This is a serious question. I have been meeting with government officials the past couple of days and this issue keeps burning in the back of my mind. Someone please provide an answer based on some knowledge of the question.
Why wouldn’t the Prime Minister of Canada get on a plane with the Premier of New Brunswick and go visit Company X (a huge lead let’s say) and pitch the merits of investing in this province?
Because I don’t really buy this argument that it wouldn’t be ‘fair’. Ontario is running TV spots in global markets and advertisments in some of the most read publications in the world. Quebec the same. It seems to me that the larger provinces in Canada might not even need the PM on an investment visit. But smaller provinces like New Brunswick, with no international brand, having the PM and the country in question ambassador opening the door, I bet that they could get a meeting with Volkswagen or Microsoft or Nokia or Tata or whatever.
It just seems to me that the PM would accrue so much good will by doing a few of these each year – I can’t believe it doesn’t happen. Why the PM doesn’t want to associate directly with efforts to fix NB’s economic problems is a mystery to me. Helping site a 1,000 person manufacturing plant in Bathurst would endear him far more to the people of Northern New Brunswick than just about anything else he could do.
I am of a mixed mind on this. There are reasons why a provincial association has never worked in the past. Plus, if all the association does is set up golf tournaments and publish a directory – there’s not much there.
I would rather we built a strong provincial strategy to grow the IT industry through attracting good firms and helping to foster an environment where local IT players can expand. An association could be a part of that.
Here is the latest report on the animation software industry in Canada. When your industry is not even big enough to register with less than 1% – there’s not much here.
Unbelieveable. I don’t know what is more annoying. All the diving in the NHL these days or the Elections NB advertisments.
On the former, I remember three guys trying to take down Mark Messier and he dragged them along. You couldn’t knock down most of those old NHL stars with a bazooka. There were a few guys known for diving but it was almost a dishonourable thing to do. Now these guys – Crosby is the king of this – dive for a living. Sidney Crosby has the upper body strength of a horse but can collapse on cue. It’s tough to watch.
On the latter, I don’t know if you have seen these Elections NB advertisments promoting the importance of voting in local elections. They use cute skits to tell us all these reasons why we should vote – and the economy is not mentioned.
So much for alignment. Someone should call up Elections NB and say the primary reason to vote should be to put in a team of local leaders that can help make the community attractive for business investment and expansion.
It’s almost like any possible interest in economic development has been systematically bred out of the New Brunswick civil service – with the obvious exception of Business New Brunswick.
I still think this is a huge impediment to economic development. When you have the Deputy of the largest department of government disparaging any attempts to have her department think about economic development, when you have Elections NB listing all the important reasons to vote and the economy is not one of them and when you have NB Power not mentioning economic development or even hinting at it in their annual report – it’s a problem. A serious problem.
All of these institutions – at least in some small way – can have a positive impact.
PwC is nice enough to provide us with a list of all digital media and animation incentive programs in Canada. BC, Manitoba, PEI, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario all have lucrative incentive programs to promote this industry in their jursidiction (check it out some can be very lucrative).
New Brunswick has no programs according to PwC.
I think this is a bit of a shame. New Brunswickers are a creative bunch (IMO) and this type of work can be done anywhere (think FatKat). The wages are higher as well and most people find the work engaging (based on what I read on this).
I am not saying that incentive programs are the only thing that matters but if Ontario is dangling millions or PEI or Nova Scotia in front of companies, it’s hard to be competitive.
A Nova Scotia research group will look for deep coal deposits and saline aquifers in northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton as it studies the possibility of carbon capture and storage to reduce greenhouse gases. The federal and provincial governments announced $5 million in funding at a Halifax press conference on Wednesday for the research project. The project will be directed by Nova Scotia’s Carbon Storage Research Consortium, a group that includes the provincial Energy Department, Nova Scotia Power and Dalhousie University.
Nova Scotia announced a tidal research effort a couple of months ago. They announced funding for biofuels from waste plastic and now stealing a page from Alberta wtih carbon capture research?
This is good stuff.
Another big research win for New Brunswick.
Today Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orleans and Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole House, on behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), announced the winners of a special $15-million nanotechnology research funding competition. Five projects will be funded over three years. BDC assessed the commercial potential of the proposed projects and will help the researchers move their technologies toward commercialization.
The five winning teams combine the expertise of NRC researchers from several disciplines with collaborators from 14 academic institutions: Concordia University, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, McGill University, Queen’s University, Simon Fraser University, Universite Laval, Universite de Sherbrooke, University of Alberta and Concordia University College of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, University of Victoria and University of Waterloo. Each research team has also secured industry support.
Hey, be nice. We just got some more call centre jobs last week.
Alfa Romeo, the Italian sports car best known as Dustin Hoffman’s runabout in The Graduate, is returning to North America, and Ontario is making a strong pitch to persuade the company to assemble cars in the province. Sources said the Ontario government has held a series of meetings in recent weeks with officials from Fiat Group, the Italian auto giant that owns Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati and other brands. “Ontario is aggressively selling itself,” said a source familiar with the talks.
Does anyone know if Greg Byrne is making a ‘strong pitch’ for this plant?
I listened to an interesting podcast yesterday on the way to Halifax. It was a BBC documentary talking about the “on the sick” trend in OECD countries. The OECD has done research that concludes that while long term unemployment has dropped significantly in the past 10-15 years, the number of people on disability or some other health-related pension has doubled and even tripled in some OECD countries. In the UK, the government now spends far more paying for people that are “on the sick” than on the dole.
The experts quoted in the piece were pretty negative about the whole thing. They basically conclude that people who are unemployable or not mobile are migrating to ‘on the sick’ pensions to generate living income. They also called this a serious social problem as there are studies that show people that don’t work over time die sooner, are more prone to depression, are more prone to poverty, etc. Essentially, NBT close your eyes and scroll over this part, they were calling for long term structural government subsidization for people like this to help them work. Apparently they are doing this with some success in the Nordic countries. The logic is that somewhere around 80% of those currently “on the sick” could work – at least certain jobs and at least some time during the week. The government would subsidize the training and wages of these people to help them become productive leading to better social outcomes.
This is a European version of the workfare programs that were rolled out across the U.S. in the 1980s and early 1990s.
I have always wondered about this in New Brunswick. I think I will take some time to do a little analysis of this for either this blog or my TJ column. I have seen that seasonal EI usage has hardly dropped in the past 10 years. I will check the workers’ comp and other disability figures and then see the results. I know that social assistance recipients in New Brunswick have dropped over the last 10 years.
The point here is not to be heavy handed. In my way of thinking a lot of structural unemployment came about when we had high unemployment rates and now that the unemployment rate is much lower, we still have significant underlying unemploment problems. And, further, I have always felt that it is a drag on the economy to have upwards of 200,000 adults (compared to an employed workforce of 350,000) either collecting EI, workers’ compensation or social assistance during the year. It seems to me that we should be looking at ways to encourage more year round employment and work for those who are able to work.