2021 Nova Scotia Election
Our Path Forward: Questions That Count
Please find the questions that were submitted and asked of the leader of each political party, specific to the economic development of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) and Cape Breton Island, in preparation of the 2021 provincial election.
Each party has since submitted their responses to the questions asked below. You can find each party’s response in the links below:
- The economy of Cape Breton Island has been in decline for decades. Out-migration has been an upward trend, and population decline has become an ongoing challenge for the entire island. Now more than ever, Cape Breton shows great promise in reversing this trend and working toward achieving sustainability. The CBRM is the second-largest economic centre in the Province. Population growth and job creation are two integral pieces of ensuring our region’s sustainability and economic health. As the leader of our Province, how do you specifically plan to address population decline and unemployment in Cape Breton Island and help positively change our economic future?
2. The CBRM has the highest commercial tax rate in the Province of Nova Scotia and one of the highest taxation rates in Canada. Commercial and residential tax rates fall under the jurisdiction of the Province. High commercial tax significantly prevents us from a) attracting investment in existing infrastructure b) the ability to attract developers for the construction of new infrastructure and c) the capacity for some small businesses to afford to own or rent space throughout our region. As Premier, how would you work directly with CBRM Mayor and Council to address this issue and develop a strategy to lower our tax rate to be more attractive for investment and affordable for our commercial taxpayers?
3. Cape Breton Island lost their rail line between Port Hawkesbury and Sydney when it closed to all rail activity in 2014. The revitalization of our rail line is essential to revitalizing Cape Breton’s economy. One significant opportunity before us is connecting the planned Sydney Container Port (NovaPorte) to the continental rail system. This project will enable us to advance an aggressive export strategy for Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, raising NS’s trade to GDP ratio. Additionally, it will be cost-efficient and more environmentally friendly than road transportation and will strengthen Newfoundland’s vital supply chain while reducing carbon emissions by shifting trucks to rail. Will your government publicly support the initiative to develop Sydney Harbour an international transportation, logistics and green energy hub and commit to a cost-sharing agreement for the planned $103 million rehabilitation of the Sydney to Port Hawkesbury section of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia railway?
4. There are several publicly funded infrastructure projects in progress in the CBRM right now, including significant investments in healthcare infrastructure and the construction of the NSCC waterfront campus. As Premier, how do you plan to support continued future investment on Cape Breton Island, and how do you plan to prioritize the many other infrastructure investments before the government for our region.
5. Small business is the backbone of our economy. Throughout the pandemic, small businesses of all sizes have been significantly negatively impacted, especially businesses within the tourism and hospitality sector. Although there has been support for business through grants and loans, recovery is expected to take many years. How will your government support the post-pandemic recovery of our economy, and what specific investments do you plan to make?