ACOA is here to stay: MacKay

Minister Peter MacKay is quelling any rumours about ACOA’s future. He forcefully states that ACOA’s future is secure and the only worry is “the same Liberals who made cuts to ACOA’s budget.”

You know I am a supporter of ACOA and will continue to be. Eliminating ACOA and ‘giving the money’ to the provinces (as has been proposed) doesn’t make much sense to me for several reasons:

1) As with the Fed/Prov agreements under Mulroney, they are eventually cut (by the Libs). If you scrap ACOA and set up new Fed/Prov agreements, likely within a few years, both will be gone (if history is any guide).

2) Atlantic Canada has a population of two million. Less than half the population of the GTA. The whole point of ACOA to begin with was to formalize the Feds role in economic development in the region (read Savoie). If we fragment federal gov. ED efforts in Atl. Canada, we will end up with less (if history is any guide).

In my opinion, ACOA needs some retooling. It needs to be more about attracting industry into the region. All those multimillion investments by Canada’s New GovernmentTM to support large industry expansion in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, etc. should have parallels in Atl. Canada. I’d like to see Canada’s New GovernmentTM invest – through ACOA – in a $100 million data centre in Minto or a $500 million manufacturing facility in Sussex.

But that’s retooling, not scraping.