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.
One of the priorities for the province is to promote a more inclusive and accessible province. This is a vital part of the Nova Scotia Culture Action Plan and in order to improve that accessibility the province is providing funding to support small businesses throughout the province.
One in five Nova Scotians identify as a person with a disability. We know that small businesses need support as they improve accessibility in their own facility. The province will fund up to 66% of project costs to small businesses through the Small Business ACCESS-Ability Program.
The 2017/18 Budget is the first Budget of the province’s second mandate. This is the first back to back majority for a government in Nova Scotia in close to 30 years. As we begin 2018, it is important that all Nova Scotians understand the success of Premier McNeil and the government in restoring the fiscal health of the province. As the Minister of Finance and your MLA in Colchester North, I was pleased to recently present our second consecutive balanced Budget.
In my earlier MLA Report (link here), I wrote about the opening of provincial parks across the province. Of course, the one of great interest “along the shore” is the Five Islands Provincial Park. I wrote about the hundreds of tourists who visit Nova Scotia each summer, and many of those tourists enjoy camping in our parks. With the tourist season officially over, our province can boast having the best tourist season on record with over 1.9 million folks choosing Nova Scotia as their destination. That increase in tourists resulted in a significant increase in the number of campers to Five Islands Park, 4 371 visitors enjoyed the overnight camping experience in our Park in 2017. That is an increase of over 1000 visitors since last year. In fact, the number of visitors has increased consistently since 2014, when the number of camper sites was 2003.
Let me begin by extending a welcome to Dr. Lisa MacKinnon, who has recently joined the staff of physicians providing health care to residents along the north shore. Lisa will bring the complement of physicians back up to four including Dr. Rob Bush, Dr. Dan MacDonald and Dr. Michael Glasgow.
Residents have been patient and sometimes frustrated with the speed of the recruitment process, however, I do want to congratulate all those who continue their efforts and who were successful in bringing Lisa to the community.