Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Premier Issues Fair Warning

Regarding talks about the future of the TrentonWorks railcar plant, Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald remarked that the province is willing to step in:
"What we have indicated is that we are willing to financially provide assistance and to be involved in association with the federal government as well,'' MacDonald said. "It's to help the company go in a business direction which makes sense from our perspective, to continue diversifying what they do on site, and also to enhance what they currently do.''
But in a refreshing take, the Premier is also realistic:
The premier wouldn't release a dollar figure or explain what form the government help might take. But he warned there is only so much the government can do and there has to be a business case for any company to continue on, including [parent company] Greenbrier.
Though he has likely always believed that subsidies can't continue indefinitely, it's extremely encouraging to hear Mr MacDonald make remarks like that. The reality is, businesses are sometimes unprofitable and have to make way for new ones. Alternatively, governments would still be porking off corporate welfare to typewriter factories and the like.

Now the question is whether Nova Scotia has a strong enough business case for other companies to start up to take the place of ones lost. The idea that we need companies to locate here as opposed to being grown from here is not necessary. We can have both.

This is an excellent opportunity for the premier to press forward a plan for a renewed business strategy. Stop picking the businesses that will succeed or not and move to a broader outlook. Get off the back of small businesses and Nova Scotian innovation will flourish.