It’s kind of obvious but for a small province like New Brunswick, timing is everything when it comes to economic development. Take the idea of electric car manufacturing. Just 3-4 years ago if New Brunswick had said it wanted to be in this game and went out and tried to make it happen there might have been some potential to attract a electric car manufacturer.
But now, of course, any electric car manufacturing in Canada will go to southern Ontario and it is very likely that billions more of federal money will be used to make it happen.
I am not naive. I realize that attracting tier 2 manufacturers (the niche guys now with big potential) would have been somewhat risky but there was no chance then (and less now) of attracting Toyota, Kia, etc.
My point is not that we should’ve been into electric car manufacturing. My point is that we need to get outfront of a few disruptive technologies or breakout industries (like aquaculture and contact centres in the late 1980s) and drive a stake in the ground.
Everyone is talking about wind turbine and systems manufacturing. There is massive potential there but I think the train has mostly left the station. 10 years ago we would have been (along with Quebec) first in that game in North America but now? A U.S. state just gave $150 million to attract a turbine manufacturer and the big guys like Vestas are running advertisments on national US TV saying they are creating great jobs “right here in the USA”. How many will come to Canada and of that number how many will come to NB?
Tidal power is one – limited – but interesting potential. I hope there are people at BNB brainstorming all the “what’s next” opportunities so that a lean and quick government can take advantage of them.