You see, now this is an instructive example. The Canadian government sets up something called Sustainable Development Technology Canada to invest in clean technology development.
I, among others, have said multiple times that part of the ‘energy hub’ concept in New Brunswick should be clean energy technologies and related products. But, of course, not one project in this round of funding goes to a New Brunswick project.
In fact, since April 2002, SDTC has completed ten funding rounds, committed $285 million to 125 clean technology projects. Guest how much has gone to New Brunswick projects? $2.3 million. 0.8% of the total funding. Less than one per cent. Of course, 0.8% is better than the 0.2% from this fund.
The truth is simple. New Brunswick spends all its time begging for more Equalization and social transfers while all the Federal funding programs designed to stimulate economic development go virtually untouched.
This is nothing short of a shame. Billions of Federal dollars – SDTC, TPC, NSERC, NRC, on and on – New Brunswick gets a fraction of anything close to ‘per capita’ dollars but for welfare, we get well above ‘per capita’ dollars.
And now, Daulton McGuinty has fought for and won the new federal policy of serving up Health and Social Transfers on a ‘per capita’ basis.
One has to wonder if old Daulton would agree to all the SDTC, TPC, NSERC, NRC, etc. dollars to be divvied up ‘per capita’ (Ontario gets the lion’s share of virtually all these programs – Quebec second).
Some enterprising and cranky researcher should do the math. Take the billions in R&D the feds spend in Ontario. Take all the economic develpment programs (like those mentioned here) spent in Ontario. Take all the federal government employment in Ontario. Divvy that all up ‘per capita’ (like old Daulton gets for health and social transfers) and see if New Brunswick comes out ahead.
That would be a lot of work but an interesting project. I, for one, would take economic development leveraging funds over EI or even Equalization any day.