Last month, I wrote about the move to shift power rate increases from residences to industrial users.
Now, I am reading about business leaders, industry associations and even unions decrying this move. One union rep said he ‘didn’t want to become an Albertan’ – a not so subtle reference to what would happen when the forestry industry collapses.
Ain’t economic development neat? Announce a $250 million bailout for the forestry sector in December and what will ultimately amount to $500 million or more in increased energy costs (over five years).
That’s the same logic that was used when they cut personal tax rates by a bit and then increased gas taxes such that the net for the average NBer was about nil.
Always the pragmatic, I continue to say: what’s next? Mismanagement at NB Power (or bad luck) has led to the fastest increases in power rates in Canada. Low industrial rates were held up by the McKenna government as a benefit for businesses to set up shop here. Now that’s gone. This will impact both existing business and our ability to attract more.
So, what’s next? Now we will have to turn our attention to industries that don’t need cheap power.
We face the real possibility of an even increased out-migration over the next 5-10 years unless we get serious about the economy. Don’t forget that we have had 14 straight years of out-migration already.
Maybe when the new PM gets over the flu, he’ll swoop down and save us
But before I go, I’ll give you the good news. Michelin just announced a $92 million expansion of its Waterville plant in Nova Scotia. Crossley Carpets justed finished a 150 person expansion at their Truro manufacturing plant. An article in Today’s Trucking this month is reporting that the Port of Halifax is poised for a major breakthrough.
But never fear. We have the Prosperity Plan which will bring riches for all.