Councillor expresses concern over Scotsburn businesses closing

Sueann Musick
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PICTOU – A county councillor says he is concerned about the number of businesses closing in his district.

Coun. Robert Parker said the Scotsburn area recently had a gas station close its doors as well as the Scotsburn feed mill and Stonehame Chalets.

“We have seen more and more people heading out west and up north than there has been for a long time,” he said, “simply because they can’t make a living here. A lot of businesses are going out of business. There has to be a reason here. It’s a tough time for businesses right now.”

He suggested that council start taking these job losses seriously before more businesses in rural areas shut their doors.

Parker said he has been hearing rumours about Scotsburn Dairy Group moving its head office from Scotsburn so he recently asked if this was true during a meeting of stakeholders.

“I was told that was a business decision that will be made like any other business decision,” he said. “I want to make a motion that we send a letter to the president of Scotsburn Dairy Group encouraging them to maintain head offices in Scotsburn and express our appreciation for the time they have been there and its employment of people in the area.”

Parker also asked that a second letter be sent to Central Nova MP Peter MacKay and Diane Finlay, the federal minister responsible for Employment Insurance, asking the federal government to consider the needs of seasonal workers when it comes to assessing EI claims.

As a seasonal business owner, Parker said he is concerned that stricter EI rules will force seasonal workers to find full-time employment elsewhere.

“Seasonal workers are probably going to be forced to take jobs out west and that will affect a lot of seasonal businesses in the county,” he said. “It robs people away who have been working in these seasonal businesses for many, many years.”

He suggested the federal government look at a separate Employment Insurance policy for seasonal workers, especially those in Atlantic Canada.

Council supported both of Parker’s letter requests.

“We do contribute to a huge number of workers that leave here on a regular basis,” said Coun. David Parker. “We want to encourage them to keep coming home, but the wages they are making out there are extremely difficult to compete with. The real problem is that the government has decided that one size fits all for the economy. This model doesn’t recognize there are regional disparities in economies. Our economy does work under the current system. We have a system that is working well here so, if it isn’t broke, why are fixing it?”

Organizations: Employment Insurance, Scotsburn Dairy Group

Geographic location: Scotsburn, Atlantic Canada

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  • Western Perspective
    January 09, 2013 - 23:12

    Just as an aside, I fully believe that the politicians involved in the running of this fine province (and it is one of the best I have lived in even though the cost of living out here is brutal) will not take these comments to heart. Makes us feel better to vent but it is like spitting into the wind, the only one affected is the one spitting. MLA's of Nova Scotia, take note, if there are no changes very soon, you will have something in common with the federal Bloc party. And for those out there tired of politicians taking your hard earned money and forcing your loved ones to move west for gainful employment, speak up and be heard.

  • Ralph H
    January 09, 2013 - 19:57

    Strange, but no suprise he never mentioned his brother and his NDP Gov't who give us the highest taxes in the land, refuse to help small business, only large very rich ones that pull out and run with the money. Horrible unemployment rates, job losses, the highest power and electricity rates and on and on. All things they screamed about for decades in opposition. No wonder so many go under and are forced to move west.

  • Observer
    January 09, 2013 - 11:08

    As the councillor said, there has to be a reason here as to why businesses are closing and people are packing and leaving. It's funny to read that he doesn't know why...He needs only to look to his brother's and his own NDP government to get the answers. They are killing the businesses and everyone else with taxes and forcing them to close/move away. This province is teetering on scary times and we need to change the government before any improvements can be made in an attempt to save us. Provincial election; bring it on!!

  • b g wall
    January 09, 2013 - 08:19

    here is a suggestion for pictou county council take a poll of all the small & large business owners in nova scotia & you will find 85% of them do not agree with the decisions made by the present ndp gov.this is exactly what happened to bob rae in ontario when the business community shut down,a change is gov. has to happen to get the business confidence back.

  • Western Perspective
    January 09, 2013 - 07:55

    I can appreciate the idea of relaxing the rules for EI for seasonal workers but that is not going to address the elephant in the room. My wife, originally from Pictou County, and myself, originally from Alberta, moved east to get away from the pressure cooker out west. We brought with us our business and a dream but due to the fact that this is the highest taxed province in the country, we have decided to keep the business in mothballs until such time as the government decides to deal with this situation. Every time we turn around, the government has their hand in our pocket and we can not get ahead enough to establish ourselves. If you are a multi-million dollar company threatening to leave, the government is quick to throw money at you yet it comes at the expense of the working person and they are getting tired of it. The federal government gave us back 2% on GST, the provincial government took it back. The small business owner needs help, there is little left in the pot to hand out. When the provincial government decides to shift their focus and realize that their practices are pushing people west and keeping businesses from seeing this province as a viable market, that is when we will see this province as a destination for people. Maybe there will be a political group in the next election that will run on a platform of lowered personal taxes, responsible government and incentives for small and medium size business. More money in my pocket will make it easier to stay.