© Wendy Elliott
Premier Darrell Dexter has appointed a commission to seize the opportunities in Nova Scotia's future and spread the benefits across the province.
The Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy will be led by Ray Ivany and include Nova Scotia leaders John Bragg, Dan Christmas, Irene d'Entremont, and Susanna Fuller.
"In the next five to 10 years, I believe that local economies throughout Nova Scotia, in HRM and outside HRM, can thrive, not simply survive," said Premier Darrell Dexter. "But to do that, we also must understand our province's common opportunities, and share ideas about seizing them."
Government, business, and labour have partnered in a new spirit of co-operation to create tremendous opportunity for the province. Nova Scotia is building ships, creating thousands of good, modern jobs, exploring the offshore, constructing the Maritime Link, and modernizing its forestry and natural resource sectors.
"Preparing for prosperity is about reaching higher to make the most of opportunity," said Dexter. "That will mean business and community leaders need to take some risks. And Nova Scotians must understand that that's OK."
The Premier's Advisory Council on the Economy will oversee the independent commission. Their work is expected to take place over the next 18 months.
"We are at a unique point in our history. As Nova Scotians, it is incumbent on us to take stock of our strengths and face our challenges directly," said commission chair Ray Ivany. "My fellow commissioners and I are honoured to take on this important task. We will immediately begin our work and set a schedule for an extensive consultative process with the people of Nova Scotia."
The commission will look at how provincial priorities of innovation, skills training, and competitiveness work in a local context, in tourism, manufacturing and primary production sectors, for young people, workers and families that seek a better life in their home communities.
"I want Nova Scotians to understand that growth in one part of the province means opportunity in others," the premier said. "I want to break down the outdated idea that regions of the province are competing against each other. How can a business owner in Dartmouth learn from the success of a business owner in Oxford?
"How do we ensure that small businesses in towns like Lockeport, Pictou or Cheticamp take the steps they need to export their products to the world?"
With the value of Nova Scotia's natural resources increasing, the commission will engage Nova Scotians on how to manage the social and environmental risks that sometimes go with economic development.
"Above all, I encourage the commission to help Nova Scotians participate in this process, to put more and more people, families and communities in a position to win and to grow."