As a double immigrant (immigrated from Europe to Ontario and from Ontario to Nova Scotia) I would like to comment on Mr. Hamm plan to bring 3,600 immigrants to our Province.
If Mr. Hamm is aiming at the desperate, willing to take-any-job kind I fail to see the rationale. With a minimum wage of 6 dollars an hour do our local youth, underemployed and unemployed really need competition. Does the Government wish to keep wages down? What for, more welfare cases?
Maybe Mr. Hamm aims higher, at the so-sought-after entrepreneurs and professionals. Well, it is a good idea but … will these people bite?
I am an entrepreneur and professional and I have created a few jobs in this Province. But, life is difficult. You see, communication is everything. And this means good connections within the Province and to the rest of the world. As I chose to live on a forgotten (thank God) corner of the South-shore I do not have access to fast-internet. Oh, I have been promised it, but it never comes. Apparently it is not an essential service. Except that as I need to send images it is essential for me.
I can go to Halifax, only 45 minutes away. And risk my life on the 103, one of the most dangerous roads in the Western world. It is being widened. At the rate it is going I will be totally senile before I can use it.
And from Halifax I can fly, yes to Toronto (great) the US (lousy) and Europe (terrible). We used to have three carriers to Europe, now we got one and the flight stops in St. Johns. And we go through custom there. And about shipping products out? Possible but expensive. As getting products in – almost nothing is produced here, so any electronic supply, furniture, lamps come from Montreal, Toronto, the USA. Now if you wish to purchase a property in Halifax (to get fast-internet and avoid the 103) you can but you must pay a move-in tax to the Town. Quite a welcome mat.
But there is something good: there is the choice of taking Exit 0 to Halifax, an intriguing philosophical and mathematical experience.
My suggestion? Do not waste money on trying to attract immigrant. Spend money on creating a decent infrastructure, cut the silly taxes and they will come.
This Province has still a lot to offer, but certainly it does not encourage people to settle here to work!
Carlo Testa, MRAIC
Wednesday, February 16, 2005