Rabid capitalists until…..

I once heard a business guru (I can’t remember which one) say that most CEOs are rabid capitalists until they pass through the door of their own business every morning. From that point on, they spend their time lobbying governments for incentives, looking for tax breaks, angling for favourable legislation, etc. One only has to look at the auto sector, the aerospace sector, the agrifood sector and the pharma sectors in Canada to see this play out.

So, I was grinning ear to ear yesterday when I heard the Chief Economist at Fidelity Canada intone with great indignation that the government shouldn’t be “picking winners and losers”.

Er, I guess that doesn’t apply to Fidelity itself, which received one of the largest incentive deals I have ever seen for a financial services firm when it got $69 million from North Carolina back in 2006.

I wonder what the Chief Economist would say to that?

Maybe that bit about people that live in glass houses…… comes into play here?

I’m sure he would fumble through a response about why that was different some how.

Don’t get me wrong. I would be as happy as NBT if all governments around the world stopped giving financial incentives to companies to set up in their jurisdictions. But they never will and I think New Brunswick should be the last place to unilaterally disarm.