Can’t help myself

I couldn’t help but pen this blog. I finally found time to read the APEC study from last September called Subsidized to the Hilt? which looked at the level of government subsidization of business in Canada. The summary of their study in shown in the chart below. $5.5 billion in government incentives to Quebec in 2001 compared to peanuts in New Brunswick. All government subsidies in Atlantic Canada combined do not even add up to Manitoba. Even on a per capita basis, Quebec firms received something like five times the incentives as NB firms.

Business Subsidies
All Levels of Government
Annual Average, $millions

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not a big supporter of blindly subsidizing industry. As I have repeated many times for me the issue is to support the creation of long term, self sufficient economic development. Ongoing subsidization of industry is in my opinion the wrong approach to economic development.

However, it does say alot about priorities when places like Ontario and Quebec are spending billions directly to support economic development (without commenting on the merits of specific expenditures).

And, incidentally, per capita subsidies by the Federal government to New Brunswick firms are lower than all other Atlantic Canadian provinces. Add that to the lowest per capita spending on R&D in Canada and one must ask – where is the Federal government spending its money in New Brunswick.

Oh, yeah. We know the answer to that question. It’s a two letter word. EI.

But even at that, the feds spend more on EI in Newfoundland and PEI than New Brunswick and still massively spend more on busines subsidies in those provinces.

Well, we have a Premier that has shown little to no interest in economic development (aside from junkets) and the Feds spend the least amount of money here (compared to our neighbours) on economic development.

Sounds like a good plan to me. Can’t you just sense the prosperity in the air?