Confidence Starts Here!

An Open Letter to all Nova Scotians

Last week the Irving Shipyard was awarded one of the largest contracts in Canadian government history. Since then a vocal minority of people have spoken up to criticize the government’s sponsorship of the Ships Start Here campaign saying it was a waste of money and an attempt by the provincial NDP to take credit for something which they were not involved in.

As a business owner, and proud supporter of Nova Scotian ingenuity and entrepreneurship, this criticism is on the one hand laughable, but more importantly damaging.

The Consumer Confidence Index is one of the most widely watched barometers of economic strength in any jurisdiction. When we are confident, we spend more, we invest more, and invariably, we are more successful. Even if the Ships Start Here had absolutely no impact on the awarding of the contract, it was still one of the best uses of government funds to spur economic growth and confidence that I have ever witnessed because it told us it is ok to be confident in our future.

Too often we celebrate failure in Nova Scotia – too often we don’t encourage businesses to succeed – too often we don’t brag about the strengths that we possess as a province. Too often, we let petty politics ruin a good thing.

I am calling on all of us to let Ships Start Here to be a rallying cry for Nova Scotia to be confident, to be courageous and to be successful.

If you are a business owner holding back – show your confidence by re-investing in your business – hire more people if you need them.

If you are a would be entrepreneur – show your confidence by sharing your idea with the world, by making it happen, by taking it from an idea on paper to reality.

If you are a consumer – show your confidence by buying that new pair of shoes, by going out to dinner, by shopping locally.

Much has been written about the potential economic spin-offs and the multiplier effect of such a large boost to our local economy. Countless debates have ensued as to the validity of such claims. One thing is certain – the multiplier only works if we allow ourselves to be confident – if we allow ourselves to dream – if we allow ourselves to think that Nova Scotia can, and will, be successful.

Ships Start Here was also successful in providing an economics lesson into the power of spin-off jobs and economic multipliers. It is a simple lesson – when we spend money in our local economy, it gets spent over and over and over again. When we spend our money outside of the region it is much more challenging to get that money back. It is within the power of every Nova Scotian to make our economy stronger.

Simply sourcing components for the ships within Atlantic Canada will help – but just as important is the spending that each one of us do every day.

If you’re buying that new sweater, buying a locally made product from a local artisan would be best – second best would be to purchase it from a locally owned retailer. If you choose to buy that sweater from a multi-national retailer you are not being part of the solution for our economic independence as the power of the multiplier is felt in other areas of the world.

When you go out to eat – do it at a locally owned restaurant, serving products grown on local farms and from local producers. When we do this we keep our neighbors employed – we protect our food security – and quite often, we eat healthier.

When you support local businesses, they support your community – we all win.

Above all, I ask you all to take a moment to celebrate this occasion for Nova Scotia and to challenge yourself as to how you can make Nova Scotia an even better place to live.

Confidence Starts Here.

Thanks for listening –

Gordon Stevens

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