Al & Alec

You know what’s funny? Al Hogan spends the majority of his editorial ink defending the NB government and yet he will allow little old Alec Bruce to write in his column some very negative things about the government. A few weeks ago, fellow blogger Bruce, wrote a rather scathing review of the Lord government’s economic development policy. And today, Bruce comments on the new ACOA study on foreign direct investment in Atlantic Canada.

He states:

Over the past 20 years, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Atlantic Canada (which now accounts for about 19 per cent of total annual business revenues) has clearly done more good than harm: increasing the geographic diffusion of new, commercially viable technologies; improving the quality, productivity and diversity of goods and services; and generating new, generally high-paying jobs.

Recent research by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council and others indicate that foreign-controlled manufacturing firms in Canada are more productive, more likely to carry out R&D, and are more collaborative partners with local universities and innovation consortiums than their domestic counterparts.

Golly gee, Alec. Tell us something we don’t already know.

Then he goes on about Ireland and Iceland and their fabulous success at attracting FDI. He states:

Atlantic Canada should be so lucky, if luck had anything to do with it.

Well, Alec (and Al), luck has very little to do with it.

It’s about wanting it.

And going after it.

And bringing it here.

Like Research in Motion.

Like UPS, Imperial Oil, Xerox, etc.

Like Michelin.

Oh wait. Those are either in Nova Scotia or from the last decade in New Brunswick.

Here is a list of the large FDI projects that the current government has brought in to New Brunswick since 1999.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

And don’t forget,

Oh, and

Molson? Foreign investment? Perhaps loosely defined.

It’s great to wax on about the importance of FDI but it should be followed up with a call to action.

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0 Responses to Al & Alec

  1. vivenewbrunswick says:

    Well we do have to fair here and tell the whole story. Michelin has been in NS for decades, it certainly wasn’t a recent thing.

    In NB, Molson, now a multinational corporation is more foreign than Research in Motion. Though it really makes no difference whether the money comes from Ontario or the US, NB is in no position to be choosy. Of course we don’t know all the details of the deal with Molson and whether the deal is really cost effective.

    At number two we can note that the Liquified Natural Gas terminal is a partnership with money coming in from Spain (RPC I believe their called). We all know what was paid for that deal-abolishing decades of fair taxation that now has New Brunswick looking to investors more like Cape Breton in the twenties. A deal that was so aggregious even the corporate ass kisser The National Post editorialized it and bemoaned its future effect on business.

    Third was the monstrous sale job that took up most of last fall in Nackawic which brought in a Quebec company and an Indian company. The government won’t even let anybody know what they REALLY put down to keep Nackawic afloat.

    Fourth, in Belledune we got Phillip Environmental which built a plant thanks not to money but just thanks to the province refusing to do an environmental impact study. The company faces charges in Ontario and lied successively throughout the environmental process until the right wing government couldn’t even take any more. In NB they were given carte blanche although I believe it’s still sitting idle with no jobs because the company lost all its clients. In Hamilton they were caught red handed with unregulated nuclear waste which they hadn’t declared or applied for a license for. With Lepreau and other nuclear plants kicking in, who knows what they may be ‘cleaning’ in the future.

    That’s four right off the top of my head. What this says is not so much about lack of salesmanship but more like the types of lengths NB will go to, and the type of ‘clients’ they are entertaining.

    Nova Scotia is well placed to at least benefit from R&D funds with more universities per capita than any other province. Universities in NB are, well, we know what they are.

    It’s quite true that people from away come in with one thing in mind, to invest. Most canadian companies are just barely treading water and are resource specific or else in the service sector, so it isn’t surprising that american companies would be providing more investment than canadian counterparts. In addition to that we should recall that since NAFTA many of the most profitable canadian companies were bought out by american companies.