Back in the saddle

My three week vacation just ended. I got back to Moncton today and once again my luggage was lost – left in Chicago actually. The second time I have lost luggage in my last three trips and about the zillionth time since I started flying.

I finished up my latest book on Stalin and just bought a biography of Lenin. I know it’s a bit of a strange fascination but I am hooked.

I had several talks long into the night with some Brazilian business persons and we had amazing conversation about the role of culture on economic development, the problems with widespread corruption and economic-based classism. All I can say is that the problems of New Brunswick pale in comparison.

On the plane coming home I heard that Ontario was serving up another $650 million incentive package to the auto industry to encourage more auto investment into hybrid vehicles. They claim that the $500 million they put in a couple of years ago led to $7 billion in auto investment in Ontario (actually the feds but in $500 million too but let’s not split hairs shall we?).

The point is that Ontario has made the auto sector a key priority sector and is making heaving investments into training, infrastructure and, yes, direct company incentives. Quebec is doing the same thing with animation, biotech and aerospace. Until the recent federal budget, there were massive incentives to do oil sands exploration in Alberta.

What are New Brunswick’s targeted sectors? I don’t want the standard boilerplate list. I want know what sectors has the province invested $10s of millions into infrastructure, training, R&D and attracting global companies. Aquaculture in the early 1990s might be an example. Call centres are an example – but at a very simplistic level. The amount of money the government invested in this sector was actually quite low.