Between grief and nothing… I’ll take grief

Let’s call this one your chuckle for the day.  Someone sent me a short email saying “I’ll bet you are changing your mind about the importance of foreign investment now”.  They were referencing a G&M story that Pfizer Inc. was cutting its workforce and that it could affect staff at facilities in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.  They also mentioned the auto industry.

What a weird piece of logic that is.  New Brunswick completely misses out on a foreign investment wave that brings hundreds of multinational firms to Canada and hundreds of thousands of new jobs over a 30 year period setting up R&D, manufacturing, technology centres and head offices here (mostly in Ontario, secondarily in Quebec and then BC and Alberta) and I am supposed to “rethink” my position on the importance of foreign direct investment because 2-3% of those projects are under stress because of the recession.

Hmmm.  It is true that the provinces in Canada that have attracted these pharma, aerospace, auto, IT and other industries will feel more direct pain than New Brunswick but I’d take our share of that pain any day.  If New Brunswick in the 1970s had decided to develop a pharma industry the way Quebec did and we built up an industry with thousands of employees in high paying jobs, I’d take a little downsizing now as acceptable. 

This actually just shines more light on New Brunswick’s chronic inability to attract foreign investment.  A couple of the call centres are downsizing but beyond that we haven’t had much impact (those beleagured textile mills did not collapse because of the current economic downturn).  In the last few years, our forestry sector has been serious hammered by disinvestment but again, between having generations of good paying forestry jobs and eventual downsizing and nothing, I’ll take generations of good paying forestry jobs.

To quote Principal Ed Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off “Between grief and nothing… I’ll take grief.”

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3 Responses to Between grief and nothing… I’ll take grief

  1. mikel says:

    Well, that’s why the blog hasn’t exactly inspired a political movement. Here’s an offer, you can stand on the corner and ‘do nothing’, or you can stand on the corner and get kicked in the head. You’d REALLY take ‘grief’ over nothing?

    But that IS inherently illogical, a failed business is a failed business. However, its pretty well established that ‘home grown’ companies tend to put other priorities on ‘staying put’ that ‘branch plants’ do not. But using a quick example, say you have a philathropist who visits NB and really likes, or say some NBer saves his life or something. His investment could well be far better than a business ‘from home’. Irving and McCain are perfect examples of that, home grown certainly isn’t ALWAYS a good thing.

    There is also the point that it depends on how big such industries are. Governments know full well what happens when industries bail, that’s why Irving got money just for merely mentioning they’d move their pulp mill to quebec. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t painless.

    Finally, the textile mill closures WERE due to the economy, the company said so. They needed $18 million to continue operations but credit has been slashed so much that they couldn’t locate it. The federal government also said it would not subsidize them the way the US subsidizes their textile mills because the country is now facing a massive deficit.

  2. That’s crazy. The textile mills have been struggling for years. This latest thing pushed them over but there is no way anyone can credibly say the closures are due to the downturn. They were not viable.

  3. mikel says:

    Speaking of ‘hyperbole’. That’s hardly ‘crazy’. By your reasoning then Irvings Natural Gas Terminal is ‘not viable’ because they demanded an extremely generous tax concession. By that reasoning FatKat isn’t ‘viable’ because they’ve gotten subsidies from both the federal and provincial government. It’s the ‘pushing them over’ that is obviously the ’cause’. If somebody stands on the edge of a cliff and a gust of wind ‘pushes them over’, then the CAUSE of them falling off the cliff was the gust of wind, not whatever put them there in the first place. In two days people you’ve disagreed with have been called ‘crazy’ and ‘creepy’. Your starting to sound like Charles Leblanc. Chill out man.

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