Text of the ‘Responsibilities for Roads’ Document

Who should pay for local roads in New Brunswick? Towns and cities take care of their own road maintenance, with some cost-sharing from the provincial government. In rural areas, that responsibility is taken on by the province. Is that fair? Should rural residents, most of whom live in ‘one-acre-lot’ rural suburbs, be asked to pay [Read More]

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 [Read More]

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Local Service District (LSD)?

[Note: I suggest reading these two previous posts, found here and here, on this subject for additional background material.] Do residents of Local Service Districts (LSDs) in New Brunswick pay too much or too little for the services they receive from governments? That is a question that has been raised before in this Province and [Read More]

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 [Read More]

Natural resource regulations and the Peter Andrews case

Many New Brunswickers have no doubt heard at least some of the details surrounding the recent court case involving civil servant Peter Andrews. Mr. Andrews, the executive director of corporate services in the provincial Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, is accused of interfering with an enforcement action by the Department against Donat Robichaud, who just [Read More]

Service Costs in New Brunswick Local Service Districts (LSDs) – Text of the Comptroller’s Report May 2008

The Finn Report (also known as Building Stronger Local Governments and Regions: An Action Plan for the Future of Local Governance in New Brunswick) was released in December 2008 and contained a number of recommendations regarding local governance in New Brunswick. The Report was produced by the Local Governance Commission that had been established in September 2007 by [Read More]

What the peer-reviewed science says about shale gas

Shale gas exploration and extraction via hydraulic fracturing is a controversial and polarizing topic in New Brunswick. The public is divided on the issue and, as is often the case these days, social media are being used to rally supporters to one side or the other. Inflammatory rhetoric and exaggerated claims appear to dominate the [Read More]

Student Enrolment and Education Staffing in New Brunswick (Updated 2014)

[Note: The Chartboot plugin used to create charts and graphs is no longer maintained; new charts were prepared using interactive Google Sheets in October 2015. These differ somewhat from the previous charts, but the same datasets are used] [Note: Data and commentary updated April 2015, to reflect data added up to Sept 30, 2014 (i.e. [Read More]

New Brunswick Universities – are some changes needed?

As a follow-up to a previous post, I’d like to provide some more of my views on a possible re-alignment of universities in New Brunswick. Recent statements by politicians, newspaper editorials, and others have underlined the importance of research and development (R&D) to the future of the province. R&D is a source of innovative goods [Read More]

Handy guide to the ‘atcon’

For the average NBer, getting a grasp on the size of some of the province’s fiscal issues and financial shenanigans can be difficult. So I am proposing that New Brunswick develop its own unique monetary denomination in order to help interpret the relative importance (in dollar terms anyways) of some of these predicaments. I’ll call [Read More]

Regional service commissions – another train wreck?

A few months ago, the government of New Brunswick released its plan for reforming local governance. This has been a long time coming and it appears that fiscal pressures have finally forced action. While problems in local governance and cost-sharing have long been recognized, political resistance to change has prevented action until now. The Province [Read More]

The Atcon Ryan Report or “I can barely hear you, Mr. Levesque.”

The Atcon controversy in New Brunswick stemmed from accusations that former Premier Shawn Graham and his Cabinet had used the power of office to influence decisions that resulted in the use of taxpayer dollars to prop up the Atcon Group, a construction company located in the Miramichi area.  The taxpayer support came in the form [Read More]