Look, if you want to attract business investment into Atlantic Canada, you need people positioned in regional economic development organizations that play in the global business market.
Here are the seven new appointees to the ACOA board:
Ross McNeil, of Halifax, Nova Scotia – owner Duggar’s Men’s Wear
Darrell M. Rushton, of Stellarton, Nova Scotia – retired from Sobeys
Darren W. Peters, of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – Darren Peters CIBC PEI
Fraser Walsh, of Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick – Connors Brothers Limited
A.M. Lily Durepos, of Grand Falls, New Brunswick – Alliance Assurance Inc.
James Armstrong, of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador – school administrator
Marjorie Gibbons, of Salmonier, Newfoundland and Labrador – Vice-Principal of Dunne Memorial Academy
Now, I don’t want to disrespect any of these individuals. I don’t know any of them. But two are high school teachers (one retired). One’s a bank manager. One’s a small business owner and one’s retired from Sobeys. The last one is from Connors Brothers.
Not one from an international firm. Not one that would likely be amenable by the nature of their business to the attraction of foreign investment. Just think about it for a minute. Let’s say their at their monthly meeting and someone says “hey, we want to put more emphasis on attracting foreign investment”. Which one of these new board members would champion this idea?
If it were me, I would stack the board of ACOA with folks that understand the importance of attracting global business to this region. I would want a board challenging ACOA to be the sales agency for Atlantic Canada – promoting us globally to the business community in the US, UK, Europe, India, China and more.
I wonder if the retired high school teacher would agree with me?
But, in fairness, I haven’t been chosen to sit on the ACOA board, have I?