Optimistic Future

Optimistic Future

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Contributors:

Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia

Creating opportunities for young people, businesses and success

The New Year has started with a tremendous accomplishment — the Halifax Convention Centre has opened its doors.

This modern, magnificent facility will be a catalyst for economic activity. It will create benefits across the entire province.

The Nova Centre project, which includes the convention centre, is the largest integrated development project in Nova Scotia’s history, but it’s even more than that — it’s a vote of confidence in the present and the future.

It shows what this province is capable of when businesses and government works together. And it’s a shining example of optimism for this province — a positive attitude that leads to achievement.

Government has adopted that kind of attitude and optimism as we tackle our province’s challenges. Our goal is to work together to build a stronger Nova Scotia.

Everyone knows we’ve seen economic and demographic struggles. We have a plan that’s addressing them. We need more of our daughters and sons staying in our province and more young people coming here to make a living.

I saw an encouraging example of that during a visit to a Dartmouth biotech company last year. Among the employees I met were two young women scientists. One was from Timberlea, happy to find a job close to home. The other young woman had come from China to go to university here and she decided she wanted to stay and work.

The company used the Graduate to Opportunity program to hire them. It's a program that helps employers with the cost of hiring new graduates. We increase funding for the program to help more graduate find jobs here in Nova Scotia.

We’re building on that program’s concept this year with the new program Innovate to Opportunity. It helps master’s and PhD graduates find jobs with Nova Scotian businesses. It will help businesses conduct more research and it will let graduates use their skills to grow the economy.

We’re also seeing great success in the startup community

I had an energizing visit with entrepreneurs at Volta Labs in December for an announcement about Volta tripling its space.

To think about the innovation andcreativity that will flourish in that technology hub is inspiring. It sends yet another message of what’s possible in our province.

In the last two years, we’re finally back to seeing more young people coming to our province than leaving. We need to keep that trend going.

We’re also working hard to attract more immigrants to Nova Scotia. Even without an influx of refugees like we saw in 2016, the number of newcomers to our province is at a level not seen since the Second World War.

For Nova Scotia to keep making progress, government has to do its part, keeping its fiscal house in order and investing in programs that our citizens and businesses need.

That’s just what we’ve done. We’ve tabled back-to-back balanced budgets, made smart long-term investments like pre-primary and also provided tax relief.

Last year’s increase in the small business tax threshold benefitted 1,800 businesses, while 500,000 Nova Scotians will pay less tax this year thanks to an increase in the basic personal exemption.

This is an exciting time to be in Nova Scotia. Our population is growing, tourism has been at record highs the last two years, seafood exports are booming and our start-up community is punching above its weight nationally. There is much more work ahead of us, but there are many reasons to be positive about our present and our future.

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