You can say one thing about the folks in Southwest Nova Scotia - they
In 2009, the NDP government cancelled its $5.6 million
subsidy, effectively killing the seasonal ferry service between Yarmouth and
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
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
But it's clear the people of Southwest Nova are equally determined not to let
the issue die.