Forestry Policy and Forestry Jobs

In recent years, there has been a great deal of discussion with respect to forestry management policies in New Brunswick. That should not be surprising, given the historical importance of the industry to many communities in the Province and the impacts of closures of sawmills and pulp mills on those communities. A significant factor in forestry management discussions has been the tension between the goals of employment (and tax revenue), wood/fibre production, sustainability of production in ‘working’ forests, preservation of ‘old growth’ forests, and conservation of flora and fauna in those forests. These issues are not unique to New Brunswick; in particular, declines in employment in the forestry sector have been a national concern.

The New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources has commissioned a number of panels and reports over the years which touch on all of these aspects, and I recommend that anyone interested download and review the relevant documents. One key point I found in these documents is that the issue is not just one of pitting the ‘corporate evil-doers’ against the ‘little guy’ but that even the ‘little guys’ are guilty of mismanagement of the forest resource. Our forests (both public and private) have been treated by too many of us as a mine, rather than as a sustainable resource. For additional perspectives, the video documentaries of Charles Theriault may be of interest. I am not an expert in forestry management – far from it – but, as I have stated before, I am neither a fan of the sudden shifts  that we have seen in forestry policy in recent years, nor am I convinced that we are managing our natural resources in our long-term interests.

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[Updated] Needs versus Wants: ‘International’ Airports in New Brunswick

[Note: this is an updated version of an older post.  The most recent data on airport traffic (2014) have been added to tables and figures below and some text has been modified to reflect those data.]

What do we want from airports in New Brunswick? The three airports of New Brunswick’s three largest urban centres have direct flights to Toronto and Montreal, but (naturally) most of us want more of ’em. We want direct flights to Boston and/or New York, and we want flights to our favourite destinations to be frequent and cheap. Airport operators know this and requests for infrastructure dollars (from tax revenue) are often implicitly connected to the idea that more infrastructure (terminal buildings, runways, etc) will result in more passenger growth, more price competition, and thereby increase opportunities for more frequent and cheaper flights. 

Unfortunately, we live in a region where economic growth has been anemic and incomes have been stagnant. Consequently, tax revenue is at a premium and there are many competing demands for that revenue. A dollar from tax revenue spent on a terminal expansion is a dollar that can’t be spent on a school or hospital. Requests from airport operators for contributions from Federal, Provincial, and Municipal sources have to be seen in that light. In this post, I am going to look at passenger and flight data for the three main airports in southern New Brunswick and consider some options for the future.

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“Not in Labour Force” – a growing problem in the Fredericton region?

 

As a resident of the Fredericton region, I have an interest in the regional economy and how it is faring. It’s not news (at least it shouldn’t be) that the Fredericton region has not been doing that well on the jobs front. That affects everything from the prospects of local businesses to the tax rates required to fund services.

When Statistics Canada releases its monthly Labour Force reports, the local media tend to focus on things like the unemployment rate, comparisons with this months employment performance in Moncton and Saint John, or a comparison with the previous month/year. Generally, we don’t get the longer term perspective that might be more useful than month-to-month or even year to year comparisons.

Statistics Canada Cansim Table 282-0054 provides rolling three-month averages for economic regions, going back to 1987. I find the data found there to be more useful than the seasonally-adjusted data that are usually provided in media reports.

Let’s look at data from that Table for the period November 2004 thru November 2014 and compare the Fredericton / Oromocto economic region with the Moncton / Richibucto economic region.

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Needs versus Wants: ‘International’ Airports in New Brunswick

What do we want from airports in New Brunswick? The three airports of New Brunswick’s three largest urban centres have direct flights to Toronto and Montreal, but (naturally) most of us want more of ’em. We want direct flights to Boston and/or New York, and we want flights to our favourite destinations to be frequent and cheap. Airport operators know this and requests for infrastructure dollars (from tax revenue) are often implicitly connected to the idea that more infrastructure (terminal buildings, runways, etc) will result in more passenger growth, more price competition, and thereby increase opportunities for more frequent and cheaper flights. 

Unfortunately, we live in a region where economic growth has been anemic and incomes have been stagnant. Consequently, tax revenue is at a premium and there are many competing demands for that revenue. A dollar from tax revenue spent on a terminal expansion is a dollar that can’t be spent on a school or hospital. Requests from airport operators for contributions from Federal, Provincial, and Municipal sources have to be seen in that light. In this post, I am going to look at passenger and flight data for the three main airports in southern New Brunswick and consider some options for the future.

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