Nova Scotia

Will Britain make a Brexit from the EU? Two Nova Scotians weigh in

Two Nova Scotians share their differing views on a potential British exit from the European Union.

Vote on whether to break with European Union stirs emotions of expats in Nova Scotia

Two activists with the EU flag and Union Jack painted on their faces kiss each other in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to protest against a British exit from the European Union. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Britons are split over whether or not to break up with the European Union, and the referendum vote being held today is stirring expat emotion here in Nova Scotia.

For Halifax realtor and British expat Richard Payne, the answer is simple: leave the EU behind.

Immigration is the first deciding factor for Payne.

British expat Richard Payne thinks Brits should vote to leave the EU. (Jane Killeen/ Submitted )

"When you open up the borders basically to the EU, it's a free transportation of people to basically come and go as they please," Payne told CBC's Information Morning. "From a British point of view, there's been a lot more coming than going."

This puts a huge strain on health, social security and welfare systems, Payne said.

'Leave' supporters pose in Clacton-on-Sea on Monday as U.K. Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage visits. (Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

'The EU does all the negotiating'

Then there's the issue of trade.

"Once you're part of the EU, the EU does all the negotiating," Payne said.

The EU has a bit of a stranglehold on the British trade system, Payne said. He does acknowledge, however, that exportation and free trade are a big reason to want to stay part of the EU.

'Harder to fight from outside than within'

Expat Denis Dineen, who owns a British store and café in Upper Tantallon, agrees with some of what Payne says, but thinks Brits should vote against a Brexit.

British expat Denis Dineen thinks Brits should vote against an exit from the EU. (Submitted)

"I think being in the European community benefits all Britons," Dineen said. "They might not kind of see it at the moment, but it does."

Those benefits include young people being able to move between countries in the EU, and a large amount of foreign investment in Britain, he said.

"It's harder to fight from outside than within," he said.

Emotions high

Emotions are extremely high in Britain over this vote.

MP Jo Cox was shot and killed last week. She was one of the strongest voices for staying a part of the EU. Her murder appears to be politically motivated.

A woman holds a placard and white roses during a special service for slain Labour MP Jo Cox at London's Trafalgar Square on Wednesday. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

Payne thinks Brits will vote to leave the EU and go back to a time of having a standard British passport instead of an EU one.

"Really getting back to, you know, Britain being a very strong, powerful nation," he said.

Dineen agrees that "Britain is a great country," but doesn't think leaving the EU will restore power to Britain.

"It's a lovely thought but the reality is that Europe needs Britain, and Britain needs Europe."

With files from Information Morning