We’d already been informed it was coming, still it’s emotional to see the end of a stalwart industry in Pictou County shut down, as with Trenton’s Nova Forge this week.
Making the demise harder to take is the history of this company – and others like it – the association with supplying munitions for the world wars and with the shipping industry. But far more sad, as always, is the loss of livelihood for local workers, particularly after witnessing the loss of similar one-time industry giants in the area.
The question always arises with the shuttering of such plants: what do we replace it with? Or another: why doesn’t the government do something?
As many have pointed out, the loss of certain industries is inevitable, even ones that held a long, highly respected foothold, that once practically defined this county’s industrial identity. Factors include the high cost of fuel and often the competition in a time of “free trade” from countries with lower wages, benefits and labour standards.
Having various levels of government “invest” or, we might say, throw money at the resulting gaping hole has proven time and again no more than a temporary solution. If current conditions present disadvantages for such industries in the area, why flog a dead horse?
We often hear about the promise of latching on to knowledge-based technologies, something apparently easier said than done.
But on that note, and the idea of government support: we sometimes hear proposals by the province to offer incentives, for example, to graduates in the medical profession to get them to stay in the province.
Consider the young people coming out of technical programs at the Nova Scotia Community College and some of our universities. In some cases they’ve already developed ideas for products or services by the time of graduation. If there’s a case for incentives or tax breaks to locate here, to set up companies and to hire people, that would be public money well spent.