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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Feel the presence

Bond Papers picks up the Frontier Centre study on federal presence throughout the federation, and observes:

The study effectively refutes claims that this province is receiving something less than its “entitlement’ to federal pork spending. The comparative figures also demolish two reports released by Memorial University’s Harris Centre in 2005 and 2006.
Well, it doesn’t so much “demolish” the work of the Harris Centre for the Promulgation of Newfoundland Nationalist Mythology, as it confirms it.

The Frontier study says:

Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec have levels of federal employment that are approximately equivalent to the national average.
Just as Harris I said:

In regard to employment, the study confirms that Federal employment in the Province, as a share of total Federal employment, has been somewhat higher than the Province’s share of the national population.
And Harris II said:

As shown in the figure, throughout the 1980s, about 2.4% of federal employment was located in the province. That share rose to slightly more than 2.5% during the early 1990s; and this share of federal employment was larger than Newfoundland and Labrador’s share of Canada’s population. However, after 1996 there was a downward movement in the province’s relative share. By 2003, 1.8% of federal government employment was in Newfoundland and Labrador, which was little different from the province’s share of the national population at the time, about 1.65%.
It was only after the arithmetic turned out to debunk the popular, but wrong, notion that Newfoundland and Labrador a disproportionately small share of the federal civil service, that the HCPNNM turned to other figures to try and keep the grievance alive

There was the obligatory “we don’t get as much as Halifax” complaint:

The remaining provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba, all have a greater share of Federal employment than they do of the national population. Newfoundland and Labrador is notably the worst-off of this group, with the share of employment almost exactly equal to the share of national population.
And the statistically unsound appeal to the absolute number of jobs, vs. the relative figure, thereby discarding the only way to meaningfully compare one province to another or to the overall picture:

Perhaps a more meaningful statistic is the absolute number of federal government jobs in the Province.
But above all, there was the fixation the overall change in federal employment during the fiscal restraint period of the 1990s. The HCPNNM conveniently chose 1993 as its base case – the year in which federal government employment hit its historic peak – which made the ensuing cutbacks seem all the more dramatic and somehow (how, is never specified) more unfair.

Curiously, the HCPNNM does not appear to have to have made any attempt to update its research.

In fiscal year 2004-05, the annual average* number of federal jobs in the province was 7018, or 1.36% of the total population.

For 2009-10, the figure is just over 7500, 1.47% of the population.

Yes, federal employment in Newfoundland and Labrador is not only higher than the all-Canada average, as has been for as long as statistics have been kept, it is also on the increase.

(And perhaps when the HCPNNM does its follow-up research on federal presence, it could also finally get curious about provincial presence.)

* Average, so as to smooth out the seasonal fluctuation in government employment.



At 10:14 PM, November 16, 2010 , Blogger Hairy said...

Logically, shouldn't Autonomous Williams be advocating for fewer federal positions, as we go it alone, on a go forward basis?


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