I got an email the other day from an old friend I hadn’t talked to in probably 10 years. He had been reading my columns/blogs and wanted to assure me that there would be no way in heck any government would set aside $50 million or more for the development of a single industry sector (like I have been advocating).
I believe that we need to be very tightly focused on a few industry sectors that have real potential as economic growth engines over the next few years and that means investing in R&D, workforce development, business attraction, supply chain development, entrepreneurial development, etc. in those targeted sectors.
My response to him is as follows. How come it is easy to put together a $50 million fund for the ‘Miramichi’ after the mills go down but impossible to put together a $50 million fund before the mills go down? I realize the logistical and political realities here but it is far more easy to do proper economic development before the major crisis than after.
We need to make the right investments when times are good so that when things turn south (collectively or on a sectoral or community basis), we are better protected.