The local coffee shop, the diner up the street, your favourite place to hear live music; the Mom and Pop shops that make up the fabric of our province are struggling.
Small and Medium sized businesses, the backbone of the economy in Nova Scotia, are in survival mode and have been met - to date - with no government support. Unfortunately, with today’s announcement, there is absolutely no help for them. They have been patiently waiting to hear that help is on the way, only to find out today that they continue to be left behind.
Since life started to resume back to “normal” post COVID-19, I have been travelling from one end of the province to the other, and I have seen first-hand the pressure that small and medium size businesses are under. They have been barely surviving under extremely challenging circumstances. In some cases, families have been building up their businesses for generations, poured life savings into their operations and are now genuinely worried that they may not survive.
It’s great that the Liberals are finally acknowledging - in the middle of October - that Nova Scotia's tourism industry has been impacted, but an announcement that may only bring relief to companies whose head offices aren’t even in Nova Scotia is not comforting.
Time and time again, the McNeil Liberals have introduced grants that are too narrow to help Nova Scotians. When the money isn’t used, they put it towards announcing another ‘new’ grant.
I don’t need to remind the Liberals that the tourism industry brought in $2.6 billion dollars in revenue in 2019, a figure that the Premier quite frequently has claimed as a victory of his. It’s unfortunate that his government has now abandoned the industry.
The government needs to start listening to small and medium businesses and those in the industry to find solutions to save our tourism sector. One suggestion, put forward by the PC Caucus in May, would have seen every Nova Scotian receive a tax deduction to be put to use towards our tourism sector: restaurants, hotels, museums, arts and culture activities.
It’s time for the government to heed ideas and solutions that would have actually helped the entire industry including small, medium and large.
This industry is too important to Nova Scotia.