Ottawa may help dying company towns?

This is an interesting little reference:

The next federal budget may include assistance for single-industry towns in Canada that have been hard hit by job losses and that have not shared in the wealth of employment that the Canadian economy continues to create, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Friday.

In the past (including Tories), this meant expansion of the EI program or some ‘transitional’ funds that were spent to try and get companies to set up in the communities. Sort of like Shawn Graham’s recent announcement in the Miramichi of more money and a ‘seek and find’ resource person.

In many cases, not all, governments invested in bad projects because they were willing to set up in town X or Y. Or they spent the money on consultants (cough, cough) and others in a fairly lavish way with little or no results.

So I think we should take a new approach. We should frame up the kinds of things that would need to happen to make Dalhousie, or Miramichi or Bathurst or where ever, attractive to industry – not just offering temporary and over the top incentives to get companies to go there.

What would it take to help Dalhousie leverage its port (as mentioned before), help Miramichi became a small hub of digital animation activity, help Bathurst became a bilingual e-Learning hub? What would it take to help Saint John become a green energy centre of excellence?

What changes to the education system? What physical infrastructure? What business attraction efforts? What business incubation efforts? What type of R&D activity? What legislation or regulation? What else?

Then I would invest in these activities and make a serious effort to build the environment for the province to have a successful 21st century economy.