Throne speech and economic development

Like most throne speeches the one yesterday was vauge on details.  However, there were a few interesting points related to economic development.

To fuel the ingenuity of Canada’s best and brightest and bring innovative products to market, our Government will build on the unprecedented investments in Canada’s Economic Action Plan by bolstering its Science and Technology Strategy. It will launch a digital economy strategy to drive the adoption of new technology across the economy.

“drive the adoption of new technology” is one of those buzz phrases that needs to be used carefully.  Adoption is not the point.  We want to deploy technology to enhance productivity, drive innovation, better market access and/or increase productivity.  What is the strategy for leveraging technology? 

Our Government will extend support for advanced research, development and prototyping of new space-based technologies, especially in support of Arctic sovereignty.

Space-based technologies, Arctic soverereignty.  Two interesting areas.

Our Government will open Canada’s doors further to venture capital and to foreign investment in key sectors, including the satellite and telecommunications industries, giving Canadian firms access to the funds and expertise they need.

Most people I talk to on this issue say it is not the lack of venture capital but the lack of good projects of interest to the VCs in a place lik New Brunswwick.

While safeguarding Canada’s national security, our Government will ensure that unnecessary regulation does not inhibit the growth of Canada’s uranium mining industry by unduly restricting foreign investment. It will also expand investment promotion in key markets.

Interesting how these two issues were tied together.  Remember the talk of uranium mining in New Brunswick?  A few placards and editorials and that went away.  I guess Saskatchewan gets a monopoly on uranium mining.  Who’d a thunk it?

As for expanding investment promotion in key markets.   Good idea.  Won’t do much for Atlantic Canada – particularly NB.  As I have said many times before the number of investment ‘leads’ coming from federal investment promotion to New Brunswick is approaching ‘zero’.  I don’t expect that to change.  I think I mentioned before the time I interviewed a senior Invest in Canada official who went way off script and complained about whiny Atlantic Canada and concluded by saying that when “we are in Germany pitching Canada to Siemens, we are going to focus on our assets – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, maybe Calgary but never Halifax or Moncton”.  Nuff said on that.

It will take further steps to support the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers. And recognizing the strategic importance of a strong domestic shipbuilding industry, it will continue to support the industry’s sustainable development through a long-term approach to federal procurement.

This could be really good for Nova Scotia.

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One Response to Throne speech and economic development

  1. pat hanratty says:

    How about if New Brunswick actually took the lead in promoting local investment in new and growing businesses? I believe there are lots of great ideas out there, but the venture capital people and BNB are too concerned with attracting the big names, so they can get a big bang for their buck.
    Nova Scotia has a much better track record on this and actually uses the CEDIF model to allow people to self direct RRSP funds towards financing local projects.

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