020 be the year when something finally shifts, changes, evolves? It is clear in our province doing things the way we have always done them is the heart of the problem, not the solution.
In 2020 will a minority government be the key to a “new” New Brunswick?
There is more … there is always more … but for now let’s just get ready for the snow.
Bye for now from New Brunswick … be good.