Crossing the floor pays dividends

Think Stronach, Emmerson and now Wally Stiles. I suspect this will rankle Tories and also backbencher Libs.

On a lighter note, that story in the TJ this morning about ATCON is right on the money. If New Brunswick companies can band together to bid on and win large construction contracts, that’s good news.

One of the problems that New Brunswick has is a lack of ‘mid sized’ firms. In the Canadian context that means local companies with between 200 and 500 employees. We have either giant firms (McCain & Irving – McCain, for example, generates almost as much revenue annually as the Government of New Brunswick) and tiny firms – something like 97% of all NB-based firms have less than 25 employees.

Those small guys can’t really compete on large projects here or abroad. But if they combine – maybe they’ll get the critical mass to get somewhere. I even like the GTech model where a successful local firm becomes part of a global player (I think it’s called Lottomatica). There will be a sizeable portion of readers that hate that idea and say that Gtech will become the ‘branch plant’ that will eventually be closed.

But I think that’s a morbid view of our province and the capabilities of our people. As I understand it, GTech is actually expanding its operations.

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0 Responses to Crossing the floor pays dividends

  1. mikel says:

    Unfortunately, head office corporate decisions have nothing to do with the capabilities of workers.

    Here’s an easy maxim-branch plants are great when profits are good, its when profits aren’t so good that the devil’s deal becomes known.

    I should state up front I know nothing about GTech, however, they are into electronic gaming, and people should at least be reminded that these companies were created by legalizing an activity formerly considered illegal. Then they had a guaranteed protected market as well as a protected monopoly.

    McKenna’s deal created hundreds of multi millionaires almost overnight, which have just blended into the business establishment. I’m not making a moral statement about that, but that is hardly ‘capitalism at its finest’. It’s simply a subsidy by a different name.

    They may be expanding, but its a big deal when the largest decision makers are taken away from the local market. Those who make the big decisions no longer have any stake in the local community-hence the problems.

    Just to compare, our local billionaire Ballislie (or something like that), is looking to bring an NHL team to the local market, not for any big economic reason-but just because he likes the community and has the money and likes hockey. Economic investment is sometimes as simple as that. But if he was from Ottawa or Toronto or BC, then obviously the ‘branch plants’ wouldn’t get those benefits.

    Hopefully this won’t be an example where you are touting it as a great idea for two years until they pack up and move to another location.

  2. nbt says:

    The jury is still out on Mr. Tozer, especially when it comes to bad business deals subsidized by taxpayers.

    It’s also a well known fact that corporate welfare is unfriendly to the environment. Business subsidies are often given to sunset plants and declining industries and, in turn, they are usually the plants that are the most harmful to the environment compared to newer facilities and sectors.

    Ooops, I see Tozer reinforces my satement above. Check this out.

    Btw, I’m very surprised at you David. You did so well yesterday in informing NBers about the poor business transactions funded by government in your weekly column, only to do an about face the next day and back these jokers.

    I guess that’s why I find it difficult to understand where you are coming from sometimes. Although, maybe I am too much of an optimist. Regardless keep up the good fight my friend.

  3. David Campbell says:

    One thing is for sure. The older I get the more I realize that I don’t know it all. In fact, the older I get the more I realize I know very little. I am just trying to throw some stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks. I think most of us agree that New Brunswick needs to go in a new direction. You would find very few people (at least among those that have a cursory knowledge of this stuff) who think we are on the right track with regard to economic development.

  4. NB taxpayer says:

    I concur as I know very little as well, especially when it pertains to the economy and politics in NB.

    Maybe that’s a good thing? because the more I learn, the more shocked I become at what’s really going on.

  5. Trevor says:

    As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.

    You are at least aware of your own ignorance which says more about the type of person you are and your integrity then some of your critics. Keep fighting the good fight and remain open!

  6. Anonymous says:

    David – you are bang on. Nothing significant has been done on economic development policy in the 20 years since McKenna focused on contact centers. We need new ideas, new thinking and change.

    The resistance and defensiveness of some of the posters seems to imply that we don’t need change and they are part of the problem. The longer we do nothing, remain in a state of denial or shoot down every new idea or concept, the deeper trouble we are in.

    Unfortunately, these posters represent the majority and that is why the Self Sufficiency agenda will be challenged. There is no sense of urgency, no recognition that we need to change. Your TJ article is a good start to helping people realize that, despite the fancy political slogans and upbeat political speeches, we are in a state of decline. Unfortuantly, instead of recognizing that we need to get better, people energize to justify 30% of the workforce collecting EI for part of the year. I for one don’t accept this as adequate and agree we need to be focused on improving, and prioritizing strategic, sustainable, intelligent economic development. $70M for a politically motivated yarn factory and $60M to bail out a mismanaged Caisse is not strategic, not sustainable and not intelligent. These sizable expendidtures can attract A class projects with an effective effort and a reduction in political influence (i.e. locate businesses where they can be successful economically not where they are successful politically).

    I am affraid that things are going to have to get a lot worse before they are going to get better. People need to feel some pain before they embrace change.