Toyota and economic development

After the previous rant, I thought I would provide you with some interesting insight.

A new study by the Center For Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says the steady expansion of the Toyota Motor Corp. base in the U.S. has made a substantial contribution to the US economy. The study, which was financed by Toyota, estimates that the automaker’s $13.4 billion investment in the U.S. yielded $14.4 billion in wages in 2003. Toyota employed 29,135 workers in its U.S. product development, manufacturing, and sales and marketing operations. Indirect jobs estimates are also significant.

For example, in Ohio alone, Toyota supports an estimated 11,000 jobs in supplier plants.

Interestingly, none of Toyota’s manufacturing plants are in ‘traditional’ auto manufacturing markets. They are located in Buffalo, West Virginia; Georgetown, Kentucky; Huntsville, Alabama; Princeton, Indiana; and Fremont, California.

Now, this last point in particularly interesting to me. Because if you look closely. West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, et. al. look a lot like New Brunswick. They are the poorest states in the union. They have the least educated workforce. The least amount of R&D, etc.

Yet, the second largest automobile manufacturer in the world chose these places to invest.

This is particularly interesting to me as I have explained previously in the blog. A few years ago I wrote Alan Rock, then Minister of Industry Canada, and innocently asked him why the Canadian government isn’t working with companies like Toyota to locate in Canada’s version of Alabama. He politely wrote back and said that auto companies need to be located in a ‘cluster’. For supply chain management. For integrated logistics. New Brunswick wasn’t a viable option.

But Kentucky is? West Virginia? Excuse me but I had a college roommate from West Virginia and he had a gun rack in his truck with loaded rifles. You think the Japanese have more synergy with WV than NB?

So I wrote Buzz Hargrove at the Canadian Autoworkers Union. Buzz being a native NBer – maybe he would be interested. But no. His economist emailed me and that auto companies need to be located in a ‘cluster’. For supply chain management. For integrated logistics. New Brunswick wasn’t a viable option. But don’t worry, we’ll keep fighting for more EI for New Brunswick (just kidding on that last one).

Are you getting the picture here? Every major large scale industrial investment with significant government investment in the past ten years has been sited in Ontario or Quebec. Pratt Whitney. Bombardier. Toyota. Bell Helicopters. Ubisoft. On and on and on. All with 10 or 20 times the government dough on the table than any project in Atlantic Canada since Michelin 25 years ago.

When we need foreign investment the most. That’s when we are the most disinterested.

Interesting dilemna.

I’ll say this from the bottom of my heart and with all the gumption in my soul. If Frank McKenna had courted Toyota back in the early 1990s and if he and his government had had the guts to compete on the incentive package, Toyota would have been in New Brunswick right now – no bones about it. And those thousands of high paying jobs.

Giddyup.

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0 Responses to Toyota and economic development

  1. Anonymous says:

    Get real, Frank McKenna went all over the world-what companies came here? Most came here because of tax concessions and investment in telecommunications, which McKenna invested in. Our economic base never advanced an iota under Frank, his PR people just made it look that way. Keep in mind companies like Irving and McCain scare the hell out of any companies seriously thinking about working here. NB is more like a feudal kingdom, and who wants to invest in a place like that?
    You are quite right in your analysis though, just remember Bricklyn when you want to think of how fondly the maritimes figures into the feds plans.
    Keep in mind that Toyota’s lastest plant is going to Woodstock, Ontario, partly due to federal/provincial subsidies, but also because the head of Toyota pretty much said that those in the states were just too stupid. Most couldn’t even read and pictures had to be used instead of manuals. As you’ve stated, as a market NB is pretty much the southern US.
    The mention of ‘clusters’ was actually pretty funny because when I was reading Lord’s economic strategy it was all ‘clusters’. Of course this is an ancient way of saying what has been happening since confederation:if you aren’t in Ontario you’re f&^#ed, and if you aren’t in a city you’re even more f$#@ed. Funny how in the media you never hear the word ‘clusters’.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If you want a real example of economic development forget about the pipe dreams of some giant saviour- isn’t that what’s going on in Nackawic? Isn’t that what goes on with Irving and McCain? New brunswick already has that mix of small and large businesses but is still going nowhere. Keep in mind we only have the figures the government gives, when you count up all the money that REALLY goes into them you may come out on the short end of the stick. I doubt Nackawic is going to be the Paris of NB just because a huge company set up there (aren’t they employing fewer people?)
    The right kind of schools is where the answer is, because the feds only invest in education. It’s no coincidence that every freakin city in southern ontario has a university. Waterloo has the population of Saint John and it has TWO. The feds put TONS of money into education, so long as they have a private angle. Set up a school for doctors and lawyers in northern new brunswick and you’ll see that place jumping in no time.
    Don’t feed me garbage like ‘you need more people’, most of the people at those universities now are from China and India-schools are a cash cow. Most won’t stick around, so you charge them when they get here, they don’t stick around in Ontario either, most go out west or to the states.
    Some of those people though will stick around, the big success story of Ontario isn’t automotives, which bleed the province dry, but Research in Motion. That was home grown talent who was fostered by the university and later the town, then later the province and now country. Don’t look elsewhere, the greatest resource is people. It doesn’t take much either, look how cheap it is to do content for television, radio, animation, etc., why isn’t this going on in NB?

  3. David Campbell says:

    IBM, GE, Royal Bank, ICT, Cendant, OAO, UPS, FedEx, Purolator Courier, Comdev, CIBC, Imperial Oil….

    Frank had his share of success. More, far more, than the current administration.

    Did they come because of tax concessions? No. Frank stubbornly didn’t believe in them. He gave them cash in the form of forgivable loans.

    But your analysis, raw as it is, is the type of discussion I want to see here.

  4. David Campbell says:

    Cripes, another person talking about ‘schools’. We already graduate twice as many people per capita as does BC – all heavily subsidized by government. Depending on the year, upwards of half of them leave upon graduation for Alberta, Ontario and BC.

    That’s a great idea. Crank up our status as the labour market incubator for Ontario. We pay for them until they reach 22 years of age and the minute they are productive in society (i.e. working) we ship them to Ontario.

    Until we get our economic development properly calibrated, I wouldn’t put another nickel in post secondary education.

    Don’t you read the papers? Ubisoft gets tens of millions in government incentives to setup a games development shop in Montreal and Quebec City and then raids the graduates of the NBCC – Miramichi.

    That’s nuts and, frankly, so are you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Let’s look at the McKenna years from another view from online sources:

    1.”In these days of high unemployment and increasing job insecurity, even Canadians who have jobs are concerned about their futures. Against the background of this deepening crisis, politicians and corporations are holding up the province of New Brunswick as a model of how jobs can be generated in the new, lean and mean globalized economy. But a little delving into the New Brunswick model shows that what is happening there is really very traditional. It’s based on making workers completely vulnerable to employers’ whims and then advertising this fact to employers to lure them to that province.”

    2. “You may believe that high levels of unemployment are a problem. But for greedy employers, high unemployment is the answer to their dreams because it makes workers more desperate and wiling to tolerate poor pay and insecure conditions. Advertising New Brunswick as the “Call Centre Capital of North America” the McKenna government emphasizes the fact that “There are approximately 40,000 unemployed New Brunswickers with high school education or higher.”

    “The province’s Web site boasts that “… Purolator Courier had 3,000 applicants for 400 positions in their national call centre” and that “New Brunswick has the lowest rate of unionization in Canada…”

    3. “Purolator and Camco’s centres elsewhere in the country were unionized prior to consolidation to New Brunswick.” (Translation: The McKenna government stole jobs from other provinces by offering employers an environment hostile to unions.)
    “NBTel is the only telephone company in Canada with non-unionized clerical employees.”
    “There has only been one unsuccessful attempt to unionize one centre.”
    “There has never been an industry attempt to unionize.”

    4. “Looking for comparative advantage? “New Brunswick’s call centre industry is primarily not unionized. Only 3 out of the 22 national centres are unionized, representing 14% of the industry. As well, over 58% of the non- unionized centres have Unions elsewhere in the company.”

    “Everyone knows that in the new, globalized world economy, employers need all the flexibility they can get. Well just consider the fact that in NB, “Northern Telecom has 40% of its call centre comprised of casual part-time resources, and 35% provide on a temporary basis through Kelly Services. Northern has experienced no difficulty in attracting and retaining quality part-time resources.” How much more flexibility could anyone ask for?”

    5. New Brunswick has the lowest unionization rate in Canada. But at 13.4% the province’s official unemployment rate is significantly higher than the overall Canadia rate of 9.7% By the same token, British Columbia, which has the highest rate of unionization in the country, has an unemployment rate of 8.6%.

    So why companies come to New Brunswick has nothing to do with government-except that the society is virulently anti-union. That saves TONS more money than forgiveable loans. Plus they get all those ‘forgiveable loans’. So they provide jobs-but they provide crappy jobs.

    So the question is, if the society is like that, then why isn’t it continuing? Well, ComDev got still more money, while Molson and Tembec also benefitted from Lord. Bennett Environmental benefitted not by financing, but simply by letting them run an industry that was even run out of Ontario-and we saw what happened, everybody is laid off. Irving, obviously hugely benefitted from the tax legislation so it certainly isn’t like Lord isn’t bending over for business as much as McKenna did.

    The quick and easy answer is that now there are tons of places in Canada and elsewhere that can offer the exact same thing.

    When I said above about education I meant like Ontario. Wilfrid Laurier is essentially a private school that gets some government money. You set up a university primarily for foreign students, that’s investment that comes directly into the province from outside, and you can charge as they do now, which is three times the regular rate. The other benefits are you hire professors, administrators, support staff, which means you have someplace for NB graduates to go beside elsewhere.

    Take a look at Sudbury’s new medical research centre. Local people contributed, but then once the other levels of government saw the initiative they jumped on board. Sudbury, likewise, has the population of Saint John (a bit more), but has a cancer research centre that New Brunswick can only dream about.

    New Brunswick would be far better off putting ‘forgiveable loans’ into expanding companies that have proven themselves in NB: The Pumphouse, Moosehead, Mrs. Dunsters’, Ganong. And putting more in building more such businesses designed for export.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The other side of the equation is simply standard of living. I know of next to no New Brunswickers who feel about their province the way that Islanders and Nova Scotians feel about theirs. Apart from the acadians, there really seems to be no ‘drive’ to do as you mention in your blog description-which is make New Brunswick thrive.
    The ‘race to the bottom’ for the worst corporations simply will not give New Brunswickers the kind of pride to excel. Unfortunately, the future looks as bleak as the past. I might suggest Proportional Representation as a way to give NB’ers something to hang their hat on. Being the first province to adopt PR is the kind of thing that can give at least a modicrum of pride.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If forgiveable loans are being offered, or tax breaks, why not go looking for medium sized foreign corporations looking to expand into the american market. Not all corporations are evil, and not all are looking for ‘the bottom’. The two sides presented here seem to be ‘invest in outside companies to come here’ and ‘invest in companies here to go out there’. The question is, why can’t the government do both?

  8. David Campbell says:

    Your analysis is well thought out and reasoned but, if I may, has a few flaws:

    1. There is something like $2 trillion worth of business investment every year around the world and less than half is geographic specific (i.e. Walmart puts a new store in Moncton). New Brunswick has not received its ‘share’ of this investment for decades. We need more and I don’t care what anyone says. We have spent 30 years and over $10 billion trying to get local companies to expand and we have less exporting manufacturing and services firms per capita than Ontario which spent almost no effort stimulating small business.

    2. What’s wrong with being cheaper than the other guy? Why do you people have a problem with decent wages and good benefits? Before UPS, Imperial Oil and 90% of the call centres paying $30K and up, most of these people either left or worked in lower paying retail or services jobs. If you studied Ireland at all they proudly took the moniker of the ‘back office’ to Europe in the late 1980s – early 1990s. A 747 full of insurance claims would fly from New York to Dublin each night, be manually processed by Irish workers and then disk copies would be sent back to New York (before the age of modems).

    3. Save your union vitriol for somebody else. The unions in Ireland took major wage cuts and were aggressive supporters of attracting investment. When was the last time a local or national union played any role whatsoever in attracting any type of business investment to New Brunswick. It’s pathetic. I did a thesis paper on unions in the 80s and the common thinking back then was unions were to evolve into a ‘partnership model’ with management with flexible compensation, fluid training, etc. to adapt to changing market conditions. Yeah right. More wages, less outsourcing and better benefits. That’s all you ever here from those guys.

    3. On the education and research thing, again, I think you are blinded by the bright light. It looks good and brings great benefits to a community but not unless there are other streams of investment. Sudbury is dying a slow death. Their population is declining worse than Saint John. One research centre will do very little to change this. I’m sorry but that’s a fact. If universities are feeding a growing workforce need – that’s wonderful. If they are feeding commercial research that leads to investment and jobs – that’s wonderful. But if the graduates move to Ontario – why subsidize their education? If the research never turns into jobs and investment why subsidize it? How come UNB continues to roll out the same examples of ‘commercialized’ research in 2005 that they did in 1995? You talk about Ontario. Waterloo has a half dozen new commercialized research projects every year. If UNB did that, I’m all for it.

    4. Almost done the rant. David Ganong recently said the only reason his plant is in rural New Brunswick is because of his historical and emotional ties to the area. And you want to give him more money. I want companies here that want to be here for business reasons – and yes, that means slightly more competitive wages among other things. By the way, I disagree with Ganong’s view of the world. Let him try and find seasonal workers at $8/hour in Toronto. Just so you will know, it is a proven fact that local companies pay 20%-30% less average wages than multinationals and offer less benefits. They also go out of business 12 times faster and layoff workers at a much higher rate. But you keep up with the romantic notions around ‘growing small business’. We’ll have another 30 years of stagnancy and decline.

    5. Finally, your comment about “medium sized foreign corporations looking to expand into the american market” is dead on. I’ll buy you a Coke for that one.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My sister makes damn good money-the top 1% for NB-for a job she hates in the software industry. She has no benefits and no security-they run out of projects, she runs out of work. She would love to work half as hard even for half the pay but the company refuses and won’t hire any more. She is near the top of the heap for software and ‘learnware’ development and she had a hard time finding this job. That’s the new ‘information technology’ cash cow’, the government has to keep giving you contracts or else you lay off your workforce.

    My wife works as a research scientist here in Waterloo. She only had a masters but she’s damn smart-and lucky. BECAUSE her boss is a plant biologist, and BECAUSE he got so many grants and government money his huge lab made an interesting discovery about lipids. Seven years later that ‘discovery’ has created a permanent workforce of ten jobs. Now, these aren’t just ‘good’ jobs, these aren’t just ‘live in poverty while you work as a mindless drone’ jobs. These are GREAT jobs.

    The whole reason we’re in this polluted, people invested, federally funded and regulated part of the country is because it’s such a great job that it really is a reason to live in such a place. She makes what my sister back home makes but works half the hours, gets a month off, benefits that only NB teachers and civil servants get (if them) and work that is fascinating.

    Moving to NB isn’t even an option-there are literally NO places for her to work. There is some industry around Halifax, but now thanks to Sudbury’s investment, there is an industry up north that can support us (and it’s where she’s from and its beautiful country, on par with NB).

    This story is true, but I don’t write it as an anecdote because it works as an analogy. If you create the industry, then people will come. NB will NEVER get medical research because it barely even has a medical school (only a branch of one). That’s disease research out the window, and disease research has BIG money and provides GOOD jobs.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is part of the above post. The ganong scenario makes my point perfectly, you say that staying in St.Stephen for historical ties is a BAD thing, which seems bizarre. McCain’s did the same, they were seriously thinking of moving to Boston, and may yet.

    That is EXACTLY what you want economic development hinged on. Because no matter how cheap you go for companies, they are always on the hunt for someplace cheaper and will keep getting you to match it (or they leave); there are a LOT of cheap places in the world.

    But ‘historical ties’ is not something that can be replaced in any other market. Another perfect example is doctors, where it’s found that these people don’t all go where the most money is, most stay close to where they did their residency or where they’re from. My sister has been offered all kinds of jobs in Toronto, many for more money and better jobs, but she literally sacrifices to stay in NB because she loves it-NOT for economic reasons. Economic reasons are only ONE reason that people-and companies, choose a location.

    Yes, small and medium sized businesses go out of business, and more of them, and why is that? Because there is no support. Meanwhile, a huge company in Nackawic goes out of business and wrecks an entire town. Now the govenrment has to step in and make things so attractive another huge company will come in. And the same thing will happen in ten years?

    THIS is a big point: keep in mind also that while government usually loves touting it’s support for small business, we NEVER find out the real cost of subsidizing corporations because the deals are done behind closed doors. We can’t find out what the Molson deal was, we can’t find out what the Tembec deal was. Now, if WE got great deals, don’t you think the government would have it all over the front pages?

    Finally, yes local companies pay less because it’s all they can afford, because if they are small they either cannot grow, or cannot be bothered. Mrs. Dunsters COULD grow to outside the borders, but the only way to do that (as anybody who ever watches Venture knows) is to go public and lose control, or lose control to the bank. So why bother? Meanwhile, the feds throw 56 million to Irvings and say ‘keep it as long as you match it somewhere’.

  11. David Campbell says:

    Again, I reiterate that your points are well thought out but you will just have to trust me on this. The most successful economic rehabilitation projects in the past 20 years (states, provinces or communities that have gone from a poor to a successful economy) have done it by attracting a disporportionate share of foreign business investment. This is the case in Ireland, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona, etc. Even Alberta.

    All those notions of growing Dunsters Donuts, however romantic (and you are right, offering more long term commitment/stickiness to the local community), haven’t worked and there is no evidence that they will work.

    All economic development strategies have good and bad facets and they are not mutually exclusive.

    I’ll say this. We need to have this type of debate in the public square. Ignoring the issue of economic development has led to where we are today. I am not claiming exclusivity on good ideas and I think we can all learn through meaningful dialogue.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If it was assumed that union ‘evolution’ involved ‘flexible compensation’-another way of saying ‘no wage security’. You’re SURPRISED that unions did’t ‘evolve’ that way?? What else do you expect from an organization representing workers besides “more wages, more benefits, less outsourcing”?? As far as the union debate goes, what has the union been saying in Nackawic? They’re saying ‘we’d love to cut wages and workforce’-so long as some people still have work.’ There are good and bad unions, and good and bad aspects as well, but every union, even if union administrators are greedy and selfish want more members and more pay-because that’s what pays dues. I have huge problems with teachers unions, I had tons of teachers that shouldn’t have been there but you couldn’t get rid of them, but take a look at Maine where teachers have no unions and look what you have. My sister was a teacher and lives in maine but is working as a receptionist because they make more than teachers and have more benefits.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Let’s look at Waterloo: did all those new commercial ventures ‘just come’ to Waterloo? Of course not, they came because of the two universities. The universities educate the workforce, then provide funds, primarily through the federal governments ‘technology partnership’ fund.
    Research in Motion came from a former student, so did Open Text, so do pretty much all of them. My wife’s boss was a professor and more professor’s are getting into ‘business’ because while they start out they are essentially subsidized through research grants. All of her boss’ students were paid by grants, but they all did research on his ‘product’. So that’s ‘outside investment’ but it’s GOVERNMENT investment. However, like you say, one does not preclude the other, since once he had in interesting product he found a billionaire american (Forbes) who basically funds the company because he’s interested in what they’re doing (they still have no viable product, although some patents-research is time consuming)

    Southern Ontario was literally built on the protection of steel industries (CD Howe in WW2) and the auto pact, that’s why Stephen Harper lost Ontario in the last election, he was dumb enough to come here and say that he was going to get rid of ‘corporate welfare’. Everybody here knows thats what keeps the automakers here, and in case you haven’t read, Ontario is on pretty shaky ground right now, lose automakers and you’re belly up.

    Let’s look now at NB. One growth area is Oromocto which is seeing rapidly increasing expansion. Nothing like Ontario but still the place looks far better than when I lived there. Why is that? Well, because the feds put money into the base of course, and have closed other bases all over the place, so Oromocto got lucky. However, while money comes in it also goes out again. If you have a mortgage then that interest and money goes to national banks in Ontario, not NB. If you buy a car, likewise gone. The only real thing that is left is food and clothing. SOME of those stay in province, but most not. Like Graham said in his opposition speech, there’s 6 billion in an investment firm in New York that is simply a ‘rainy day insurance policy’. Well, I think it might be raining right now. That also sends a message to investors, if your own government won’t invest in itself, why in heaven’s name would anybody else?

    But how many jobs were created by Irving? By McCain? These were home grown, unfortunately I think they were allowed to get too powerful for the size of the province but that’s just a personal opinion. If Irvings and McCains can do it, so can anybody else. The pumphouse has been growing under it’s own steam with NO help from government, likewise Moosehead. These are HOMEGROWN companies who will stay because they have ties to the community, unlike corporations who will pack up and leave. We really have NO idea what these Molson deals cost us, NB has one of the worst access to information records in the country. But I’ll compare the numbers who work for Irving, McCain, Ganong, and all the NB companies and measure their pay scales and quality of work against Comdev or any of those multi-nationals anyday.

    I’d like to see the numbers that show multinationals pay more than local companies. Take the biggest, coca cola, Wal Mart, McDonalds. You can work at an Irving gas station and make what you would there-namely minimum wage.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know how many are posting here but the various sides miss a big point: corporate taxes. New Brunswick has one of the lowest in Canada and has it brought everybody flocking here? ALL corportations benefit from that, small and medium businesses get screwed all the way along, just ask any small business owner. Almost no corporations ever get audited but for small businesses just about all of them do. There are two sets of rules, one for corporations, one for ‘businesses’. I lived in Vietnam and on the main street every house had a business in front and house in back. There was NO outside investment as it was pretty much a barter system. I never saw happier people in my life (probably just glad the bombs were stopped)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Here in Waterloo the happiest people around are the mennonites. They benefit from selling to us, but don’t adopt our business practices. That could be expanded to a whole province. There is a huge industry advancing in ‘non timber forest products’, likewise maple syrup, blueberries-New Brunswick really has it all. Unfortunately, it also has a govenrment that shuts everybody out of decision making, by the time ‘non timber forest products’ are big everywhere else, NB will be nothing more than tree farms.

    When your dirt poor you take money from any place, that’s at least how you have the ability to step up. Every NDP and BQ member of the federal government voted for a bill to increase EI payments and shorten work times. Every PC and liberal voted against it-including ALL the NB MP’s. EI is also money from the feds, but I suppose many would prefer they have the nice surplus in Ottawa to keep investors happy.

  16. David Campbell says:

    Anonymous, you have a lot of wide-ranging, disjointed ideas. On your union comment, I would strenously disagree. Companies are required to manage through difficult business cycles but unions can ensure that the #1 input cost, wages, remains inflexible. Then the companies are forced to take drastic measures somewhere down the line. So, to your point, yes union wages should be flexible. Absolutely. And there have been a few leaders in the union movement who recognized this. Everybody wins during the good times and everyone bucks it up during the tough times.

    To your comment:

    …small and medium businesses get screwed all the way along, just ask any small business owner.

    I don’t get your point here. Think for a minute. 97% of small businesses in New Brunswick offer their products/services in the local, New Brunswick market. So, if you want them to grow, you need to stimulate the economy. And you do this by investment. You can’t sit in Ontario that has benefited from some of the highest rates of foreign investment in the past 50 years of any province or state in the G7 and say that New Brunswick should forget multinational investment and follow some blueberry, maple syrup and small business path to economic development.

    That’s hypocrisy, my anonymous friend. Tell you what. You keep the blueberries in Ontario. I’ll take the Toyota plants…

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for getting Toyota plants in New Brunswick, don’t get me wrong on that. Are you going to SEE Toyota plants in New Brunswick! Not bloody likely, without your email I doubt Toyota or the unions even THOUGHT about New Brunswick.

    But that’s a good example, how then do we get auto plants in New Brunswick? Well, first off, we have NOBODY trained in how to make the damn things. So basically NB will have to offer up even more than Ontario, which offered 200 million I believe it was. You have to offer even more than that because of course the whole industry is in southern ontario so there’s also shipping of the various parts and training the work force.

    So first, I doubt if NB can afford it, second, I doubt very much Lord, on his many trips to the US hasn’t made just about every corporation know just how ‘low we can go’.

    But we KNOW that they aren’t going to come to NB, because it isn’t a ‘cluster’. Well, we know a home grown auto industry once was here-called Bricklyn. Yes, there were all kinds of the usual problems that all auto makers have, what is interesting is that it was a quality product, made in NB, and was oversold in the US. We also know the auto pact kept the canadian government from investing any money in it, but there’s no more auto pact-of course auto makers still have clout.

    So that’s an interesting view of the auto sector. You can keep dreaming about the Toyota’s out there and hoping the good fairy godmother will bring one, but some of us are trying to be realistic. Take a look at ALL of canada for the last twenty years and you’ll notice two things-a drop in the standard of living, and a drop in union membership. Meanwhile, there’s TONS of money out there, Canadian Tire has enough money to start it’s own charity! The Irvings are, well, when one family is worth that much then you know something is going wrong.

    For unions though, you’re mixing rhetoric with fact. Nackawic was already pointed out, they’re a union and what are they doing? They’re doing exactly what you said unions NEVER do. So in fact you are wrong on that point. Take a look at the Red Cross strike in Bathurst, these people are striking to be paid more than $8 an hour. These are people who are caring for our elderly and infirmed and they are paid like wage slaves-you can’t live off $8 an hour. There are two ways to keep away unions, scare the hell out of people, or treat them so well they wouldn’t even consider joining one. Which is NB following?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Don’t mock the blueberries, man. Economists may sneer at the agriculture sector but it’s a heck of a better living than the telecommunications industry. One of the biggest growth sectors is organic food. A bottle of blueberry syrup here in Waterloo costs me $25 for a 375ml bottle from a farm in New Brunswick. This is at a specialty store, but I buy because I know it will be good and I want to support NB companies. However, they almost never have it in stock because its gone so fast.

    That’s a markup you’ll hardly find anywhere. Keep in mind, the co-op movement does TWO things, makes people get a living, and makes people ENJOY their living, which no corporation is going to do.

    Of course this is just arguing ideologies, I’d be among the first to be overjoyed at ANY good job a New Brunswicker gets. The theme at this blogsite appears to be hooking the economic wagon to a star, so in parting I’ll just leave with what could be a New Brunswick blessing: “may the Toyota’s of the world find you and keep you”