I’m convinced more than ever in the importance of good economic development policy and efforts. Brazil is one huge test market for such things and some have been successful and some have failed spectacularly.
The fundamentals are the fundamentals. Education matters. Transportation and communications infrastructure matters. The rule of law and good government matters.
Beyond that, there are basically only two ways that places like New Brunswick can be economically successful (defined as moderate population growth and that generate enough own source tax revenue to pay for government services). Either you hit oil or some other high royalty natural resource and you milk that (i.e. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland) or you create through good economic development policy and efforts the means by which it is attractive for other non-location specific industries to grow and thrive. This is the Ontario way. That province generates very little from natural resources relative to its overall budget. It generates massive tax revenue and wealth from non-location specific industries such as auto manufacturing, aerospace, ICT, pharma/biotech, film/animation, head offices, etc. None of these industries have any natural reason to be in Ontario. They are there because over time it became a great place to be.
That must be New Brunswick’s path. I have chatted with folks involved in the early stages of a number of Ontario’s growth industries and I continue to be amazed at how much government was involved. Through direct grants and tax incentives through to R&D funding onto targeted industry specific workforce development efforts, Ontario has been a model for government-supported economic development. Going back to C.D. Howe and before.
But now we are told by the experts that New Brunswick should cut taxes, cut regulation and cross our fingers.
I don’t agree. That is not how Alabama built its auto mobile manufacturing sector from nothing to over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in 20 years. That is not how British Columbia built one of the most successful film/animation clusters in North America and it will not be a recipe for economic development success in New Brunswick.
10,000 kms away from New Brunswick but never far from thinking about economic development.