ACOA is here to stay: MacKay

Minister Peter MacKay is quelling any rumours about ACOA’s future. He forcefully states that ACOA’s future is secure and the only worry is “the same Liberals who made cuts to ACOA’s budget.”

You know I am a supporter of ACOA and will continue to be. Eliminating ACOA and ‘giving the money’ to the provinces (as has been proposed) doesn’t make much sense to me for several reasons:

1) As with the Fed/Prov agreements under Mulroney, they are eventually cut (by the Libs). If you scrap ACOA and set up new Fed/Prov agreements, likely within a few years, both will be gone (if history is any guide).

2) Atlantic Canada has a population of two million. Less than half the population of the GTA. The whole point of ACOA to begin with was to formalize the Feds role in economic development in the region (read Savoie). If we fragment federal gov. ED efforts in Atl. Canada, we will end up with less (if history is any guide).

In my opinion, ACOA needs some retooling. It needs to be more about attracting industry into the region. All those multimillion investments by Canada’s New GovernmentTM to support large industry expansion in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, etc. should have parallels in Atl. Canada. I’d like to see Canada’s New GovernmentTM invest – through ACOA – in a $100 million data centre in Minto or a $500 million manufacturing facility in Sussex.

But that’s retooling, not scraping.

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0 Responses to ACOA is here to stay: MacKay

  1. Anonymous says:

    Major retooling of ACOA is needed. For starters:

    Key priorities should be:
    1) Focus on strategic sectors; we cannot make a difference if we try to balance incentives for every minority interest. Select perhaps 2 or 3 appropriate sectors (e.g. energy)and fund them very well (it has worked for the Korean shipbuilding industry, Quebec’s aerospace industry and Ontario’s automotive industry)

    2) Remove the responsibility for ACOA to fund community infrastructure and political goodies like conference centers in favour of a focus on industry attraction and growth. While ACOA is investigating, planning and announcing these politically motivated projects (see http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/media/press/press.shtml?3761
    they are diverting resources away from major economic development efforts such as attracting an automotive plant.

    3) Don’t accept the crumbs Ottawa feeds ACOA nor the welfare label that comes with it. Take a look at the Technology Partnerships funding that has been the driver for Quebec’s aerospace industry. See: http://tpc-ptc.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/tpc-ptc.nsf/en/hb00537e.html

    In section 3.3, they report on 161 aerospace projects funded at an average of $10M each for a total of $1.6B…now who should be referred to as a welfare state?

    The point here is if can get our act together to agree to a few strategic sectors for focus, then lobby for some serious funding, we can make a sustaining significant difference.