In your Oct. 21 issue, you quote Brian Pallister, the leader of the Progressive Conservatives, as stating that the NDP was “not fit to govern” referring to recent monthly statistics on low job growth and poor retail sales in Manitoba. But his selection of two monthly figures does not provide an accurate assessment of our provincial economy.
In contradiction of Mr. Pallister’s two numbers, we can look at the recent comprehensive data published by Statistics Canada describing Manitoba’s overall economic situation during this year and revealing a positive picture of development. Let me refer to a few:
1) In the first nine months of 2013, employment increased by 0.9 per cent in Manitoba. In 2012 Manitoba ranked sixth highest among the provinces.
2) In the first nine months of 2013 our unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, the third lowest among the provinces and below the national average of 7.1 per cent.
3) Our retail sales in the first seven months of 2013 increased by 2.3 per cent, being fourth among the provinces, who averaged 2.0 per cent.
4) As of July 1, 2013 Manitoba’s population stood at 1,265,015, a 12-month increase of 14,983 persons equalling a gain of 1.2 per cent. This was the third consecutive 12-month period ahead of the national rate and was the third-best growth rate among the provinces. For the 12 months to June 2013, 9,522 more people moved to Manitoba than left.
5) In the first nine months of 2013, Manitoba’s urban housing starts increased 14.7 per cent, being the best among the provinces and above the 15.1 per cent national decline.
6) The Private and Public Investment Survey of Statistics Canada released in February of this year projected Manitoba’s capital investment to increase 8.5 per cent above the Canadian increase of 1.7 per cent. Looking at private investment alone Manitoba realized an increase of 31 per cent between 2007 and 2012.
7) Manitoba’s real Gross Domestic Product growth rate is estimated at 2.7 per cent in 2012, second- highest among the provinces. Over the last five years (2007-2012) Manitoba had the second-best average annual GDP growth at 2.1 per cent and ahead of Canada at 1.1 per cent. In June of this year, the RBC Economics Branch projected that Manitoba would be one of four provinces to grow faster than the national average in 2013.
Given Mr. Pallister’s desire to cut government programs and initiatives, Manitobans might legitimately ask whether he and the PCs are “fit to govern.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 24, 2013