Federal focus on Atlantic growth


To the Editor:

I recently had the pleasure of introducing approximately 4,200 friends and neighbours from our region to a very special guest when the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, joined us for a community barbecue in downtown New Glasgow.

This level of engagement our community demonstrated was inspiring and, coupled with what I have seen over the course of our office’s 17 Town Halls across Central Nova this summer, it gives me a great hope for prosperity and development in our region.

Although many people were excited to shake the prime minister’s hand or snap a photo with us as we made our way through the crowd, there was a lot more to his visit to Nova Scotia than handshakes and selfies.

During his stop in Nova Scotia, the prime minister announced $119 million in funding for the first phase of infrastructure projects that we discussed during the last election campaign. This investment in our communities includes approximately $11.7 million here in Central Nova.
The next day, our regional Minister, Scott Brison, announced that there would be an additional $75 million invested in affordable housing in Nova Scotia.

These investments are not simply one-ofs. Instead, they form part of a larger trend that is designed to create jobs and sustain economic growth across Atlantic Canada.

The Atlantic Growth Strategy, which was formally announced earlier this summer, was not officially part of the election campaign, or even the new government’s first federal budget. It was developed in response to the feedback of the 32 Atlantic Canadian MPs and in collaboration with the four Atlantic provincial governments. The strategy seeks to create growth by investing in infrastructure, immigration and workforce development, innovation, trade, and tourism, among other things.

As part of this strategy we have already seen other significant investments in our communities. The federal government is investing over $11 million in harbour infrastructure and innovation in the seafood industry in Central Nova. This investment will help grow the local fishery and encourage increased economic activity in by providing safe and reliable harbours and wharves to local fishermen and by helping deliver resources to international markets. By investing in infrastructure and innovation in the seafood industry, which has become Canada’s second largest export, we can expect to create new jobs in the short term. Perhaps more importantly, these investments will create conditions that will promote long term sustainable economic growth in the private sector.

We have also seen investments of almost $4 million in innovation at St. FX University that support researchers working on technologies and solutions of local, national, and global interest involving the fight against climate change. In addition, we will soon be able to share great news in the riding regarding the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) for the NSCC Pictou Campus.

As the Ivany Report highlighted, immigration must be a key priority if our region is to succeed. This summer, the federal government announced a new immigration stream that will bring up to 6,000 new talented individuals and their families to Atlantic Canada over the next three years to help grow local businesses. These newcomers will spur growth and create new markets for local businesses. This initiative will bolster the positive experience our communities have had in welcoming Syrian refugees. Our newest community members are already learning to speak our language, working hard to integrate into our communities, donating to relief efforts during the fires in Ft. McMurray, and even opening new businesses that are garnering national attention.

These developments provide just a few examples of the federal government’s commitment to sustainable economic and social development in our region. If the first 10 months in this new government’s mandate are any indication – the federal government has placed growth in Atlantic Canada amongst its highest priorities.

Sean Fraser
Central Nova MP

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