Benefits of the big fish

I have always believed that you need to attract large anchor companies to support a region’s economic development – especially economically depressed areas such as Atlantic Canada. My pleas have gone unnoticed as the projects being attracted to the region grow smaller and smaller all the time. In fact, the last time there was a ‘major’ deal (outside of oil & gas) in the region was Michelin 25 years ago.

Interestingly, Northern Ontario has a new economic development strategy specifically focused on attracting, in their words, ‘anchor employers’.

But I digress.

I just finished reading about Toyota’s location of a 2,000-employee truck plant in San Antonio, TX. One year after Toyota’s announcement, 18 on-site suppliers have set up employing 1,500 workers – an unprecedented number at any North American automotive plant – supplementing Toyota’s $800 million investment.

You see, as I have stated many times before, these large companies don’t care about ‘just in time’ systems or ‘integrated logistics’ or any of the other crap that central Canadians use to justify hoarding the auto sector. In the U.S. they have set up in the most far flung places you can imagine and guess what? Their suppliers are happy to follow.

Can you imagine what a project of this size would do for New Brunswick? 2,000 high paying jobs and an additional 1,500 jobs among direct suppliers? Add in the additional jobs created throughout the economy as the result of new income and economic activity and you probably have 6,000 – 8,000 new jobs – from one project.

Don’t hold your breath.