When it comes to attracting business investment into a region such as New Brunswick, it helps to have connections. Quebec, for example, has deep economic connections with France including over 100 representatives working in France on areas such as investment attraction, trade development and tourism. Virginia, has 18 international offices around the world and is working to develop deep ties with those key countries.
New Brunswick should have natural linkages with France. Acadie was the site of the first French settlers in North America. We share the same language. We share many of the same cultural and social norms.
However, New Brunswick is not on France’s radar. Our exports to France have always been very low but in the past few years have dropped 90% and now represent almost nothing at all. There is almost no French business investment in New Brunswick while a number of large French companies are located in Nova Scotia (Michelin is the biggest one). Further, of the 69,465 French immigrants in Canada (as of the 2001 Census), only 65 live in Greater Moncton and only 225 live in the whole province of New Brunswick (0.3% for those who like percentages). Manitoba, a province with a much smaller Francophone community has attracted over three times the number of French immigrants compared to New Brunswick (five times as many during the 1990s).
No business investment, almost no exports and no immigrants. Not a good story considering that France is the second largest source of foreign direct investment in the world behind the United States.