Rural Nova Scotia is the Economic Engine

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  • Yes Bill, what you really mean is that more Nova Scotians need to have real places of work to be ‘busi’ at (businesses!). You correctly identify the high cost to taxpayers of those “government” ‘jobs’ held by those in and around Halifax. Thus the moral debt of TMG (too much government).
    Do you suppose that the work-climate has been somehow poisoned such that businesses are no longer being attempted; or are untried, in favour of ‘transfer arrangements’ (which have so dulled our prosperity over the last 50 – 100 years)?
    Seems to me, that to have prosperity (growth) there has to be investment BY those the rural areas; not by government expenditures of other peoples money in ‘hand-ups’ which don’t seem to have accomplished much.

    Gordon a.... | September 25, 2013 | Reply

  • Bill, your argument is based on this faulty premise: “Like a household, a province must earn more from others than it spends.”

    But Nova Scotia is not a household. It is the place where we live and there is a lot more to that, as Wordsworth wrote, than “getting and spending.”

    Your assumption, for example, that government does not contribute to economic wellbeing because there is “not much of a market in other jurisdictions for our skills in government” ignores the fact that education and health are significant shared public resources. They are much more significant sources of wellbeing than say, the services provided by the insurance and banking industries that we are forced to pay for as customers, and as taxpayers.

    Bruce Wark | September 23, 2013 | Reply

  • Great points in your article – but very surprised you fail to mention the importance and opportunity of the tourism industry. Bigger than fishing, farming and forestry combined – a $2 billion dollar industry with great potential to increase export dollars in all regions of the province and not a mention – tourism does not just happen and is a key part of healthy economies, yet we continue to ignore how it can play a greater role in our own economic success. Thanks for continuing to get conversations going.

    Darlene | September 16, 2013 | Reply

  • Great article in yesterday’s Herald regarding the importance of rural Nova Scotia when it comes to contributing to our prosperity. The power of human ingenuity and spirit can not be understated especially when old industries die new ones are born .NovaScotia has a strong history of adapting and surviving. We were a mighty power economically during the age of sail Enos Collins founder of Bank of Nova Scotia was considered the wealthiest man in British North America in the1800s. I believe most of his estate now comprises of St Mary’s University. Along came Samuel Cunard another great Nova Scotian who basically destroyed the age of sail with his new steam ship line known as Cunard’s which became the worlds greatest steam ship line. It was tough but we adapted.Then the trade routes shifted from north to south to east to west. Populations shifted and mainly concentrated in Central Canada and our goose was cooked in terms of being an economic power house but we managed to survive. Our greatest export became our people populating much of the rest of Canada and the Boston States. Yet we still survived. I remember as a young person growing up in Quebec at least 1/3 of the teachers at our School were from the Maritimes and they were the best teachers.
    I can’t help but notice however that things are shifting more to our advantage. With the West East pipeline coming our way, at least hopefully, that will serve to rebalance our energy needs and supply. It ‘ll help New Brunswick as they currently import a lot of oil fro the Middle East. It ‘ll help them to become an exporter of oil to Asia thanks in part to the newly improved Panama Canal which will be completed in 2014 and to Europe. The sands are shifting once again in our favor as the Muskrat Falls Link takes shape and the new Melford Container Port gets going having just finalized its land deal, maybe a new LNG plant at Goldsboro and a new oil and gas facility potentially at Point Tupper. A new natural gas storage facility is going to be constructed at Alton. In short all this bodes well for rural Nova Scotia.
    Finally, our politicians need to get out of the way and take more of a stand on fracking. This is terrible mistake in slowing this down for the sake of the environment as you so articulately pointed out in your recent article. Nova Scotia needs the energy supply and the fact this is on shore makes it all the more appealing. Holding it back only hurts us economically and with it a much brighter future if we simply got on with fracking but with stringent regulations and controls. It’ll happen as our good neighbor New Brunswick recognizes and looks like they will be fracking well ahead of us. Anti Costi is allowing fracking and look at the vast amounts of oil they have uncovered. The govt needs to hop on the fracking band wagon so we can at least have the chance to provide cheap sources of abundant energy to our industry both here and beyond our borders and to the residents of our Province .Lets hope the wheels start to move forward on this shortly after Oct 8th

    John | September 16, 2013 | Reply

  • Until fresh water is not permanently removed, and until there is a way to look after the toxic waste, and until the emissions are not carcinogenic and there is evidence of consistemethane containment, it is prudent to have a moratorium. Indeed, one industry spokesman said sea water might be a viable alternative to fresh water. Our concerns are being heard. However, these concerns should be everyone’s, including those who lead the industry. As you say, there is inherent risk in many industries. One could even stop fishing because of the tragic loss of life. But, when there is such strong evidence of harm, as in reducing the water table in a time of increased incidence of drought and when we have no means of taking care of the toxic waste, there is reason to not allow this. The gas will be there if, and when, there are solutions. In the mean time, supporting green energy initiatives is a time which has come. Thank you for continuing this conversation.

    Pam MacInnis | September 15, 2013 | Reply

  • There are many possibilities to facilitate growth in rural NS. Michelin is a prime example of where you can place a facility in a rural area and still prosper . We need a good business and strategy plan for every industry that combines what the industry can produce with whatever is needed from the province and affected municipalities to make the industry grow . You need to be matching our resources to products that we can manufacture in the province to maximize the resource . Any employment that is near a 100 series highway is then within about 50 miles of most rural areas. Transportation links are far better than ever , especially if we could ship year around to the USA by truck out of Yarmouth . Offshore oil and gas is a bonus , it should be seen as an “over and above” revenue rather than treated as though it is like any land based industry revenue . Renewable resources on land need to be sustained, yet maximized . Pension funds invest and make sure they have some control either through shares ,mortgages or sometimes even a seat on a Board of Directors; government should do the same when it “loans” money.

    PS | September 14, 2013 | Reply

  • To:Paul Taylor.
    I have always felt that the political powers (the backroom boys) of the NS political parties have always conspired to elect a leader from outside the Metro area in an effort to consolidate their own power.
    What say you?
    But then I don’t recall any Prime Ministers having been born in Ottawa either.(not sure where Justin Trudeau was born–he may be first exception)

    Bill L

    Bill | September 13, 2013 | Reply

  • Of course, I strongly disagree with the with the conclusion for any jurisdiction to lean heavily on resources. Resources should be a loss leader for the maufacturing of finished goods. Much of Canada’s resources are manipulated from other manufacturers around the world and resold as a finished good. the wealth of knowledge in our great country and the great people of Nova Scotia needs to take control of the value of the resources and turn this into saleable products. extraction of resources requires surprisingly little labour capital. manufacturing requires more labour, more engineering work and provides more international advertising for the country and province of origin.
    there are huge implications to the prosepct of a manufacturing society which we have lost in the past 30 years. Nova Scotia, with its comparatively low labour rates can take advantage of this position and attract manufacturing companies to set up shop in Nova Scotia that has overwhelming advantages compared to the rest of the country, Whatever the reader does, don’t look to Alberta or Saskatchewan as an example of prosperity. It’s pure luck that the flavour of the day is oil and gas or potash. Once the faucet is turned off or the price of the resource reaches its peak or there is an alternative to the resource the lights go out and the people that hoard the profit are gone like a flash of lightening. That’s why the province of Alberta is and will remain and boom bust economy; feast and famine. Sakatchewan won’t be much different.

    David Kopriva | September 13, 2013 | Reply

  • How refreshing to see a view from the Emerald City built on Real Estate speculation that states exactly what I have claimed for decades. Rural Nova Scotia is the Real engine of the Nova Scotia Economy. What you don’t detail Mr Black is the success stories of Pioneer Coal , Eastlink , Scotsburn Daires, Sobeys , Leils Cranes . Mackay Meters. Wilson’s Fuels. Kerr, Minas Paper , Atlantic Windows , Central Home Improvement group among many others that are Rural Nova Scotia Based Home grown businesses that have no rivals in the HRM. Much of HRM is owned by parties in Rural Nova Scotia IE Crombie Reit and even a Clearwater foods have Rural Nova Scotian roots . HRM businesses these days with the exception of Cleves and the Halifax Herald are not multi generational affairs like you have in Rural Nova Scotia. I could indeed say a great deal more on the subject. IN fact not one Halifax born premier of this province has been in the top political position since the 1930s.

    paul taylor | September 13, 2013 | Reply

  • What a great summary of rural economic activity and the potential for future income. The fracking debate has been dominated by those opposing any activity. As long as steps are taken to minimize the pollution of groundwater, this is an energy source which should be explored. Let’s face it, a tanker truck accident on any provincial highway could pollute well water but you don’t hear objectors telling us to stop furnace oil deliveries.

    Ron Gilkie | September 13, 2013 | Reply