Be smart

The TJ has a story today about potential new funds to help Dalhousie transition from the latest mill closure. It’s federal money with this description:

The fund is available to companies that create jobs, to entrepreneurs looking to start businesses, to help market products, support a revitalization committee and pay consultants who study if and how the mill could be converted to other uses.

Think this through for a minute. There are already programs to ‘help companies that create jobs’ and for ‘entrepreneurs looking to start businesses’ and for companies to ‘market products’. Existing programs. So, when they add new money what does that mean? I certainly hope it doesn’t mean that even more speculative projects get funding – just to show they (the government) are interested.

I think they should use any new money to think through what Dalhousie 2.0 might look like. I think this old school approach of throwing in a cash injection after a mill closure, hasn’t worked in the past and is unlikely to work in the future.

What is Dalhousie’s economic foundation for the 21st century? It’s that simple. What types of jobs would keep young people in the region (here’s a hint, ask them)? Can we transition existing mill workers or do we need a 10 year stopgap solution while we work on a permanent transition to a dynamic 21st century economy? Or should we continue the de facto policy of hollowing out the North?

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0 Responses to Be smart

  1. mikel says:

    But there’s the rub. We’ve already got a corporate run government. You get money if you have a certain size or certain connections. How do you ‘give money’ to people who don’t ask?

    So lets be proactive for once, the government is ASKING, so how about SAYING where to put the money. They are even saying they will give money to consultants for such decisions-but if ‘we’ take no part, then ‘we’ can’t complain that they aren’t listening to us. There is plenty of evidence that they WON”T listen, but that can’t be taken as a given.

    So who has talked to Dalhousie councillors or businesspeople? What ideas are being pitched and by whom, and what ideas do WE want to see? From the sounds of it they are already asking the same questions you end up with (sort of). No doubt they would welcome another corporate doing the exact same thing, but not necessarily.

    So you have a town, a huge building, lots of available cheap labour. What do you do?

  2. nbt says:

    That’s a tough call. I think what New Brunswick is missing is a healthy competitive economic environment. Up until now, when it comes to our forest industry, we have suffered significantly because of the huge corporate welfare deals [via the TPC and DIPP] which have mainly gone to Irving reforestation and have left other companies to shoulder the burden.

    Not only that, many of the other companies notice this and therefore write in such things to their business plans as well. Bottom line, corporate welfare has been inherently bad for the entire industry because it has weakened competition and innovation significantly.