Centreville plant

Responding to my post earlier this week about a Centreville firm joint venture in China, a poster sent a really nasty reply related the good TJ story on the subject. In it, the writer states:

Thomas Equipment Inc. has inked a deal with a global manufacturing firm to produce its skid steer loader in China, a move that will see production shift from its Centreville plant by 2009.

Now, as I read this, the head office functions will remain in Centreville. I don’t want to be cavalier about this but China is a reality and I would rather have a New Brunswick company with head office jobs here and manufacturing in China rather than both head office (the higher paying jobs) and manufacturing in China. Maybe, we should make New Brunswick the destination for North American head or back office operations of Chinese firms. Or maybe not. But just burying our heads in the sand and using examples like this to say that New Brunswick should cut itself off from the global economy makes no sense to me whatsoever.

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0 Responses to Centreville plant

  1. mikel says:

    That’s the other side of the issue though that gets even less media play in NB than your views (which at least get some). And that’s the moral element.

    Conversely, what about a government that refuses to allow slave labour products in their forests? What about a government that says that if you want to use equipment for public purposes in the province, whether it be land or highway or water, then those products must be made in the province, or at least the country.

    In fact, you don’t even have to make it overt-you just use your brain. As we know, the private company in Miramichi is making the money from the highway privatization, so you can at least force them to buy equipment locally. That’s of course never done, as we know from Sussex, the ‘race to the bottom’ is pretty much just the STARTING point of negotiations for this province.

    This is, of course, what the atlantica guys were protesting and no doubt that will be always be a sore point of contention. But lets also talk about the ‘reality’.

    The ‘reality’ is that the US has one of hte most protectionist economic systems in the world-at least for its favoured products. So you can look at the Jones Act which protects their shipping-that is protectionist and shows no signs of changing no matter what atlantica says.

    That’s always the sore spot in political economy. In order to get the meagre crumbs, you have to play by rigged rules. Increasingly though, its becoming obvious that those places willing to chuck ALL the rules are those that win out. THAT is the story that gets NO mention in the press.

    So this is where its sad, you are essentially admitting that if this were just over 100 years ago this ‘blog’ or soapbox or newspaper or whatever, would be saying ‘ok, there are slaves in the US, perhaps we can get head offices of products now made by slaves’.

    That’s a tough sell on the street, and again, thats why ‘you guys’ are always flummoxed about popular resistance to change. People simply have far different values, you can look at the growing movements to ban chinese products, the olympics, etc. If NB were anyplace in the states there would be pickets going on outside their gates.

    I didn’t quite follow though, are the jobs in Centreville NOW and then going to China? Then I can certainly understand why that’s not such great news. Is the next ‘good news’ going to be the increased business created in transportation because all the machinery is moving offshore?

  2. Anonymous says:

    You suggest sending High (paying manufacturing) jobs to China with the promise that a few head office jobs may stay here should be simply excepted as “reality”…and you accuse others of “burying their heads in the sand”?

  3. mikel says:

    To be fair, David is simply wrestling with the same ‘reality’ as the rest of us. That problem is especially apparant in a place like New Brunswick. Those protectionist policies that I mentioned at the top simply have no way of getting traction in NB.

    There is no popular press, and there are no progressive movements of any kind going on that I can find (and I’ve looked). If they don’t exist at the marginal level then you certainly can’t build any kind of momentum to make the substantive changes towards a new economy.

    Hell, this is a province where a nuclear reactor and new oil refinery are seen to be positive BOONS. Even in ontario, which has been inundated with constant media barrages advocating nuclear power still can’t get the idea past the public. And an oil refinery, well, again, even northern ontario which has empty space all over blockaded the rail lines when Toronto made an agreement to ship their trash there.

    So in a case like this, then it does ‘make sense’ to say that at least if head offices are in Centreville that’s SOME good news, especially when compared to the alternative, which is NO jobs being there. If UPM had a head office in Dalhousie then at least that would be something.

    But yeah, if those manufacturing jobs are leaving for china, thats certainly not something that should be pointed to as progress toward self sufficiency or economic development.

  4. Anonymous says:

    In the interest of long term profitability, manufactuerers should produce where it makes the most econmic sense. If we can retain the wealth here, that is good.

    However, I worry that China is not on a level field with Canadian manufacturers. Not for the obvious labour cost factor but for enviromental cost factors.

    Most Cdn industries pay far more than Chinese industries to meet environmental regulations and they purchase energy who’s cost are higher (in part) because the energy is more green (as we know, just about everything is better than China’s coal). I do think some equalization for our local industries is needed on this front; not sure how to administer it but I don’t like the thoughts of businesses shutting down due to competition from Chinese producers operating with inadequate environmental regulations (or ethics).