Political Party Funding Update 2009-2013

In a previous post, I outlined the donations received by registered political parties in New Brunswick for the years 2009 – 2012.  Now that the 2013 data are available from Elections NB, I have included the recent numbers in a re-analysis for the years 2009 – 2013. This time around, I have prepared a separate chart for each party and you can get an estimate of the ebbs and flows of funding from each source.

In the charts below, each funding source has its own colour:

BLUE:  Political Process Financing Act – Election Financing Manual (funds received from government budget allocations in a given calendar year via the PPFA formula);

ORANGE:  IND – Individual donors (sum of donations of those contributing $100 or less plus those named donors contributing more than $100);

GREY:  CORP – Corporate donors;

YELLOW:  UNION – Union donors.

The vertical axis shows the donation amount from each source (as well as the total). Axis values must be multiplied by 1000 to give the actual amount. Note that the scale of the vertical axis is different for each party.

The funding pattern shows an upswing in donations during the year prior to the election and in the election year itself. Following the election, there seems to be a drop-off in donations until the next election campaign starts to roll in earnest.

During the last election year (2010), the Progressive Conservatives raised just over $2 million. You can see that about half of that came from corporate donors (the actual donors are listed in the Annual Financial Return which you can obtain from Elections NB).  Throughout the 2009-2013 period, the Progressive Conservatives were less reliant on PPFA funding than the rival Liberals, or any other party. The lack of an uptick in funding in 2013 must be of some concern.

pcnb2013

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The CBC takes it on the chin, again

I was saddened to hear a few days ago that another round of staff and program cuts are being inflicted on the CBC. Although I am sure the current federal Conservative government would be happy to see the CBC disappear, it’s worth pointing out that the Liberals were not much friendlier when in power; hacking away at the CBC budget seems to be a popular past-time. A national new organization has a lot of clout (or, at least, is viewed by some as having a lot of clout), and those in power in Ottawa prefer to have their own message reproduced without question. They want the CBC to be a lapdog, rather than an independent voice. Seems to me we are all better off in the long run with a national public news organization that is as independent as possible from political interference.

I’m a long-time fan of CBC Radio – I recall listening to CBC broadcasts delivered to Fredericton via CFNB back in the early 60s, before the area got its own CBC station. I remember (as a teenager!) tuning in to CBC radio most evenings to hear As It Happens, way back when William Ronald was the host. Today, I am still a fan, but a disappointed one (sort-of what it must be like to be a long-suffering Leafs fan).  Given the recent cuts, I think it is more important than ever to examine how CBC Radio functions in this part of the country and whether some re-jigging can compensate for some of those budget and staff reductions.

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Labour Force and Employment in New Brunswick 1994-2014

I have been updating charts on employment changes in New Brunswick for a while now, but sometimes it is useful to look at a longer term review of employment and labour force trends. Here are some charts using data from Cansim Table 282-0054 (Statistics Canada); they compare the five economic regions in New Brunswick with respect to labour force (those working or willing to work) and employment (those currently working full-time or part-time) for the period March 1994 thru March 2014 – 20 years.

The graphs are ordered South to North; the three ‘urban’ regions (Saint John, Moncton, and Fredericton) are all in the southern part of the province. The two northern regions follow.

Saint John / St. Stephen Economic Region (Saint John, Charlotte and Kings Counties)

Saint John Labour

Saint John shows a fairly shallow upward trend, which flattens out around 2007. There have been ups and downs since then but no obvious resumption of upward growth.

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Another day, another new forestry policy for New Brunswick

Two years ago (2012), the government of New Brunswick released a new forestry management policy for Crown land.

The 2012 plan was a compromise between those asking for more conservation / different management approaches and those who wanted more access to wood on Crown land. The annual allowable cut for softwood in the 2012 plan was left unchanged from the previous 2007-2012 strategy, and remained at 3.27 million cubic metres. The hardwood allowable cut, on the other hand, was reduced from 1.77 to 1.41 million cubic metres. The conservation forest area was reduced from 30 to 28 percent and the amount of protected natural area (the PNAs are ‘no-cut’ areas within the conservation forest) increased to eight percent.

The plan was based in part on the report of a taskforce established to review forestry practices on Crown land. The report suggested that private woodlots could supply any shortfall in hardwood supplies and also provide any increased demand for softwood supply. The report also suggested that the term ‘working forest’ be used to describe the allocated areas within crown lands, in order to emphasize the renewable aspect of this resource.

[This task force report contains links to many previous forestry reports and so is a valuable resource. I suggest downloading a copy of it and other reports before they are ‘disappeared’.]

The 2012 plan followed years of significant downsizing in the forest industry. A number of lumber mills closed and two pulp mills (Dalhousie and Miramichi) were shut down between 2005 and 2008. The main user of wood supplied from crown lands, J.D. Irving Ltd (JDI), expressed dismay at the new plan. JDI had recently closed the Deersdale and Clair mills; some 143 jobs were lost as a result. A combination of soft market conditions, power rates, and uncertainty re wood supply were cited as reasons for the closures. With the release of the 2012 crown land forestry plan, JDI said that ‘cost uncertainty’ relating to that new forestry plan would keep those mills closed.

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