Is Nova Scotia Broken?

Let’s face it, lets call it out here; Nova Scotia is a Monopsony. OK, yeah big word. What does it mean? It means there are many suppliers but only one buyer. In Nova Scotia, that’d be the government. So if you express an opinion, they can shut you down and you don’t get business. Nice.


I talk to other business owners, they share this view, but everyone is too afraid to say anything thinking they’ll lose business. And then businesses are so afraid to work together, or with a New Brunswick or PEI company here too. What’s with that? Protectionism?


So maybe we should have a new sign at the Provincial border “Welcome to Nova Scotia, please leave your opinion at the door” just so other Provinces and people who would bring innovation would know not to waste their time coming here. I talk to my contacts in the EU, and they say we’re “authoritarian” and not open to working with foreigners. Gee, surprise!


Then you try to bring a government agency in on a project to collaborate but unless you follow their agenda, they go an compete with you and won’t return your calls. Yeah, lets work together. Not.


So when people ask why I would leave here it’s because government doesn’t help business grow, they hold them hostage. Our market is so small and instead of helping each other, we hurt each other. Autocracy 250? Are you brave enough to share your opinion?


  1. I think I’d like to see business work together to demand change but here on the south shore ACOA, South Shore Opportunities and the BDC get you on the hook with money for professional hoop jumping.

    Fill out enough forms and pad your business plan and you too can have some Gov’t Pie.

    I’ve had at least 3 prospects doing their horizontal hula-hooping for cash give up in the waiting.

    I think business and gov’t are both broken. Business –especially small business–get lured by free money only to find out that doing business is the cheapest way to make it.

    Governments in NA are constantly looked to build business but the best way is to get the hell out of the way and let bad business fail and entrepreneurial enterprise flourish. Stop giving millions to unproductive factories and pulp-mills. Stop competing with business by running pseudo venture capital firms and incubators.

    That being said I started my business through (EI) but it was at a cost. I wasted months doing a business plan that was completely irrelevant by the time I was done instead of just going out there and making the business work.

    Finally, I think that there needs to be a shift in business culture here to start saying no to gov’t money, saying no to gov’t interference in private business and saying yes to improving from within and starting over when failures inevitably occur.

  2. Nova Scotia is a government economy – and a mediocre one at that.

    That’s why Bay Streeters with VC money turn around and run in the opposite direction with their fingers in their ears singing “la la la” when someone utters the words “Nova Scotia investment opportunity.” Trust us, it’s true.

    As for true entrepreneurs, even if they aren’t muzzled by government procurement practices and politics, they must exist in a culture that holds in contempt the very notion of business enterprise and wealth generation.

  3. I find it almost humorous that this should be the case. Coming from Toronto, I’ve heard all the blather about how Torontonians think they’re the centre of the universe and can’t see beyond the city. But, in reality, there’s more innovation and “outside the box” thinking that goes on in the pinky of that city than in the whole of this province because of the diversity of opinions.

    Government and business need to collaborate and consider new ideas. But that needs to start on a much more basic level where people treat others as unique individuals. Thumbing your nose at someone’s ideas because s/he comes from Toronto or the EU or wherever is just wrong. Period.

    The notion that even Nova Scotians can’t voice their opinions (that differ from the norm) without suffering professional or social consequences is incomprehensible. And frankly, I’m tired of hearing the argument of “it’s not how things are done here.”

  4. This is why Nova Scotia is suffering a disgusting brain drain, and will continue to do so until they stop trying to make themselves ‘little India’ and focus on creating employment opportunities that compete with other provinces.

  5. Being an import from another province I have found that much of the IT industry here is government focused. There are a few prospects that are into b2b transactions. RIM is a local example, but companies like Keane and CGI are focused on the little India mentality. That meaning, their work is primarily internal support based contracts with gov, national, and international operations. There is little – to my eyes – local product development.

    That is a sector that could grow but with low staffing availably – the rate of pay being little to no attraction to move here – it is even more difficult to grow a development operation like RIM, Nortel, Corel, ATI, etc.

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