Metal bashing revival

CP is reporting that Daewoo is looking to take over TrentonWorks and the Nova Scotia government just gave a $20 million loan to the Halifax Shipyard to help it expand.    Both of these projects (the first one has not been formalized) could lead to hundreds of new, high paying metal bashing jobs in Nova Scotia.

I have said for a long time (remember Bryan Adams – “played it til my fingers bled”) that there is no reason why New Brunswick (and the Maritimes) couldn’t build a thriving and successful industrial economy.  There are alll these experts running around -including the heads of prestigious universities – saying the industrial economy is dead and we need to make New Brunswick a tech economy.

While the desire to make New Brunswick a tech economy is fine, saying the industrial economy is dead is silly.  Until “beam me up Scotty” is a reality, we are going to need cars, ships, planes, heavy machinery, energy equipment, barges, bridges, and thousands of other physical things that are fundamental to society.

That stuff doesn’t have to be manufactured in or near the largest urban centres – in fact there are good reasons why they shouldn’t.

The other point that shouldn’t be forgotten is that these industrial jobs (for the most part) are high wage jobs.  That is where we should focus.  I don’t see much future in trying to attract or foster the growth of low end manufacturing.   But the high skilled, high value stuff – certainly.

I’ll be interested to see the incentive package for the Daewoo project.  In the U.S. these wind turbine plants are getting tens of millions in grants from federal and state programs and also being guaranteed lucractive supply contracts (think Samsung in Ontario).

The last point has to do with the regional competition thing.  I think this is good for the region.  New Brunswick should point to Daewoo as an example when it is out pitching to a global audience.

And who know?  When Hyundai gets around to another manufacturing plant in Canada, maybe we will get a serious crack at it.

2 thoughts on “Metal bashing revival

  1. I have no problem with industrial development.

    What I don’t understand is why Irving needs a government loan, why it can’t just get financing through the private sector.

  2. There’s no question that billionaire investors are able to buy their way into and control the public debate, ending more often than not in preferential treatment towards their firm or company when public money is relocated/redistributed.

    That said, with the era of deregulation, ushered in by President Reagan in the early 80s, there was also deindustrialization that was created throughout much of the industrial heartland of our country, Canada, and theirs. This wasn’t because industry leaders were making (as you said) less “cars, ships, planes, heavy machinery, energy equipment, barges, bridges”, but because industrialization has become such a global game where massive corporate loans and subsidies (see ethanol industry in Brazil & areospace industry in Quebec), massive tax cuts (see lumber, paper and steel mills in many of the former breakoff countries soviet union) and cheap labour have become the incentives that win the day.

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