"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Let's go back through out-migration

As a Census Eve special, for the record, from the pages of Hansard of May 21, 2002, here's a classic rant from Danny Williams, tying the Voisey's Bay agreement, with interruptions and the Hansard editor's excess baggage shedded:

MR. WILLIAMS: What about us, Mr. Speaker? What about Newfoundland and Labrador? What about the jobs here, Mr. Speaker? That is what we need to concentrate on, not 300 jobs in Sudbury, not 1,000 jobs in Thompson.

Let’s go through out-migration, Mr. Speaker. Let’s talk about what has happened in our communities in the last five years when 40,000 people have left our Province. Let’s look at the percentages over the last five years. In Portugal Cove South, 21.4 per cent of the people have left. In St. Shotts, 31 per cent of the people have left. In Aquaforte, 22.7 per cent of the people have left. In Peter’s River, St. Vincent’s, St. Stephens, 24.3 per cent of the people have left our Province. In Gaskiers, 21.5 per cent.

I am going to continue on, Mr. Speaker. I know it is difficult for hon. members opposite, but we are going to go through some of this list. In Sunnyside, 23.2 per cent of the people have left. In Heart’s Desire, 25.3 per cent. In Cupids, 13 per cent. In Ricketts [sic, i.e. Brigus] ,13 per cent. In Lawn,18.6 per cent. In Lamaline, 21.4 per cent. In Fox Cove, Bay L’Argent, Grand Le Pierre: 14 per cent, 15 per cent and 10 per cent. In Rushoon, 18 per cent of the people have left our Province. In Gaultois, 24.1 per cent in the last five years have left Newfoundland and Labrador. In Milltown, 21.4 per cent. In Morrisville, 22 percent. In Ramea, 30 per cent of the people, one third of the people of Ramea, have had to leave our Province and this government is going to send jobs to Sudbury and Thompson, Manitoba. Shame on all of you!

In Cape St. George, 15.4 per cent. In Lourdes, 14.2 per cent. In Port au Port West, Aguathuna, 15.2 per cent. In Jackson’s Arm, 10.6 per cent. In Howley, 19.3 per cent. In Hampden, 16.4 per cent. In Norris Arm, 16.3 per cent. In Little Catalina, 16.2 per cent. In Elliston, Catalina and Bonavista, 21.9 per cent, 13 per cent and 11 per cent have left in those communities. In Traytown, 18.3 per cent have left. In Happy Adventure, 14 per cent. In St. Brendan’s, 21.8 per cent. In Melrose, 13.7 per cent. In Carmanville, 12.6 per cent. In Fogo, 18.2 per cent. In Change Islands, 21.7 per cent. If I may, Mr. Speaker, I will continue. In Summerford, Twillingate and Campbellton, 11.2 per cent, 11.6 per cent and 12 per cent have left these three communities.

In Little Burnt Bay, 24.3 per cent. In Point Leamington, 12.5 per cent. In Little Bay Islands, 27.9 per cent. In Beachside, 27.2 per cent. In Tilt Cove, 23.1 per cent. In La Scie, 15.2 per cent. In Seal Cove, White Bay, one out of four, 25.5 per cent have left their community in the last five years. In Coachman’s Cove, 30.8 per cent. In Westport, 24.5 per cent. In Englee, 16.1 per cent. In Conche, 23.8 per cent. In Daniel’s Harbour, Cow Head and Parson’s Pond, 18.6 per cent, 23.2 per cent and 19.4 per cent. In Bird Cove, Bide Arm and Main Brook, three of probably the most beautiful communities in the entire Province, 17.7 per cent, 23.4 per cent and 15.8 per cent of the people in those communities have had to leave their beautiful homes and their beautiful communities to go find jobs elsewhere.

We will do two more: Sally’s Cove, 30.2 per cent. Again, one out of three, Mr. Speaker, and Bellburns, nearly the same, 29.9 per cent.

I have probably named one-tenth of the communities, at maximum, on that list. People are leaving in droves, 40,000 people, equivalent to turning off the lights in Mount Pearl and the lights in Corner Brook and calling her quits in those two communities. That is how relative it is. That is how big it is. That is how significant it is, and that is the level of mismanagement of this government.

So, Mr. Speaker, when I talk about jobs, when our party talks about jobs, when the Opposition talks about the creation of jobs in this Province and the importance of Voisey’s Bay, that is why it is important. That is why it is so important. Three-hundred jobs in any of those communities, or near any of those communities, or sprinkled through those communities, would be a tremendous boost to their economies. That is why it is so important, and that is just this year in Sudbury alone.

Note, for the time being, the following:

1. While Danny talks of "outmigration", and how many people have "left", strictly speaking, he's wrong. The figures he quotes are for population change. There are four inputs into calculating that figure, of which outmigration is just one. In-migration is another, and just as there are many people who have left the province, many have either moved to it (or moved back.)

The other two factors, of course, are births and deaths. For interest's sake, here's a chronological graph of both Natural Change (births minus deaths) and Net Migration (in-migration minus outmigration) for Newfoundland and Labrador (click to enlarge):

Looking at the out-migration factor in isolation, without regard for in-migration and the sum of the two, net migration, is a fundamental error. From 1972 to 2005 inclusive, over 416,353 people move out of of NL to other parts of Canada, an alarming figure... but during the same period, 301,941 move in (or back.) And that's not even considering international immigration and emigration. The domestic net-migration figure is -114,412, which until recently, as compensated for by a large rate of births over deaths. (For a fuller discussion, see "According to the innumerate Premier's office" from January 2.)

Stephen Maher of the Chronicle-Herald, with the best of intentions, recently made the same error.

And looking at population change figures, and attributing them entirely to out-migration, is a bigger error still.

2. Even if the population declines listed above were due entirely to people moving out of those communities, not all of that population decline can be attributed to interprovincial out-migration. A person leaving Bird Cove for St. John's reduces the population of Bird Cove by one, and increases the population of St. John's by one, but leaves the provincial population unchanged.

It's true that interprovincial net outmigration has, over the past decade, averaged about 5,000 more people leaving than arriving. And it's also true that interprovincial outmigration has disproportionately affected rural areas, although, until recently, the discrepency between St. John's and the rest of the province was not all that noticeable. With about 35% of the population, as recently as 2001 St. John's provided about 25% of the net outmigration loss; by 2003, that had shrunk to 9%. In fact, St. John's was, in 2003 (the most recent year for stats) on the verge of having net domestic in-migration; factoring in international movements, with more people immigrating to St. John's than emigrating outside Canada, the metro area already had overall net in-migration.

But just as significantly — and this is a fact that has largely gone un-noticed — a large proportion of rural out-migration is within the province. In 2000, rural areas lost a net 3,300 people to other parts of Canada, but also a net 1,000 people to the St. John's Census Metropolitan Area.

By 2003, however, the net rural out-migration to St. John's (1415 net persons) was larger than the net rural out-migration out of province (1388 net persons). Rural areas' loss was, and is, in large part, the northeast Avalon's gain, and every one of those people gained by the St. John's area, while contributing to rural population decline, helped stave off provincial population decline.

3. Danny attributes the population declines in many dozens of communities between 1996 and 2001 to the "mismanagement" of the former provincial Liberal government. Quaere, will he take the credit, and accept the blame, for the five-year population change which the 2006 census of population are about to describe?

4. Note the early attestation of the Royal We.


At 6:22 PM, March 31, 2007 , Blogger Signe Gillette said...

I see and hear this conversational direction often enough for it to alarm me.

I would think that people "on the street" are wise enough NOT to believe Premier Williams created or is in any way capable of changing the "tides of time" that lead to Outport migration.

Overfishing around the globe for many centuries destroyed the fish stocks in many coastal areas of our planet.

This lead to the lost of our stable economy - fishing. The lost of the fishing industry lead to outmigration.

Where do you see the opportunity or the manipulation of Premier Danny Williams in that?

At 10:29 PM, March 31, 2007 , Blogger WJM said...

I am not sure what you mean by "opportunity or manipulation"/


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