On many occasions, I think the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives adds a lot of value to the debate in Canada but their recent proposal to scrap NSBI and put the money into expanding “co-operative enterprises across the province” is not particularly bright.
There is a certain level of irony when a think tank located in the urban centre with by far the largest inflow of money to fuel the local economy advocates to scrap the only agency in Nova Scotia meant to attract inflows of money into that province.
The Ottawa economy lives on inward flows of cash. Billions of dollars from the rest of Canada is sent there to be spent in the local economy on the federal government and the vast amount of related spending.
But Nova Scotia, we are told, should focus on small co-operative enterprises in the local economies around Nova Scotia. Because recycling the few dollars there should give us the growth boost we need (?).
It certainly is possible that co-operative enterprises in certain industries could become exporters and bring in money to rebuild weak local economies in Nova Scotia but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
I like co-operatives and have argued they can and should play a role in the regional economy. There are industries that are suited to this form of business and I think a cohort of folks who like this kind of business structure.
But it is folly to think that Nova Scotia should avoid the General Dynamics, Lockheed Martins, Airbus’, Michelins, etc. in favour of co-operative enterprises.
I know the CCPA has a problem with concentrated corporate power and doesn’t like big business. But they should at least understand how economies work at a basic level. We need lots of new investment and new income flows into Nova Scotia if the economy is to revive – not a focus on recirculating the money that is already there. If the government isn’t going to flow in the money (like Ottawa), we will need the private sector to do so.
And NSBI is the agency right now meant to do that.