Ashfield gets ACOA

It’s a bit strange but I have five emails in my inbox suggesting that Keith Ashfield getting the ACOA portfolio would be great news for New Brunswick. The kind of legacy that McGuire left in PEI, one said.

Maybe. But I would be more concerned that Ashfield will be presiding over the slow unwinding of ACOA.

Tony Clement gets the Industry Canada portfolio and all the pundits I heard today say it is so that he can come up with the bailout packages for Ontario’s manufacturing sector. That will be the ED focus out of Ottawa for the forseeable future.

Dont’ get me wrong. I would love to see a rejuvinated ACOA with a strong mandate to support the attraction of industry and foster serious business investment in the region.

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0 Responses to Ashfield gets ACOA

  1. Anonymous says:

    Harper said the the early focus of his renewed government would be the economy.

    Let’s pray that holds true for Atlantic Canada and the Federal government’s sole economic growth initiative, ACOA.

    Over the past number of years ACOA has declined from a premier economic development engine to window dressing for municipal infrastructure and university funding. Not to take anything away from sewage treatment plants and traveling to university conferences but we have a huge prosperity gap to close and enourmous economic challenges resulting from declines in forestry, fisheries and other natural resource-based industries that traditionally drive the Atlantic economy. We need ACOA to be a genuine economic development agency that makes a real difference in transforming the economy. Let’s hope the new Minister accepts this challenge. Let’s hope the new Minister realizes that ACOA is not funded adequately to transform Atlantic Canada into a “have” region. Let’s hope the new Minsiter is motivated to develop a strategy that can accelerate the Atlantic economy. Let’s hope the new Minister is motivated to develop Atlantic Canadian economic clusters like has been done with aerospace in Montreal or the automotive sector in Ontario. Let’s hope the Harper government is prepared to fund the effort.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Amen to that. It would be nice to see ACOA funding tied directly to some specific sector development and business investment attraction like Slemon Park on PEI. Imagine if they decided to put serious funding support to cluster development in each of the four provinces.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The table is set but will New Brunswick (finaly) understand the recipe?

    ACOA merely signs the cheques; we need to put a focused, realistic strategy on the table. In the past, we provide laundry lists of political issues rather than economic issues.

    There has never been a better time to get it right. Will we learn from past mistakes?