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Friday, November 25, 2005

Does the Fed See Newfoundland and Labrador as a Province or Simply a Colony?

A study conducted by Memorial University which was released this week identifies the fact that the government of Canada has reduced its presence in Newfoundland and Labrador significantly since the early 1990s. In fact, the study shows that while federal activity in other provinces is currently on the rise, in Newfoundland and Labrador has been all but eroded.

The study looked at the federal presence in the province from 1981 through 2004 and included statistics on employment, salaries and goods & services expenditures. The results paint a picture of an absentee government in the province. The study have led some in the province to comment that the federal government views the province as nothing more than a colony to be exploited for its resources.

The study shows that although Federal expenditures on salaries have increased since 1981, the average earnings for employees in Newfoundland and Labrador remains thousands of dollars below the national average. The same story is true for goods and services spending. While having increased since 1981, the rate of increase in spending continues to lag behind the national average.

The study also shows that since 1981 federal employment in the province has dropped by 25% overall while the decline in the rest of Canada was less than 5%. The period with the heaviest rate of decline took place between 1993 and 2004, a period when the province was also being hit hard by a federally instituted cod moratorium and was suffering an unemployment rate of 20%. During that period alone the number of federal positions plummeted by 32%.

While federal positions in the rest of Canada have once again begun to grow, in the period from 2000 to 2004 that rate of growth across Canada was about 12% while Newfoundland and Labrador saw only 1% growth over the same period.

The province also has the lowest number of executive staff positions in the nation. In fact, the share of federal executives was less than half of the number that would be expected based on the province’s share of the overall Canadian population. This is considered an important issue since executive level positions often bring with them important influences on policy decisions, the less executives there are in a province means less influence on policy.

Another subset of employment that many are finding very upsetting is the lack of military personnel. At 8%, Newfoundland and Labrador accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of Canadian military personnel in comparison to other provinces, based on its population. The province’s location as the most easterly coast in the Country and its 17,500 kilometers of open coastline in conjunction with its size (three times larger than the other Atlantic provinces combined), would appear to make it an excellent location for military presence.

The study shows that of the 61,828 full time military personnel in Canada, only about 500 are stationed in the province and many of those are simply on teaching contract with the Marine Institute.

During the course of gathering information for the study several specific instances of job losses were identified by the research team. Some of these instances are worthy of special note.

Although the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador has been the backbone of the province’s economy for centuries and is currently suffering from low stocks, current plans are to move 5-9 DFO scientific positions, studying toxic chemicals, from their current location in St. John’s to other provinces.

Since 1995 federal personnel working with Canadian Forest Services in the province have declined by 65% even though forestry and the production of forest products is one of the province’s key employment sectors.

In spite of the fact that Newfoundland is perched in the middle of the North Atlantic where weather is considered difficult to predict at the best of time and has been known to change without notice, in March of 2003 the federal government closed the weather office in Gander and moved 11 positions to Halifax leaving the province dependent on information gathered hundreds of miles away.

Although the report has not been widely circulated within the province at this point, some who have seen it are saying it will be a factor in their decision making process during the upcoming federal election.

21 comments:

NL-ExPatriate said...

It's prety obvious we are a Ontario colony.
Through not fault of Ontario but mainly due to our disproportionate political representation in the Canadian Political farce of a democracy.

I really like your newest quote

"Reform is a correction of abuses; Revolution is a transfer of power." --- First Baron Lytton *** ***** ********** ***** ***** ******* ***** "What we need is Revolutionary Reform" --- Myles Higgins

What we need is a symbol to rally behind similar to what they did in the Ukraine with their Orange revolution.

Wait the Robin Hood party NDP take from the rich and give to the working poor uses the orange as their political stripes.
If the people were to rally behind the Orange of the NDP we could have our own Orange revolution for the people and not the corporate donators.

The NDP has promised to implement Custodial Management
Stop the Claw backs from our injured workers.
Just to name a few policies for the people and not big business.

Gordon said...

I'm an optimist. I think they're pulling out. Call it incremental reverse separatism, if you will.

WJM said...

in March of 2003 the federal government closed the weather office in Gander and moved 11 positions to Halifax leaving the province dependent on information gathered hundreds of miles away.

All weather forecasts, for all places in the world, are based on "information gathered hundreds of miles away".

Although the report has not been widely circulated within the province at this point, some who have seen it are saying it will be a factor in their decision making process during the upcoming federal election.

I wonder: how will the FACT -- and this is a fact -- that the province ranks FOURTH out of ten provinces in federal presence, affect peoples' votes?

How will the FACT -- and this is a fact -- that St. John's is FOURTH out of the twenty-five largest urban areas in Canada in federal presence, affect peoples' votes?

How will the FACT -- and this is a fact -- that federal employment is increasing in NL, affect peoples' votes?

Patriot said...

Well WJM,

Good to see you are consistent at least in your pro Fed stance.

BNB said...

WJM, you pick some strange points to debate sometimes.

On the weather station topic there should be a recognition that because of the very unique weather patterns of this area of the North Atlantic as well as the large amount of Coastal Waters; that proximity is indeed important in our case.

On the issue of the federal presence you have to admit that Myles is correct. We do not have a lot of high end federal jobs and the per-capita criteria for federal involvement is not a good indicator. If you stand-by the federal government on this sort of ranking Labrador will be particularly void of federal involvement. How many people are in Labrador - something like the population of Corner Brook??

I would think that Myles' points would be particularly important for Labrador.

WJM said...

On the weather station topic there should be a recognition that because of the very unique weather patterns of this area of the North Atlantic as well as the large amount of Coastal Waters; that proximity is indeed important in our case.

How so? The US Military forecasts weather for continents and oceans, all over the world, to ensure the safe operation of its aircraft and ships, from a base in Tampa, Florida.

Location is very important for collecting raw weather data. Location is irrelevant for crunching that data and turning it into weather forecasts. The entire forecast for all of Canada could be done out of Halifax, or Victoria, or St. John's, or Gander, or Timbuktoo.

On the issue of the federal presence you have to admit that Myles is correct.

Why do I have to admit that? That would be admitting something that is false.

We do not have a lot of high end federal jobs and the per-capita criteria for federal involvement is not a good indicator.

The per-capita figure is the ONLY way you can compare the various provinces' federal civil service presence. Obviously, Ontario or BC are going to have numerically MORE federal civil servants, and larger federal payrolls, just as they have more provincial ones, more teachers, more firemen, and more accountants. They have bigger populations.

The only way you can compare one province to another, or to the national average, is per-capita. And guess what? NL is one of the four provinces with the highest federal civil service presences, given its population. St. John's is fourth among the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the country. Only in the Newfoundland nationalist imagination could these facts -- and they are facts -- be turned into Bad Things.

You may not like that fact. It may not fit with your Newfoundland nationalist mythology. But it is a fact.

Let me ask: How would YOU measure the federal civil service presence, and compare one province to another?

And what is a "fair" level of civil service presence in ANY province? Can you give me the number of civil servants that would be "fair" for any given province?

If you stand-by the federal government on this sort of ranking Labrador will be particularly void of federal involvement. How many people are in Labrador - something like the population of Corner Brook??

Yip, something like that, and I would venture to say the the federal presence in Labrador is at very least on par, if not substantially higher, than the provincial average.

I would think that Myles' points would be particularly important for Labrador.

So is mine: The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is NOT being short-changed in terms of federal government presence. The exact opposite, in fact, is the case, and if the "academics" at MUN had presented the statistics in a methodologically sound manner, people might realize that.

Sharon said...

WJM,

You are an amazing fellow/gir?

You run down facts that have been presented here to highlight a provincial situation rather than trying to utilize the facts that are available to you in your own fight.

I'm pretty new here, but from what I've seen you seem like you would prefer to argue over the method of examining the numbers in relation to federal employees than looking at what this report could mean to the province in general and Labrador in particular.

You come across as pro-Labrador yet with all the issues surrounding 5 wing goosebay and the need to do something to keep it alive you don't even make an attempt to highlight the obvious underage in military personnel here based on the number of people we supply.

An opportunity presents itself for you to argue for troops to be stationed here and you don't even make note of it. You would rather take the federal stance and disregard the chance to fight for Labrador.

Patriot said...

Hi Sharon, welcome aboard. It's always nice to meet new people.

Bye the way WJM, you never did tell me if you simply believed the writer when he said it was not feasible to pipe power to the island or if you were aware of the facts that support his claim.

You often question my comments and accuracy so its only fair that if you are going to make a major statement like that then you at least be able to back it up.

BNB said...

WJM: It is a particularly near-sighted view to base federal involvement simply on population. Think of federal seats for Members of Parliment! Does it make sense that a separtist party can become the official opposition simply based on the number of seats in parliment even though that opposition party only has seats from one province? Not in my book... but Voila! It happened.

How then do we determine fairness you ask? Lets look at the federal responsibility to this province. By virtue of the importance of the Fishery and need to defend, map and guard an enormous coastline the DFO/Coast Guard presence alone should be second to none in Canada.

If per-capita is the overly simplistic formula we are going to use then Newfoundland and Labrador may as well wrap ourselves in tinfoil and wait for the lightning.

WJM said...

Sharon said...
You run down facts that have been presented here to highlight a provincial situation rather than trying to utilize the facts that are available to you in your own fight.

The only facts I am utilizing are exactly the same ones that the so-called academics at MUN looked at. I'm not "running down" anything other than a skewed and unsound way of analyzing the figures.

I'm pretty new here, but from what I've seen you seem like you would prefer to argue over the method of examining the numbers in relation to federal employees than looking at what this report could mean to the province in general and Labrador in particular.

I honestly have no idea what you mean by that.

You come across as pro-Labrador yet with all the issues surrounding 5 wing goosebay and the need to do something to keep it alive you don't even make an attempt to highlight the obvious underage in military personnel here based on the number of people we supply.

Why should the number of military personnel stationed in a province be in any way tied to the number who enlist from that province?

An opportunity presents itself for you to argue for troops to be stationed here and you don't even make note of it. You would rather take the federal stance and disregard the chance to fight for Labrador.

There are good reasons to argue for additional, strategic, military presences in the province, but they must be based on defence policy, not on some sense of what we are "fairly entitled to" base on population, or enlistment, or anything else.

The "fairly entitled to" argument is how the CF-18 contract got moved from Winnipeg to Montreal.

If the "entitlement" theory were to hold, then even the two landlocked provinces should have their "fair share" of navy spending!

Bye the way WJM, you never did tell me if you simply believed the writer when he said it was not feasible to pipe power to the island or if you were aware of the facts that support his claim.

Given that the person who made the statement is Ed Martin, who is the President and CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, I'll take it as authoritative until someone smarter comes along to contradict him.

You often question my comments and accuracy so its only fair that if you are going to make a major statement like that then you at least be able to back it up.

I have already backed it up by telling you the source of the statement: an article in the Labradorian from a few weeks back. Go look it up; it's on the web.



BNB said...
It is a particularly near-sighted view to base federal involvement simply on population. Think of federal seats for Members of Parliment! Does it make sense that a separtist party can become the official opposition simply based on the number of seats in parliment even though that opposition party only has seats from one province? Not in my book... but Voila! It happened.

The opposition is the party with the largest number of seats. Quebec has 75 seats, so it's mathematically possible for the BQ, which only runs in Quebec, to form the opposition.

What's not right about that? It's math and Parliamentary democracy.

How then do we determine fairness you ask? Lets look at the federal responsibility to this province. By virtue of the importance of the Fishery and need to defend, map and guard an enormous coastline the DFO/Coast Guard presence alone should be second to none in Canada.

That, in part, is what Geoff Regan's announcement last week in Goose Bay will address, and it will build on an already-significant DFO/CCG presence in the province.

If per-capita is the overly simplistic formula we are going to use then Newfoundland and Labrador may as well wrap ourselves in tinfoil and wait for the lightning.

Well, obviously there's going to be a larger DFO/CCG presence in NL than in, say, Saskatchewan. Similarly, the reverse will be true in SK when it comes to agriculture or Indian Affairs.

All provinces have differing demands on federal government services. HOWEVER, can you come up with a better method of calculating what any province "rightfully deserves" from the federal government as a whole, beyond one based on the province's population?

The ONLY fair way to compare provinces to provinces when it comes to any national marker, whether that be federal employment, or educational attainment or anything else, is to look at the numbers adjusted for population. That is, per-capita.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Ah the Wolf in Sheeps clothing is being exposed for what he really is a Federal Spin doctor. The Labrador Sheep skin has fallen away exposing his true colors.

Welcome aboard Sharon!

crazy american said...

Steve here

In response to the comments about the routing of electricity in Mr. Martin's speech, as WJM pointed out it was reported in the Labradorian in their October 24 issue.

But I took away a slightly different reading of the report especially in regards to the following section of that same article.

"If we can do a deal across Quebec and into Ontario that would probably be our best deal, if we can get the right structure for that deal,” he said.

Mr Martin added that decisions on how to transmit the power would be made in the near future but that government would have the final say.

“We’ll [Hydro] decide on what power is being sold, what power will be retained for recall in Labrador, will there be an infeed or not…all those decisions on the configurations will have to happen in the next three to four months.”


Sounds to me like Mr. Martin believes that is the best answer, as the first statement in the article says, but that he also recognizes the role of the provincial government, the LMN, and indeed the basic necessity of funding the entire deal. Until those answers are available it seems to me that he's stating a position not a decision.

But I could be wrong. My wife says I am most of the time.

Take care

Patriot said...

WJM Said: Given that the person who made the statement is Ed Martin, who is the President and CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, I'll take it as authoritative until someone smarter comes along to contradict him.

I'm sorry WJM, I'm not saying Ed Martin didn't say that and I'm not saying he doesn't know what he's talking about, but this is the first time you've ever come across as someone who simply takes something that is said at face value. Are you saying that you believe everything the government appointed head of a crown corporation tells us in the media without reserve. If you are then I'm going to start to worry about you. If you're not, then why do you accept this and repeat it without question?

BNB said...

WJM two quick points: You recognize Regan's announcement of significant investment in charting and monitoring the Labrador Coast as an example of Federal Presence. That proves my point doesn't it? There is a recognition of the need for DFO presence in Newfoundland that has been insignificant. Of course these pre-election promises speak more about desparation that an ongoing federal committment to the province.

You also recognize that Sask. would have more Indian Affairs employees and N&L would have more DFO employees. What does per-capita have to do with that really? This is based on needed services.

Lets look at where per-capita fails. Imagine Quebec grows in population such that it is 80% of the population of the country. The Bloc is in power. What happens to English Canada in that scenario?

You have forgotten the other principal of democracy that majority rules but with a protection of minority rights. Otherwise we would not negotiate land deals with Aboriginals, we wouldn't put wheel chair ramps to get into buildings etc. That is the principal that we are fighting for here.

Patriot said...

Call me crazy, but I just find it mind boggling that in the 21st century our federal government needs to chart the coast of Labrador.

What kind of federal presence is that when our own federal government is finally, in time of election, promising to do something that should have been done decades ago and not even be an issue at this point.

Add to that their plan to add a coast guard vessel for foriegn fisheries patrol in an area off Labrador where foriegn fishing is not an issue and you really have something.

BNB said...

My understanding is that there are standard paper charts for most areas. I guess the plan is to fill in the gaps along the coast. I know that Notre Dame Bay (my old stomping grounds) only had charts produced by the Canadian Hydrographic Service within the last year or so. Additionally there are other types of charts which are bathymetric and give an indication of the sea floor - these are the ones that are particularly important to Fishermen. These are even further behind in development.

Believe it or not some areas actually have British Admiralty charts that are as old as Aunt Lucy's Goat.

Not to mention there are some global rumblings of exactly which country has ownership of the Arctic. This is an investment long in the works for sure.

WJM said...

crazy american said...
Sounds to me like Mr. Martin believes that is the best answer, as the first statement in the article says, but that he also recognizes the role of the provincial government, the LMN, and indeed the basic necessity of funding the entire deal. Until those answers are available it seems to me that he's stating a position not a decision.

Sadly, Danny Williams, Ed Martin, and the rest, have been backpeddaling ever since the 2003 election, denying that the LMN even exists, even after Danny promised, in writing, to recognize them.


Patriot said...
I'm sorry WJM, I'm not saying Ed Martin didn't say that and I'm not saying he doesn't know what he's talking about, but this is the first time you've ever come across as someone who simply takes something that is said at face value. Are you saying that you believe everything the government appointed head of a crown corporation tells us in the media without reserve. If you are then I'm going to start to worry about you. If you're not, then why do you accept this and repeat it without question?

I will accept most anything at face value unless my BS detector goes off, which it frequently does when dealing with Newfoundland nationalists.


BNB said...
WJM two quick points: You recognize Regan's announcement of significant investment in charting and monitoring the Labrador Coast as an example of Federal Presence. That proves my point doesn't it?

Nope. I recognize it as BUILDING on an already significant presence.

You also recognize that Sask. would have more Indian Affairs employees and N&L would have more DFO employees. What does per-capita have to do with that really? This is based on needed services.

Exactly. Our "share" of federal government services should be based on need. That's why that study from MUN is such crap. The authors seem to think that the civil service we had in 1981 is the civil service we are somehow entitled to. No basis for judging what is a "fair" civil service presence is offered beyond bitching that NL has lost federal civil servants as measured since 1981. (Guess what: so has Canada as a whole.)

However, absent an objective measure of "need" — do you have one? — the only way to make fair and accurate comparisons of any province to the national average, or any province to all other provinces, is to look at the per-capita figures. When you do that, you will find that the federal government presence in NL is higher than every other province of Canada, but for NS, PEI, and NB.

But only in Newfoundland could that somehow be a crisis.

Lets look at where per-capita fails. Imagine Quebec grows in population such that it is 80% of the population of the country. The Bloc is in power. What happens to English Canada in that scenario?

They would have 20% of the population. How would that be a problem?

You have forgotten the other principal of democracy that majority rules but with a protection of minority rights.

How are minority rights in any way infringed by the civil service workforce in the various provinces of Canada?

Quebec and Ontario constitute the majority of Canada, yet both provinces have fewer civil servants than their share of the national population. Every province east of Quebec has more.

Otherwise we would not negotiate land deals with Aboriginals

Land deals with Aboriginals have nothing to do with whether or not they are minorities.


Patriot said...
Call me crazy, but I just find it mind boggling that in the 21st century our federal government needs to chart the coast of Labrador.

Every coast, in every century, needs to be charted. Coastlines and technologies change.

What kind of federal presence is that when our own federal government is finally, in time of election, promising to do something that should have been done decades ago and not even be an issue at this point.

Much of the Labrador coast was charted in the mid-20th century. Those charts have to be updated.

Add to that their plan to add a coast guard vessel for foriegn fisheries patrol in an area off Labrador where foriegn fishing is not an issue and you really have something.

I didn't think it would take long for the truth to come out: Newfoundlanders aren't upset about the Goose Bay announcement for any other reason than the fact that they wanted the money spent "in the province", and Labrador, of course, is not considered sufficiently "in the province"... you hear that on the open line shows, too.


BNB said...
Not to mention there are some global rumblings of exactly which country has ownership of the Arctic. This is an investment long in the works for sure.

Labrador isn't quite "Arctic", though...

BNB said...

For the benefit of anyone else who may be reading this from Labrador. In the "Arctic" reference I referred to a news item which spoke of Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic and that there were claims on it from other countries. The item referenced "Canadian's need to protect its sovereignty". The DFO announcement says "Northern Access Initiative – will help Canada enhance its sovereignty, fill security gaps and meet our objectives in terms of conservation and protection of fisheries resources." and goes on to say "[it is an]opportunity for hydrographers to chart the coastal waters of Labrador and map its sea bed." Hence the Labrador and Arctic Referrence. Just for everyone else's benefit.

As for the rest, I'm not about to enter the futile discussions with WJM which I have described as having an argument with your child where every response is "but why". It's futile.

Patriot said...

WJM SAID:

I didn't think it would take long for the truth to come out: Newfoundlanders aren't upset about the Goose Bay announcement for any other reason than the fact that they wanted the money spent "in the province", and Labrador, of course, is not considered sufficiently "in the province"... you hear that on the open line shows, too.

REPLY: Please give me a break. Now I've seen your biggest stretch yet. All I said was the same thing anybody who knows the Labrador coastal area will tell you. The waters off the Labrador coast are not a big problem area for foriegn overfishing.

For you to stretch that into some perverse idea that I wanted the money to be spent on the island because "Labrador is not considered to be enough in the province" is a crock and beyond belief even for you.

I have to give you credit, I have'nt responded to any of your narrow minded comments for some time but recently I started to do so again because you appeared to have gone back on your meds. I guess your prescription ran out because obviously you are up to your old tricks again.

With that note, I guess I will simply walk away again before this starts going around in the kind of circles you like so much.

You really should have yourself checked out.

WJM said...

BNB said...
For the benefit of anyone else who may be reading this from Labrador. In the "Arctic" reference I referred to a news item which spoke of Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic and that there were claims on it from other countries. The item referenced "Canadian's need to protect its sovereignty". The DFO announcement says "Northern Access Initiative – will help Canada enhance its sovereignty, fill security gaps and meet our objectives in terms of conservation and protection of fisheries resources." and goes on to say "[it is an]opportunity for hydrographers to chart the coastal waters of Labrador and map its sea bed." Hence the Labrador and Arctic Referrence. Just for everyone else's benefit.

Labrador AND Arctic, yes. Labrador can play a role in Arctic sovereignty, but because it's relatively close to it, not because it's directly a part of it. That's what I was getting at.

As for the rest, I'm not about to enter the futile discussions with WJM which I have described as having an argument with your child where every response is "but why". It's futile.

Sorry to have asked hard questions.


Patriot said...
For you to stretch that into some perverse idea that I wanted the money to be spent on the island because "Labrador is not considered to be enough in the province" is a crock and beyond belief even for you.

Not at all. It's been all over the airwaves the past week or so. You can just hear the shriek out of some parts of Newfoundland that all that investment is going into Labrador instead of "the province".

With that note, I guess I will simply walk away again before this starts going around in the kind of circles you like so much.

Thanks for giving me free rein!

BNB said...

Let me be clear that I never referenced Labrador as being a part of the Arctic. You are a master of spin. You like to perceive anyone else as being totally ignorant of Labrador affairs - in that you are quite simply wrong.

Hard questions I enjoy. You aren't asking questions you are spinning my own words and that it particularly annoying.

Here is what I don't understand and I hope sincerely you can help me with this. Much of these posts concern protecting Federal Jobs and encouraging growth in Federal Jobs. As a federal employee I don't know where your opposition comes from?!

I could take the other view and say that WJM's proliferation on Blogs all over the web shows he is obviously spending too much time at his federal job wasting the federal buck. So perhaps yours is one job we can do without.

You have to admit there is some irony in me speaking up for your job.