15 May 2007

SK should pick friends carefully: Hirsch

Todd Hirsch, a former chief economist with the Canada West Foundation warns Saskatchewan is sending the wrong message by siding with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador over Equalization. His column appears in the current issue of Policy Options.

But the danger of Saskatchewan joining as brothers-in-arms with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia is that it conveys the message that Saskatchewan’s economy is in trouble. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The unemployment rate in Newfoundland is above 14 percent. In Saskatchewan, it is under 4 percent — behind only Alberta’s as the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Saskatchewan’s economy has grown consistently at or above the national rate of real growth, and is likely to be the second- or third-fastest-growing province in 2007. Strong energy prices, rising real estate values, a burgeoning mining sector and a world-class hightech research sector are restoring business confidence. Even agriculture is doing reasonably well this spring.