Your chuckle of the day

Someone posted here a few weeks ago that the government does not ‘do economic development’. He/she said that the private sector ‘creates jobs’.

Tee hee hee.

There’s a Globe story today about the $1 billion+ worth of regional industrial benefits flowing from the $3.4 billion Boeing contract with the federal government:

Boeing promised to send $400-million in contracts to the West, $200-million in Ontario, $320-million to Quebec, and the rest to be spent in the Maritimes or in more than one province at once. An official close to Boeing referred questions on the matter to the government, stating that “we are waiting for further direction from Industry Canada.”

Now, just exactly who (or whom) is deciding where the $ 1billion in aerospace funding will be spent?

“We are waiting for further direction from Industry Canada.”

Now on the heals of the billion dollar auto partnership for basically Ontario, the revised multibillion TPC program for basically Ontario and Quebec, the billion ship building contract for Nova Scotia and British Columbia. The billion dollar biofuels initiative for the Prairies – one might think that New Brunswick is due.

Fat chance. You’d have a better chance playing pickup sticks with your butt cheeks than New Brunswick getting anywhere near ‘its share’ of that gravy train.

One would hope that at least one New Brunswick company might get a little ‘offset’ dough. But don’t hold your breathe.

But, hey, maybe we’ll get some dough to build another nuclear reactor to power someone else’s economic development.

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0 Responses to Your chuckle of the day

  1. Anonymous says:

    “who (or whom) is deciding where the $ 1billion in aerospace funding will be spent?”

    Here is a quick trick that will always tell you whether who or whom is correct:

    1. Isolate the who/whom clause.

    2. Substitute the word “he” for “who” and “him” for “whom.”

    3. Whichever one fits is correct.

    Hence in the example above, you would say, “he is deciding,” not “him is deciding.” So “who” is correct.

    I don’t mean to criticize your grammar, but this little trick makes it all so easy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think a couple comments are off base with this post.

    1) While the IRBs you mention originate from aerospace procurement, most (including these I suspect) do not have to be fulfilled with aerospace purchases. This is where NB has gotten it so wrong in the past. We need to be creative, and understand customer needs.

    We need to figure out what we have that may be attractive to Boeing and present a strong value proposition. Forget about aircraft parts; let’s think about aircraft maintenance software, enterprise planning software or a Boeing technician training center.

    NB has not gotten our fair share of IRBs and to determine why, we need to look into the mirror. Let’s put our heads together to come up with some constructive ideas that build on our strengths and attract Boeing, and other’s, interest.

    2 a) Regarding a nuclear reactor, here is an area where NB for once showed a glimmer of leadership in the past (Lepreau I). Let’s build on this. There are great jobs and research potential with the technology. These can be exported throughout the world. And guess what, the first requirements of the sector are quality and safety; for once, we might have a competitive advantage that is not associated with $1 per hour labour.

    2 b) Don’t you think reliable, stable, predictable-priced energy capacity could be attractive to targeted sectors? Sure we have to export excess power at the moment but let’s think strategically. Let’s focus economic development efforts on energy-intensive industries that combined with a good port make NB attractive. For example, environmental processes such something associated with recycling;we have two of the world’s largest city waste streams a short sail away (Boston and NYC).

    Reliable power and abundunt shipping are weaknesses in China that we may be able to benefit from. I’m not suggesting the above ideas are ‘the right ones’ but we need to start identifying and debating these types of ideas if we intend to take action that will lead to the control of our economic future.

  3. David Campbell says:

    You are correct about the IRBs and being creative. My only point is that these days it is not that hard to be cynical about the whole thing. Quebec ran full page advertisements in magazines demanding its ‘share’ of the IRBs from the Boeing contract (something like 60-70%). I’m not suggesting that New Brunswick take that route but… Maybe your point makes more sense.

    As for nuclear, you are correct again. I think there is a clear competitive advantage from having cheap energy – both in traditional sectors but increasingly in new economy sectors such as data centres. It’s just that this language is not being used in the discussion. It’s more about exporting the energy which is my concern. That billion dollar’s worth of electricity that NB Power exported to the U.S. in recent years combined with the fact that the utility has almost no internal internal interest in economic development is my concern. Why wasn’t there a strategy in place within NB Power to reduce our exports of electricity to support economic development here at home?

  4. David Campbell says:

    As for my grammar lesson, thanks but I guess that’s the reason for blogs, to allow bad grammar guys to still be able to post. You should see my daughter’s MSN chats. It’s all greek to me.

  5. Anonymous says:

    David –

    You are absolutely correct we need these types of discussions (re advancing the energy advantage beyond simply exporting power and being creative about IRBs).

    It seems we lack that ‘killer instinct’. We got the economy jump-started nearly 2 decades ago by leveraging our progressive telco technology and our bilingual workforce for the contact center business. However, rather than building on this momentum and advancing our economy into more sustainable areas (perhaps call management software, digital switches, or data management centers), we maintained the status quo and now find ourselves struggling to compete with India and others who have caught up to us.

    NB must return to the days where we had an assertive, aggressive where necessary, approach to economic development. We need to focus our efforts so we have a consistent, relentless message that establishes an image and reputation (like we did with the contact center industry).

    I look forward to the day when the Globe and Mail is (once again) carrying stories about NB’s aggressive, take-no-prisoner economic development efforts.

  6. mikel says:

    You guys said it all, but I’ll just point out that those are two very different ways of looking at the world. People have to decide which is correct.

    I definitely subscribe to David’s. You can’t take a poor, marginalized, disadvantaged economy and expect it to excel in these areas. Nova Scotia has had oodles of new investment and is excelling in all kinds of research and technical and educational fields and guess what, they are still a poor,marginalized dependant provinces.

    Federally, the system is simple, The money goes to where the votes are. When that becomes a pattern, it becomes a self fulfiling prophecy. We’ve had this argument before, federal money doesn’t go to NB because NB doesn’t have the requisite infrastructure. But how do you get that?

    Well, lets see, its far cheaper to build a car in Mexico, but Ontario’s auto sector is booming…why is that? That isn’t even ‘corporate welfare’, that is simply how the economy operates.

    However, NB gets squeezed from ALL sides. Notice NB DID have a port which it COULD have used to build ships now that they want ships built again, ooops, no I guess they can’t, because the feds actually PAID the Irvings millions to close it down.

    And while the Irvings griped they weren’t getting any shipbulding contracts, they didn’t even build their own ships at their own terminal. However, they still have shipbuilding terminals in Nova Scotia and PEI and will probably get some work there. Notice that they didn’t get millions to close those ones down.

    I definitely am not going to get on that bandwagon to become Boston and New York’s landfill, however, its true there ARE areas in industry to grow, the problem is, how do you grow them? Particularly when you don’t even have the popular support of voters.

    That, of course, has always been why NB and most poorer areas do the prostitute routine and give anybody who calls with a half baked idea the store. That’s why Irving gets a laughably insane deal on an LNG terminal. You can read 21st Century Irvings and even there they say this deal was so crooked that half the Irving family won’t talk to the other half because its done so much damage to the family name.

    That’s why you see potash giveaways for nothing so long as it provides the grail of jobs with no effort on the part of government.

    However, at the very least at least they’ve recognized that the changes have to come from within the educational system, which is why I suspect they picked such an undemocratic way to look at it. The OECD said ten years ago that if Canada didn’t focus on the knowledge economy then we are *&^%ed. But NB has always been a resource economy.

    For nuclear, keep in mind things change, like the latest announcement that AECL may sell out to GE. People may not like government, but crown corporations at least play the political game and ‘spread the wealth’ somewhat. A GE reactor in NB could well make the nuclear industry just another branch plant for GE. They have no incentive to put ‘research’ in NB, and don’t give a rat’s ass about political economy. Notice how right now there are frequent announcements about how the AECL is contributing to the refit, showing how much investment in the province they are doing. That’s political.

    GE has no such constraints. Its not like NB has invented its own nuclear reactor. Perhaps if, like the Chinese, they did, then that would be different. Also, if China is ‘disadvantaged’ by a lack of stable power then they certainly don’t show it, but with 20 plants being constructed thats not going to be an issue for long.