Let’s call this one your chuckle for the day. Someone sent me a short email saying “I’ll bet you are changing your mind about the importance of foreign investment now”. They were referencing a G&M story that Pfizer Inc. was cutting its workforce and that it could affect staff at facilities in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. They also mentioned the auto industry.
What a weird piece of logic that is. New Brunswick completely misses out on a foreign investment wave that brings hundreds of multinational firms to Canada and hundreds of thousands of new jobs over a 30 year period setting up R&D, manufacturing, technology centres and head offices here (mostly in Ontario, secondarily in Quebec and then BC and Alberta) and I am supposed to “rethink” my position on the importance of foreign direct investment because 2-3% of those projects are under stress because of the recession.
Hmmm. It is true that the provinces in Canada that have attracted these pharma, aerospace, auto, IT and other industries will feel more direct pain than New Brunswick but I’d take our share of that pain any day. If New Brunswick in the 1970s had decided to develop a pharma industry the way Quebec did and we built up an industry with thousands of employees in high paying jobs, I’d take a little downsizing now as acceptable.
This actually just shines more light on New Brunswick’s chronic inability to attract foreign investment. A couple of the call centres are downsizing but beyond that we haven’t had much impact (those beleagured textile mills did not collapse because of the current economic downturn). In the last few years, our forestry sector has been serious hammered by disinvestment but again, between having generations of good paying forestry jobs and eventual downsizing and nothing, I’ll take generations of good paying forestry jobs.
To quote Principal Ed Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off “Between grief and nothing… I’ll take grief.”