It seems that the Newfoundland offshore revenue deal is not going to go away. Premier McGuinty has said that he will press the Federal government for as long as it takes to reduce the level of funding that Ontario pays for Atlantic Canada and other poor provinces.
I had figured that this sentiment was coming – I had expected it to come, however; from Alberta.
What I have to say to Premier McGuinty is this. If you succeed and cut Ontario’s subsidization of health care and education in Atlantic Canada, what have you achieved?
Putting the squeeze on Atlantic Canada will only breed more resentment, hostility and ultimately frustration that could jeopardize Confederation as we know it.
The systemic underperformance of any region in a country has to be a shared responsibility. Atlantic Canadians paid to subsidize the St. Lawrence Seaway which effectively cut off Atlantic Canada as a trade route to Central Canada. Going further back, Atlantic Canadians subsidized the colonization of the West – and yes, the only province that has ever gone bankrupt in Canada – Alberta.
Premier McGuinty would be wise to follow my advice. If he wants to reduce the amount that Ontario pays into Equalization, he should support efforts to stimulate the economy of Atlantic Canada. As this region grows, our need for his welfare will be diminished.
Ever wonder why there is no meaningful automobile sector in Atlantic Canada (outside of Michelin and I wouldn’t underestimate their impact)?
Oh, you say, it has to do with just in time inventory systems, integrated logistics, the cluster effect, and so on.
Yeah? Tell that to Alabama. Tell that to South Carolina. Tell that to Ireland. Tell that to Curitiba, Brazil – all with no ‘integrated logistics’, JIT or another BS excuse. All of these areas and more grew large auto sectors from scratch in about the same geographic and economic situation as Atlantic Canada.
There is no auto industry in Atlantic Canada for one reason as far as I can see. Ontario and Buzz Hargrove (a native New Brunswicker) would never let it happen.
How’s this for a strategy? Next time Buzz is negotiating with GM, Ford or the others, he negotiates into the contract a major plant for Moncton? How about the Federal government providing $500 million (that’s how much they are giving the auto sector in this round of incentives) to start an auto sector in Atlantic Canada?
Not a chance.
Easier to give us EI and welfare.
Until McGuinty blows his top.