Mythology comment touches nerve

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Belle Hatfield
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MLAs respond to premier's ferry comments

Premier Darrell Dexter TINA COMEAU PHOTO

 

 

Premier Darrell Dexter touched a nerve when he dismissed the local economic impact of his government’s decision to cancel subsidization of the Yarmouth to Maine ferry service in December 2009, during an interview on CBC radio last week.

The Premier characterized as mythology the idea that loss of the ferry has been devastating to the local economy. He said the decision, which resulted in cancellation of the privately operated service in 2010, had little impact on southwestern Nova Scotia.

 Yarmouth MLA Zach Churchill responded with frustration and outrage when he learned of the Premier’s statements.

If the service is not recognized as an economic driver, Churchill asked, “Why is the province committing $21 million in support of a new service?”

In a report commissioned by the government to study the ferry situation, an expert panel concluded that the ferry is an important economic driver for the region and has impacts across the province.

Churchill told the Vanguard that, as the Liberal tourism critic, it is one of the first issues tourism operators raise when he visits, whether it is in Baddeck or Liverpool.

“That decision has affected tourism right across the province,” he said.

As a result of the report, released last fall, the provincial government initiated a request-for-proposal process to identify potential operators. It has committed up to $21 million over seven years to support establishment of a new ferry link to replace the one severed in 2009. Potential operators for a new service have until Jan. 24 to respond to the provincial government’s request for proposals.

Argyle MLA Chris d’Entremont said that the negative impact of the decision is still being felt.

 “Businesses are closing, people are leaving, there are record high job losses, and food bank use is skyrocketing as people struggle to feed their families,” he said in a written statement.

Yarmouth’s MLA says the impact can be seen in the numbers.

“We’ve lost 3,700 full time jobs and 2,800 people have left southern Nova Scotia since the Dexter government cut the ferry,” said Churchill, adding that what’s left of the local tourism industry is on shaky ground.

“We’ve had the largest exodus of Nova Scotians out of all regions [in the province], in south west Nova Scotia. More people have left southwest Nova Scotia than anywhere else and more people have lost their jobs,” he said.  

His message to the premier, “Stop playing defensive politics with this issue. Let it rest and let’s get a ferry back.”

 

Organizations: CBC Radio

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Yarmouth, Maine Baddeck Liverpool Southern Nova Scotia

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  • Dingle Berry
    January 17, 2013 - 18:14

    Well, sad as it is, HRM has enough seats to re-elect the NDP, which is why the premier only cares about what goes on there, and not in rural NS. The 21 million he promised is nothing more than a gesture, he knows the rural ridings won't elect an ndp candidate, and he doesn't care, he doesn't need them to win another mandate. But I think the hard question that no one is asking of our young new liberal candidate(Zak Churchill) is....how about some new ideas for some new industry to bring some life to areas such as yarmouth....fishing is dying...the ferry can't survive without governement support...these are not the answers to community sustainability, they are band aids on severed artery. If you want your communities to survive, look for someone with some real vision for the future, someone with some new ideas, to breathe some real life back into your area. Chasing these dead horse issues just keeps our small communities on the endangered species list..It's time for change!!

  • EFG
    January 03, 2013 - 22:26

    Tourism is a 1.3 BILLION dollar per year industry in Nova Scotia, or to put it another way: worth pretty much exactly what the big shipping contract was supposed to be worth annually over the period of time is was to be in place. Ships may start here, but tourists are ending up some place else. Too bad for tourism operators that there's no gradiose photo op because these employers, mostly small and medium sized businesses, are spread throughout the province and not conveniently located in one big spot on the Halifax Waterfront. Thanks Mr. Dexter. You're a real visionary!

  • Mr.ActualTruth
    January 03, 2013 - 20:25

    I suppose Dexter also believes the people who lost their jobs in Yarmouth must also be a myth. The spin off businesses that closed, also a myth. A coincidence I guess. Believe this Dexter guy is going to help Yarmouth? Myth.

  • Kenneth Grissom
    January 03, 2013 - 20:09

    I find your Premiers comments about ferry service being mythological very distasteful and demonstrates his lack of business acumen. In 2009 I was on vacation/business scouting trip with my fiance looking for property to purchase for a summer home and a commercial parcel for another one of my companies manufacturing business. To establish a new outlet in Canada. We stayed in Yarmouth for several days and we found a summer home and several excellent location for a new facility. We were weeks away from purchasing propertys and news of the Ferry Cancellation was announced . With no direct link to the US it was no longer viable for me to invest in a home or a commercial venture in the area. So I cancelled all plans and kept 50 plus jobs and several million dollars in the US. Perhaps I should have called him with grandiose plans for a shipyard to build boats from recycled paper and wood shavings I would have been able to get mulit million dollar grant at your taxpayers expense.

  • Kenneth Grissom
    January 03, 2013 - 19:18

    I find your Premiers comments about ferry service being mythological very distasteful and demonstrates his lack of business acumen. In 2009 I was on vacation/business scouting trip with my fiance looking for property to purchase for a summer home and a commercial parcel for another one of my companies manufacturing business. To establish a new outlet in Canada. We stayed in Yarmouth for several days and we found a summer home and several excellent location for a new facility. We were weeks away from purchasing propertys and news of the Ferry Cancellation was announced . With no direct link to the US it was no longer viable for me to invest in a home or a commercial venture in the area. So I cancelled all plans and kept 50 plus jobs and several million dollars in the US. Perhaps I should have called him with grandiose plans for a shipyard to build boats from recycled paper and wood shavings I would have been able to get mulit million dollar grant at your taxpayers expense.

  • Marg Millard
    January 03, 2013 - 15:14

    ok so the premier is obviously not working these numbers by himself......so who is responsible for them. Where are they coming from? Is this Gov't being internally sabotaged? How can we survive this?

  • Russ Le Blanc
    January 03, 2013 - 14:27

    Premier Dexter's statements can lead a person to believe one of three things: 1. The 21 million was purely a political move. It's money spent on an area of N.S. that is of no interest to him. 2. The premier is not capable of thinking before speaking. 3. A combination of 1. and 2..

  • clara lange
    January 03, 2013 - 13:21

    I am okay with the government helping to fund a ferry, but it has to be able to sustainable itself and make money in the long run. Perhaps this change was handled wrong but dexter had the right idea to stop pouring tax payers money into a money losing business...

  • Ed Kellner
    January 03, 2013 - 13:18

    I live in the Windsor area of NS and like my fellow Nova Scotians who have posted on here, I am very frustrated and fed up with this government. While we all have to wait for the next general election to vote in a new government, I for one intend to make certain I am available to actively support the non NDP candidate in my riding.

  • Sylvia T. Harper
    January 03, 2013 - 12:58

    Our extended family from away has owned property in the Digby area since 1905. If anything happens to the Digby/St. John Ferry and there is no ferry to Yarmouth, the south west of the provence will really die. We need a new Ferry from New Brunswick to Digby AND one to Yarmouth very, very soon. The chamber of commerce for Nova Scotia does an excellent job but what good is that when people cannot get there in a reasonable time.........and what about exporting products to the Boston/New York /Ontario markets? Dexter seems blind. What a waste.

  • Ken
    January 03, 2013 - 11:51

    Have you ever heard the expresion "Open mouth insert Foot" Dexter has just swallowed both feet up to his knees. The only thing that comes to my mind is that he and his Government are INCOMPETENT! It is certainly now time for Dexter to call an election so we can elect a Government that knows what to do instead of sending the whole economy of Nova Scotia into the toilet.

  • HM
    January 03, 2013 - 11:29

    When is the next election???? Get this bum OUT!!! signed: home owner in South Shore area

  • Greg Bartlett
    January 03, 2013 - 09:29

    I am an American who lives in Maine. My wife and I bought a lovely little house in Lower Argyle and miss the ferry service badly. I can't believe that the people in Southwest Nova Scotia have not voted out the premier for devastating this beautiful region of Nova Scotia. Many, many, more Americans and others from New England would flock to Nova Scotia if they knew how to get there more easily and the province made it well known through publicity and tourism how to access smoothly travel to this wonderful, charming, and beautiful place on earth. If Nova Scotia develops an affordable ferry service, advertises in the East Coast of the U.S. properly, Americans will come and revive this wonderful area of the province, especially upon meeting such wonderful, welcoming people.

    • Tim F
      January 03, 2013 - 11:05

      Well, we haven't actually had a chance to vote him out. An election is right around the corner, however, and I'm sure that the province as a whole will run far, far from the NDP.

    • Tina
      January 03, 2013 - 12:33

      We can't really vote them out until there is a new election. But I hope then, we will. I can't believe they got voted in in the first place. But I agree with you wholeheartedly. Hope you'll come back with the new government, just as we did when you voted out the republicans:)

    • CC
      January 03, 2013 - 12:56

      If you live in Maine, perhaps you should tell YOUR local and state officials about the need for a ferry. Why should Nova Scotia tax payers subsidize your vacations? All other ferry services in NS are funded by multiple governments. If no American governments or the Canadian federal government see merit in funding a ferry, why would Nova Scotia prop one up? Also, the ferry was in place for years and the number of Americans crossing was decreasing... history does not indicate that a new ferry will see Americans "flock" to Nova Scotia.

  • George Handel
    January 03, 2013 - 09:05

    I live in Florida, and have a wonderful summer home in Shelburne county. With no ferry in 2010, 2011,2012, 2013, and if 2014 also has no ferry, I shall sell my Shelburne property (at a significant loss, I am sure). I made a mistake! I should have never bought property in Nova Scotia.

  • Guy Surette
    January 03, 2013 - 07:40

    This premier is so out of touch with southwest nova, it's just unbelievable. He believe's it's a myth about the local economic impact !! I welcome him in my home for a month so i can bring him around to the local business that are still surviving and meet with them. I would bring him to the people that have closed their business because of the closer of the ferry.. I would bring him to the people who use food banks, who have a hard time paying their light bills , buy gas or put food on their table.I would phone the people i know that have moved to Halifax and Alberta to make ends meet!! Mr. Premier, you are living a dream in your golden office----fess up to your mistake ''NOW'', come clean with the people of southwest nova---shutting down the ferry was a mistake and ''YOU '' know it... Guy Surette

  • A. Sherman
    January 03, 2013 - 06:04

    Dexter won't be playing defensive politics or any kind of politics after the next election. We weren't foolish enough to vote for him last time; the rest of the province won't be voting for him this time. It can't come soon enough.

  • Heather LeBlanc
    January 02, 2013 - 20:59

    It is very heartbreaking to visit to my lovely home town Yarmouth. Each time I go home there is more closures of stores, motels, and restaurants. What has the provincial government done to Yarmouth., Now there are no buses, trains, planes or ferries. All the young people have had to leave Nova Scotia and go north for jobs. and being away from their families for weeks at a time. Heather LeBlanc North Vacouver BC

  • L.V.
    January 02, 2013 - 17:58

    It's really a shame that we have such a premier. He should come down to Yarmouth. He would only have to walk our downtown streets to see the impact the loss of ferry has had. It is a ghost town with so many shops closed. We are losing all our young people as they go elsewhere to find employment. The wages here are not enough to sustain families. It is a desperate situation. Hopefully with the next election we will have a premier who cares about the whole province not just his ridings. I can only hope that this town will be restored to its booming self soon with a ferry service.

  • Heather
    January 02, 2013 - 17:27

    This is outrageous. I am beyond frustrated about this premier and his blatant dismissal of the serious impact the loss of this ferry has had province wide.

  • JoAnn Forsyth Tingle
    January 02, 2013 - 17:15

    I had a house in Port Maitland until late in 2008. It became apparent that getting back and forth from my home in Delaware (US) was becoming increasingly more difficult and there was talk of the ferry service being discontinued. I am only one of a handful of people who rarely come to NS since the ferry has ceased to operate. I could take a plane but with the cost of airfare, renting a car, distance from the airport it hardly makes economic sense. The last time I was there in 2009 I flew in from Portland on a small plane. It was overpriced and inconvenient. If/when the ferry service is reinstated I will return on a regular basis bringing my tourist dollars with me. I sincerely hope that will be soon. I love NS and am looking forward to coming back often.