Irene d’Entremont (left), a member of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy, looks on as Bernadette MacDonald speaks during the commission’s Oct. 22 public session in Yarmouth.
ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO
By Eric Bourque
Following up on their interim report, which was released in the spring, members of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy are holding another round of public meetings across the province and Yarmouth was one of their stops.
The commission again is looking for input from people about what they feel the province should do to try to address some of its most pressing issues, and while the turnout for the Oct. 22 meeting in Yarmouth wasn’t great, a spokesman for the commission said it was still a good discussion.
“I’m never disappointed at the end of the evening because of the conversation and that was the case tonight,” said Mark Austin, director of research and communications for the commission, who facilitated the Yarmouth session at the Rodd Grand Hotel.
About a dozen people turned out for the meeting.
Education – notably the high cost of post-secondary education – and the need for changes to the immigration system were among the issues raised during the Yarmouth meeting, along with the need for different sectors of the economy to recognize that they are interdependent.
Interviewed after the meeting, Austin said some of the same issues tend to come up everywhere.
“For people to be able to choose to live here, we do have to have viable wages and livelihoods … job opportunities, that’s a theme that is pervasive,” he said. “Businesses being able to grow and government get out of the way. That’s kind of a common one.”
The provincial government established the commission late last fall as a way of trying to determine how Nova Scotia should deal with issues like the outmigration of people, the aging population and other challenges posed by a changing world.
One of the commission’s key messages – aside from the province’s need for more people, more innovation etc. – is that Nova Scotia has to develop a positive attitude, a sentiment shared by Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, who was on hand for the commission’s Yarmouth meeting and who took a few moments to talk about her All Hands on Deck initiative, a very well received effort to get everyone involved in improving their community.
“It’s all about doing this together,” she said. “It’s going to take every single one of us.”
Irene d’Entremont of Yarmouth, one of the members of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy, acknowledged that the turnout for the Yarmouth session was small, “but I think we got a whole lot that we can take back.”
Addressing those present – and, through them, local citizens in general – she said, “You all have a part to play.”
Referring to the commission’s final report, she said, “We don’t want it sitting on a shelf gathering dust.”
Asked about the timeframe for preparation of the final report, Austin said, “We’d love to get it in front of the new government as soon as possible, but it’s for all Nova Scotians, so I would say, realistically, January.”