Beyond the Headlines

Ferry fight

Posted: Mar 20, 2012 11:11 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 20, 2012 11:11 AM ET

You can say one thing about the folks in Southwest Nova Scotia - they aren't quitters.
In 2009, the NDP government cancelled its $5.6 million subsidy, effectively killing the seasonal ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine.
Since then they've held rallies, protests and petition campaigns. They have trotted out real-life stories from business owners on the impact of the decision on their livelihoods.

There have been studies on the impact on the province's tourism industry ($16.3 million and 260 full-time jobs lost, according to one).
They have literally pleaded and begged the Dexter government to throw them a lifeline.
Still they aren't giving up.
On Monday, a group calling themselves The Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership launched a website to "make a convincing and prevailing business case" to bring back the ferry. It has already attracted "testimonials" from business owners and travelers.
You have to wonder what the people of Southwest Nova think every time they see another news story about the province propping up the pulp and paper industry in Nova Scotia. An industry that with ever-increasing digitization is labelled by many a "sunset" industry.
The latest announcement came last Friday. Premier Darrel Dexter traveled to Port Hawkesbury to announce another $14.8 million to keep the bankrupt NewPage mill, and its supply chain, in a state of readiness while negotiations continue with a potential buyer. That brings the total taxpayer "investment" in that mill to $27.3 in the last year alone, with more to come before a deal is finalized.
That's on top of the $50 million the province spent to keep the Bowater Mersey mill from closing. A mill that is currently on an extended shutdown because it doesn't have enough orders.
Add it all up, and it's the equivalent of almost 15 years worth of subsidies for a ferry service. It's understandable then, that many in Southwest Nova accuse the NDP government of "failing to see the ferry for the trees".
Still, It's hard to imagine how this latest campaign to restore ferry service will succeed where all others have failed.
The Dexter government has been unwavering and resolute in its decision.
But it's clear the people of Southwest Nova are equally determined not to let the issue die.
Previous Post
Next Post

About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

Recent Entries

Falling through the cracks
Falling through the cracks
Apr 23, 1:32 PM

Nova Scotia's justice system is battered and bruised.  Two high-profile cases, both involving the alleged sexual assault of young people, have sorely tested the public's confidence in both the people... more »

Social media demands justice for Rehtaeh
Social media demands justice for Rehtaeh
Apr 10, 12:44 PM

On Tuesday, Justice Minister Ross Landry learned first hand the power of social media. It's a lesson he's learning the hard way.Earlier in the week, Leah Parsons turned to social... more »

Investigating the police
Investigating the police
Mar 22, 6:12 PM

Last April the province unveiled its brand new Serious Incident Response Team. The agency was established to conduct independent and transparent investigations of all serious incidents involving police officers.The idea... more »

View the Beyond the Headlines Archives »