Steady as she goes: same majority, same unemployment woes in N.S.

May 31, 2017 | News

Nova Scotia Liberal Party leader Stephen McNeil has been re-elected premier. Job creation is a campaign platform staple of each party looking to address Nova Scotia’s stagnant economy. (Courtesy: CTV News)

By: Reid Goodison

A renewal of it’s majority government status gives the Nova Scotia Liberal Party a second chance at taking the lead in job creation, experts say. As top campaign issues for contending parties, job creation and the economy were also ranked top priorities by a third of voters surveyed by a Forum Research poll in early May.

Some are skeptical of campaign commitments to address this priority.

“They’re all false promises,” said Don Mills, CEO of Halifax-based market research company Corporate Research Associates. “It’s the job of the private sector to make jobs.”

The government can not make jobs, but it can set the conditions so that job creation by private companies is possible, said Mills.

Mills also said that the “rapidly aging” population is divided heavily between urban and rural settings.

“Rural areas need to be accessible by the private sector, so that a labour force can be supported,” said Danny Cavanagh, President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour. “Public services need to be there, so that private companies will come to these rural communities.”

“Even though younger people are moving to urban areas there are still economic opportunities in rural Nova Scotia,” said Cavanagh.

Cavanagh said that a minimum wage increase would also lift many people out of poverty, give them more spending power, and therefore create jobs indirectly through more consumption. The NSFL has been pushing for an increased minimum wage, to combat general poverty and the rising cost of living in the province.

The Liberals narrowly snagged their second consecutive majority victory, after losing six seats to the runner-up Progressive Conservative Party since the 2013 election. The six seat gain made by the Conservatives comes with a 10 per cent gain in the popular vote at the expense of the Liberals and NDP, who each lost six per cent.