As much as it would be nice to see Ottawa as the second headquarters of Amazon, and gain the promised 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment, we shouldn’t waste too much time and effort bidding for the company’s attention.
Ottawa is the best place to live in Canada and it would make a wonderful home for Amazon. But the company isn’t going to make its decision based on those criteria alone. In fact, what will likely carry the day is which city will fork out the most cash in the form of tax incentives. And some city more desperate than Ottawa will likely be willing to pay billions. This is going to be more like the competition for an NFL franchise than a legitimate review of North American markets.
It’s a shame that economic development happens that way, but we’re fortunate that we don’t typically play that game. It’s a fool’s errand and the only people who benefit are the shareholders and executives of giant companies that hold the auctions. In the end, a lot of cities will end up feeling they wasted their time and money. Let’s not be one of them.