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Support for small business crucial: Pictou Centre MLA

The closure of Future Shop and impending job losses at Convergys have cast a bit of a cloud over Pictou County this month.

“It was very, very disappointing to hear that news,” said Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn of the Future Shop closing.  “It was unexpected. It’s just something that sort of jumped out at us. I certainly didn’t hear anything leading up to this announcement that they were going to close. It certainly doesn’t help the economy here in Pictou County.”

In a county waiting for some positive economic news this is a setback, the Conservative MLA said.

Dunn said his heart goes out to those who will lose jobs, and believes the government needs to step in and help.

“Overall the government really hasn’t made a lot of progress in creating jobs,” he said. “They have been doing a lot of studies, a lot of reports and a lot of reviews, but in reality the jobs keep disappearing.”

He believes that the solution is providing more support to small business. The Conservatives had campaigned on eliminating small business tax, prior to losing the election to the Liberals, and he still maintains that would be the best option.

“We have to immediately start some action in helping small businesses stay,” he said.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the province.”

He believes the future of the county still has hope though.

“We have had some cycles where there was a lot of unemployment in Pictou County but we were always able to bounce back,” he said. “I’m optimistic that although we’re in a cycle that’s downward, we’ll be able to swing that around and improve the economy of Pictou County.

Jack Kyte, executive director for the Chamber of Commerce, said he was also sad to hear about Future Shop and Convergys.

“When you add the two together it’s very significant,” he said.

He believes it is reflective of problems facing rural parts of the province and he said it emphasizes the importance of maintaining and supporting manufacturing jobs such as the metal fabricators, MacKay Meters, Wear Well Garments and Michelin.

“These businesses are the ones that are holding our economy at a particular level that we can’t lose,” he said. “We need to support them.”

In some ways, he said, the closure of Future Shop isn’t particularly surprising.

“I can think of at least six other outlets in Pictou County I can buy other electronics,” he said. “We loved having them here, but in some ways one can understand it’s hard to stay in business when there’s that much competition.”

While he is concerned about the state of Pictou County’s economy, he doesn’t believe it’s just a Pictou County problem.

“I think the whole provincial economy is struggling and these sorts of things are happening throughout Nova Scotia,” he said. “I would say things are worse than they have been in certain years in the past, but it’s not unique to Pictou County.”

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