NB Biz Council

I have said this before and I remain delicate in my commentary but I am beginning to think that the New Brunswick Business Council is now actively trying to undermine efforts to attract industry to New Brunswick.

I honestly don’t get this. I really don’t. It can’t be just about self interest. In the 1950s the very same calibre of business leaders were actively campaigning to attract more industry to New Brunswick. Now, when we have a government that seems at least mildly interested in ramping up industry attraction efforts, arguably the most powerful lobby of them all is actively opposing it.

Most of these guys are international players. They go to Toronto. They see with their own eyes the the tens of thousands of jobs created from attracting industry. They go to Montreal and see the tens of thousands of jobs created in the digital industries sector. They must know about the growing cluster of financial services back offices – paying salaries, I might add in the $60k-$70k range and higher. They must see the tremendous benefit of Asian investment in Vancouver over the past 20 years.

Maybe they are arguing for ‘balance’ – but other than call centres there is no foreign investment here – no large IT firms, no large manufacturers (other than forestry firms that are here for the trees).

I don’t know. I read other member of the Biz Council over the weekend again cautioning against the attraction of industry. It’s a bit sad, really.

One of the poorest jurisdictions in North America. A region that has chronically underperformed in the area of investment attraction for decades. A region that is shedding population. A region with dozens of communities that could desperately use a new ‘plant’ or a new ‘development studio’ or a new ‘back office’. And our top business leaders are opposed.

Nobody’s arguing that we should turn New Brunswick into a branch plant with no local entrepreneurs. Guys like me are just arguing for a little more emphasis on attracting industry as a balance.