The Conservative platform for Atl. Canada

The Telegraph Journal is reporting that Stephen Harper will unveil his strategy for Atlantic Canada early in the new year. The article states:

Even Atlantic Conservatives complained following the 2004 federal election that their new party had failed to explain clearly on the campaign trail what a Harper-led government would mean to the region – particularly to boost its economy.

Now, how much do you want to bet the Conservative strategy will include things like ‘tax breaks’ for small business and maybe a little ‘training’ for small business and it might even take a page from the Liberals and talk about ‘innovation’. No doubt it will tackle a few head on issues that have been annoyances to specific constituencies in this region.

Does anyone actually believe the Tories will unveil a platform designed to support the attraction of global business investment into Atlantic Canada? I severely doubt it. The provincial party doesn’t have that as part of its platform so why should the federal party?

Wouldn’t it be neat if Stephen Harper stated that Atlantic Canada has too long been cut off from foreign investment? – the same investment that has stimulated strong economic growth in BC, Ontario and Quebec – yes, even Alberta has attracted billions in investment in recent years.

But, no, that would require thinking just a bit outside the box.

If Stephen Harper would pledge to partner with the province to create a network of global offices promoting New Brunswick, if he would set up a specific fund in partnership with the province designed specifically to attract foreign investment, if he would pledge to work with the province to develop targeted infrastructure to support the growth of 3 or 4 key growth sectors, he would get my vote.

But he won’t.

And I’ll be left voting for the candidate that I ‘like’ the most – knowing full well that we will get the same old, tired approach to economic development that has left Atlantic Canada with a declining population, declining traditional industries, significant out-migration of talent and more.

Oh well. At least the two main parties are pledging to support the auto sector in Ontario…..

That should ensure a steady stream of Equalization to this region.