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Thursday, 31 March 2011

We're all small in the big picture.

It's funny how a change in scale signifies such a change in perspective. Here in NL, we can certainly see the stark differences between a quiet small town like Tilt Cove (Population 5) and a more urban town like Clarenville(population 5274). They are governed by the exact same legislation but they are very different. Of the 276 municipalities in NL only 6.5%(18 municipalities) have a population over 4000, and over half (145) have a population under 500. So when we talk about the differences between rural and urban in the NL picture we can usually draw clear lines between the two, and we know that the urban communities in NL are few and far between.

If we step back a little further and look at the National scene, our numbers begin to look a little different. If you look at the top 100 municipalities in Canada by population, NL has one entry, ST. John's. No other town or city even comes close to making it on the list.

If we look at percentage of population growth in communities in Canada we do have one entry in the top twenty, Paradise, with growth of 31% from 2001 to 2006. Compare that with the top twenty communities in population decline over the same period and we have 3 entries, Labrador City, Stephenville, and Marystown. Not to be outdone by us in the East, BC has 5 entries on that list.

So what does it all mean for rural NL? Well we are in the midst of a federal election, and candidates and parties will be telling people what they want to hear to try and garner as much support as possible. Unfortunately the federal government is the most removed from the people and those parties, and people must struggle to keep a real handle on the needs of all Canadians. Just remember that when one of them says "we will support rural Canada" they are very likely talking about places that have enough people to show up on a map of Canada, and unfortunately in NL, those places are very few, and far between.

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