I constantly wonder why the provincial and federal governments aren’t trying to attract large, multinational firms to New Brunswick to help get us out of this mess we are in. In fact, I wrote Allan Rock when he was Minister of Industry. I got a nice, polite letter back stating that these large firms like to locate in a ‘cluster’, in large urban markets with integrated supply logistics to support just-in-time inventories – yadda, yadda, yadda.
So, just for fun, I wrote Buzz Hargrove and asked why he hasn’t pushed to get an auto manufacturer in his home province, New Brunswick. His chief economist emailed me and said that large firms like to locate in a ‘cluster’, in large urban markets with integrated supply logistics to support just-in-time inventories – yadda, yadda, yadda.
The only problem I have with the government and the unions is that their logic flies in the face of every other country I have studied from Ireland to Brazil to the United States.
Consider an announcement this week. The parent company of European aircraft maker Airbus SAS has selected four Southern states as finalists for a $600 million U.S. factory to build refueling tankers for the U.S. military. Sites in Mobile, Ala. (population 193,000); Melbourne, Fla. (population 75,000); Kiln, Miss.(population 2,000); and North Charleston, S.C.(population 82,000), will compete for the right to host the U.S. factory, which could begin operations as soon as next year.
Now, these four locations are about as far from New York, Boston, Chicago, LA (the U.S. versions of Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver) as you can get. Just about similar to say, Atlantic Canada.
In fact, the ‘Atlantic Canada’ of the United States, the new south, has boomed over the past 15 years while New York, Boston, Chicago, etc. have grown much slower. Of the 200+ large industrial projects announced in the past 2 years in the U.S., all but two were located in communities outside these large urban centres. In fact, the majority located in communities of under 150,000 people.
What was that you said about integrated supply logistics and just-in-time inventories?
It’s no wonder the OECD said in 2002 that the biggest threat to Canada’s economy was the lack of regional economic development.