AIP leads to FDI?

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) just launched the Atlantic Investment Partnership – The Second Wave, a new five-year … $708-million initiative to support economic development throughout Atlantic Canada.

There is some wording here about attracting foreign investment but I would have liked to see an Investment Fund with dollars to attract ‘strategic’ investments from other countries (like the Automotive Fund in Ontario). I would also have liked them to significantly increase their business investment attraction budget (marketing, etc.).

I reiterate the points that I have made here many times before. Trying to stimulate ‘entrepreneurship’ without proper mechanisms for attracting business investment into those entrepreneurs, doesn’t make much sense. Funding R&D that doesn’t lead to more private sector investment, doesn’t make much sense. Funding ‘community’ development won’t help much if private sector investment is drying up.

Consider Florida. They just spent $400 million to attract the largest biotechnology project in history to that state. Imagine if ACOA did something as bold as that.

But no, we hear the same day as ACOA’s announcement that India’s largest pharmaceutical company is expanding into Canada – guess where? No need. Ontario. It’s always Ontario and Quebec. 80% of the major foreign investment projects go to those two provinces.

I am reasonably sure that the Upper Canadians would barf up a lung* if ACOA spent $100 million to attract a 1,000 person pharmaceutical plant to Atlantic Canada.

But I think that the times they are a changin’. If a few key people get the message, somebody might get serious.

*Note another 80s movie reference -Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – it seems I haven’t watched a movie in 20 years.