Sunday, February 24, 2008

Update: East Coast Connected

New Brunswick (part of Atlantic Canada) is actively courting the return of its expatriates:

Over scrambled eggs and sausage and with the Toronto skyline soaring overhead, the expats told Shawn Graham why they swapped the quality of life in Atlantic Canada for the concrete jungle, and offered suggestions on what could maybe lure them back.

"We need your sincere input today, we don't want flattery here,'' the premier said at the beginning of a roundtable discussion organized by the Population Growth Secretariat and East Coast Connected, a Toronto-based group that promotes bonds between Atlantic Canadians living in Toronto and promotes investments in the Atlantic Provinces.

I'm familiar with the policy storyline. A geographic comparative advantage evaporates and transforms a region into a global economic cul-de-sac. Domestic and international in-migration comes to grinding halt. The government bends over backwards to keep businesses from leaving and the aging infrastructure sucks the coffers dry. In another act of desperation, policymakers finally make an attempt to attract human capital. However, the citizens and other interested parties continue to dwell on out-migration.

Is there to be a happy ending?

Turning back to the article at hand, I'll leave you with the pessimistic economic geography:

Malini Handa, a pharmaceutical sales manager who is also from Saint John, said it is unlikely she will move back. But she quickly added that she needs to be in either Toronto or Montreal to do the type of work she does.

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