Friday, February 10, 2012

Fit the Narrative or Die Trying

The still mandatory part of the 2011 census is coming out.  We start with the basics: how many people are there in Canada and where do they live.  The media has decided that the take away from Wednesday's Statscan data dump is that the West is Best and poor Ontario is in decline.  This is a narrative that we've been hearing for a while and there are those in the media who like to take times like this to keep telling their little story.  Yes, if you believe the papers the centre of power is moving West.  Unless the centre of power was Windsor, ON, I'm not sure I'm buying what they're selling.

The story in Ontario overall is that yes, it grew at a slightly slower pace than the national average.  However, all this talk about percentages ignores the raw numbers.  High flying Alberta grew by about 350,000 people in the last 5 years.  Declining Ontario grew by about 700,000 people.  If there is a decline in Ontario, it is highly localized.  Southwestern Ontario is a problem.  Factory towns like Windsor and St. Catharines either declined or showed anemic growth.  Northern Ontario is similarly stagnant.  These aren't particularly new developments, especially in the north.  Ignored by the media is the fact that the Greater Toronto Area is still booming. 

If the centre of power is anywhere, it's Toronto and the GTA is doing just fine, thank you.  Almost 470,000 more people called the GTA home in 2011 than did in 2006.  To put that in perspective that almost equals the entire population of booming Saskatoon and Regina, combined.  The GTA added more people during this period than the entire province of Alberta.   Admittedly, most of that growth is in the suburbs as people search for space and affordability but not exclusively.  The condo explosion led the very downtown riding of Trinity-Spadina to grow by 25.5%, ranking 7th in the country (5 of the top 7 fastest growing ridings in the country were in the GTA).  Overall, the population of the city of Toronto grew by a larger number than any other city in the country, bar none.  The media can keep telling themselves that Alberta is the new centre of power.  The numbers, however, are telling a completely different story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the narrative. Also known as the fairytale of lies the liars use to try and control you.

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