With spring turning into summer, the focus on agriculture in Colchester North is obvious. Newly cultivated fields, crops planted and growing, and first cuts of silage remind us that one of the primary resources and industries in our province is making a comeback. It is so encouraging and positive to see farm lands that have been lying fallow for many years are now in active production. I commend those young farmers who see a future in the agriculture sector.
Although blueberry producers have had a recent difficult season, I am also encouraged by those growers who are staying with the product through difficult times. Hundreds of acres are yielding thousands of tons of blueberries. The challenge is to find new markets and our Minister of Agriculture continues to promote the product, both markets locally and in foreign markets, including China. With the uncertainty facing trade with the United States, it is important that we diversify our export markets.
The month of June is graduation time for students all across the province. It is the time for students, parents and teachers to celebrate the accomplishments as another school year draws to a close. It is also the time for the academic and athletic achievements of students in all grades to be acknowledged and celebrated.
For the students in Tatamagouche Elementary and North Colchester High, it marks another significant milestone. In September 2018, Tatamagouche Regional Academy will open for students grade primary – 12. This community has waited many years for this building to become a reality. Students and teachers alike will be filled with both apprehension and excitement when they come together under the administrative leadership of Brian Holmes.
Protecting personal and public property is one of the great services provided by volunteer fire brigades throughout the province. Communities feel safe knowing that these volunteers are only a phone call away. Sometimes that service is provided as first responders to attend to motor vehicle accidents, to rescue people and animals in distress, to provide emergency medical aid, and of course for fire related incidents. Whatever the call, we are comforted to know there are men and women in our brigades who respond.
It was recently brought to my attention by Eric Moore from the Economy Fire Brigade that access to both motive and diesel fuel was a challenge, not only for Economy, but also for brigades in Five Islands and Bass River. None of these communities have a local service station or gas bar and travelling to their nearest service centre includes time and distance to Parrsboro or Great Village. Time is of the essence no matter what the call to the brigade.
As the conversation continues regarding gold exploration rights in the province of Nova Scotia and in particular the Warwick Mountain area in Colchester and Cumberland County areas, I wish to provide the following update.
On March 12th, the Municipality of the County of Colchester copied me on a letter to the Honourable Margaret Miller, the Minister of Natural Resources for the province. That correspondence focused on the development of best management practices for exploration, in particular, the French River Watershed.
The County’s primary concern was that an RFP (Request for Proposal) for such exploration rights must include the specific standards and practices needed to regulate such exploration activity. That correspondence also welcomed the assurance that the RFP will emphasize community engagement including community influence. Municipal Council also requested a delay in the issuance of the RFP.
I was pleased to be copied on that correspondence and to support the request from the Municipality. I am also pleased to learn that the issuing of the RFP has been delayed and that input from both the Municipal Government and the public will be considered as the RFP document is finalized.
It is always important to have and to keep jobs in Nova Scotia. Recent trends in jobs and unemployment statistics are reasons to be optimistic. However, it is equally important for the voices of business owners to be heard. As employers, they are the economic drivers in our communities. Their success is our success.
As the One Nova Scotia Report states very clearly, “we need business and community leadership in the pursuit of economic growth: these sectors need to pull the economy forward rather than it being pushed by government policies and investments”.
I recently met with business leaders in Colchester County to hear their concerns and their opinions. Two recent Tax Reforms were well received by the industry, and Government was encouraged to move forward gradually with other measures.
Province Supporting Business by Reducing Red Tape
A vibrant and growing economy is a critical part of a strong province. It’s the foundation for safe and connected communities, our health and well-being, and educating and training our youth for the future.
While we see the private sector taking the lead in spurring economic activity, government can help create a business climate that supports economic success.
That includes developing and maintaining an efficient regulatory system that protects consumers, citizens, workers and the environment without creating unnecessary complexity or cost to business. And, it includes working with our Atlantic neighbours to harmonize and co-ordinate business rules where it makes sense.
In January, we recognize Red Tape Awareness Week – a week the Canadian Federation of Independent Business created 10 years ago to shine a light on the burden of red tape and highlight the opportunity regulatory reform can have as part of a broader economic strategy.