Monday, March 05, 2007

We've heard it before

Another day and another story about how this province is hostile to business interests, economic investment and industrial development. These stories have been coming out from one source or another for almost as long as this government has held office.

They tend to spike right after the Williams administration undertakes some flurry of activity with respect to any of FPI, oil (Hebron and Hibernia South), or minerals (Voisey's Bay) among others.

National analysts, commentators or investment advisers will be quoted as wondering how serious this government is about attracting investment then the predicable government responses are trotted out. Sometimes it's a flat "we are standing up for the people of the province" but this time it was "it's just not true anyways".

In this case the government has tasked Business Minister Kevin O'Brien to try to repair our reputation.

The interesting part is that he went on VOCM Open Line to make his defence.

In fact, VOCM Open Line is the wrong audience; he should making his case where the out-of-province business audience is; out of province. To call VOCM Open Line was just a first-line knee-jerk attempt to stave off embarrassment in the local audience.

It doesn't matter how many open files he throws up in defence. The fact is that this province continues to be the only jurisdiction about which national stories currently circulate in the media that we are business-hostile.

And it's not like those who make make investment decisions in this country read a different media than the rest of us.

Reputation and image is what branding is all about. This government continues to fuel a brand that tells the world that this province is negative to economic investment. That's not the way to win in a globally competitive investment environment.

"No more giveaways" is rapidly becoming a joke codeword for "can't close the deal" and "can't play with others".

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