25 November 2016

Fractured Fairy Tales: Jerry Earle edition #nlpoli

Via VOCM,  the reaction of NAPE boss Jerry Earle to a study that showed the provincial government is overloaded with provincial public servants compared to the situation in other provinces:
Earle says while that might be true, there are good reasons, given the province's geography and demographics. 
He says even comparing Newfoundland and Labrador to the rest of Atlantic Canada is not comparing "apples to apples."

Jerry is actually right.  And wrong.

Jerry is right in that comparing the Atlantic provinces to one another gives them a similar demographic profile - see Richard Saillant's recent book - but they wind up with a very different geography. Newfoundland and Labrador has slightly fewer people than New Brunswick  but the land mass of the two is insanely different:   more than 405,000 square kilometres for Newfoundland and Labrador versus 72,000 or so square kilometres for New Brunswick.  Nova Scotia has a little bit less than the population of both NL and NB combined but in a landmass of about 55,000 square kilometres.

Logically, then, the provinces shouldn't have roughly the same number of public servants per thousand population.  But they do, as the AIMS study shows.

And that's where Jerry is wrong.

Besides,  in Newfoundland and Labrador, the overwhelming majority of the people on the public payroll are in St. John's even though St. John's is not home to the majority of the citizens of the province. Oh yeah, and being a fairly compact little space,  that sort of blows Jerry's idea all to hell that we need more file clerks because people live in Nain and Nain is a heckuva long way from St. John's.