It’ll make you stop and think

I’ve (we’ve) talked a lot about the auto industry in recent weeks. We have speculated as to the potentially massive economic benefit that would accrue to this region if we were able to attract one.

I have also noted that almost every new auto manufacturing investment in the U.S. in the last 15 years has gone to the southern US and locations as far away from Michigan as possible while in Canada, vitually all the investments in this sector have been concentrated in southern Ontario.

Well now I have a little statistic to put this whole thing into perspective. The automobile industry in August accounted for 12% of Canada’s total manufacturing output. Imagine that. An industry concentrated within a couple hours drive of Toronto accounts for more manufacturing output than Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories including Nunavut combined.

The entire manufacturing shipments from all of Atlantic Canada account for 5% of the Canadian total.

I think we should skip a step. Instead of cramming all that investment into Ontario, raiding Atlantic Canada’s best and brightest workers, and then shipping 10% of their paycheques back to us in the form of Equalization. How about putting a few of those jobs down here instead?

As I have said many times, I am not talking about taking investment out of Ontario. If we have $20 billion per year in foreign investment into Canada and 60% goes to Ontario and 1% goes to New Brunswick. How about raising the investment to $30 billion – Ontario can keep its share and the new money can be pumped into Atlantic Canada.

Wishful and naive thinking, eh?

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0 Responses to It’ll make you stop and think

  1. vivenewbrunswick says:

    Very wishful and naive, but I think it should really be a rallying cry for economic investment in both the east and the west. As Savoie mentioned in the quotes, what makes the states different is that you have equal representation in the senate for regional development. I think the idea of an american president campaigning to bring a company to one specific area of the country is quite alien down there. Here it’s just a reminder of why so many people are PO’ed in this confederation. Ironically, many who are the best off (Alberta) and have gained the most (Quebec)are often the biggest complainers. Especially ironic is that we see so much funding and economic incentives going into a province which may not even be part of the country for long.

    There is a very successful political series out west called “Does your vote count?” or some such thing. I was glancing through one of the books and one of the biggest complaints was about the EI program and how it created ‘dependant’ workers. I’m not going to get into a debate about it, what was interesting in this western series of studies was how the chief complaint (from a Saskatchewan economist, who is called ‘above reproach’) concerned “seasonal workers”. What is interesting is that they make the specific point of how the fishing and lumber industries were called seasonal. This was very bad, according to them, but what was interesting is that nowhere in their did they argue about FARMERS being seasonal workers. It was just assumed farming was seasonal, but fishing and lumber shouldn’t be seasonal since it would create ‘an industry of dependance’ out east. So once again we see how the east and west are kept apart idealogically when they should be trying to work together.