Professors and researchers from the University of New Brunswick are helping New Brunswickers make sense of the issues, ideas, policies, politics and themes that are part of the 2010 provincial election. Here are some recent stories feature UNB faculty & staff:

A new deal for N.B.’s largest cities

Kurt Peacock, urban researcher, UNB Saint John

If the urban regions of Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John were combined to form one single economic unit, it would house one out of every two New Brunswickers, and have greater metropolitan clout over New Brunswick affairs than Halifax has over Nova Scotia, Toronto over Ontario, or Montreal over the province of Quebec.

Unfortunately, they are not one single economic unit, but instead three separate cities that spend about as much time fighting with their more affluent suburbs over shared services as they do secretly fretting that the city an hour away has more clout at the provincial cabinet table.

Instead of working together to ensure that southern New Brunswick — and by extension, the entire province — grows stronger economically, our largest cities more often behave like three cats in a paper bag. And successive provincial governments have done little to curb the territorial jealousies.

Read the full analysis at CBC New Brunswick’s special New Brunswick Election 2010 site.

Women in politics: Why is it an issue?

Joanna Everitt, political science professor and the dean of arts at UNB Saint John. 

Canada prides itself as being a democracy. We have universal suffrage. We have free and fair elections and we have majority rule with a constitution that protects minority rights.

However, one of the hallmarks of a democracy is that it is representative of the diversity and of the interests of its citizens. In this case Canada, and New Brunswick in particular, fails the democratic test.

While there are many groups and identities within the Canadian political system that are clearly under-represented, the most obvious example is the case of women.

Women comprise more than 50 per cent of the Canadian population, yet despite substantial social and economic change in recent decades they remain seriously under-represented in our political institutions.

Read the full analysis at CBC New Brunswick’s special New Brunswick Election 2010 site.

Scrap fixed election date law: N.B. expert

Don Desserud, political scientist, UNB Saint John

A political scientist says New Brunswick’s experiment with a fixed election date has been a failure and should be scrapped.

Several governments across Canada, including the federal government, have adopted four-year fixed terms.

Proponents argue that fixed terms remove built-in advantages for the incumbent government, levelling the playing field for all political parties in an election campaign.

But Don Desserud, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, writes in an election analysis for CBC News that for any advantages the new system has brought, it has created additional headaches.

“Fixed-date elections make election planning more convenient. However, the price we are paying for this convenience is a system that favours the party in power and serves only to convince the voting public that elections are horrendously boring and nasty affairs,” Desserud writes.

“The old system has its faults, but surely those faults can be corrected. I think we should return to the old system.”

Read the full story at CBC New Brunswick’s website.

Creating a new future for N.B.’s forests

Thomas Beckley, forestry professor, UNB Fredericton

New Brunswick is a forested province and for the past two centuries
forests have been a driver for the economy. There have been periods of
major structural re-adjustment as the nature of the forest economy has
changed, but until very recently it has been an economic mainstay.

Those days may be over.

The forest sector only employs half as many direct employees as it
did only a decade ago, and employment in those sectors is not likely to
rebound to previous levels even if production does.

However, that does not mean our forests no longer have value. Quite
the contrary, our forests are more valuable than ever, but not in the
sense that they provide raw materials for commodities that we can
export.

Read the full analysis at CBC New Brunswick’s special election website.

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