Stephen McNeil’s Jobs Plan – An Embarrassment of Glitches

Stephen McNeil is playing politics with jobs. And not well.

This week, as Premier Dexter basked in the warm glow of jobs announcements surrounded by young people, McNeil emerged from the shadows to unfurl his “jobs” plan – by criticizing everything. He even managed to embarrass the province while business people from Alberta and their local partners looked on. As weeks go, it was a long month for McNeil.

Over the last months McNeil’s Liberals have opposed investments in shipyards, in forestry, in small businesses (e.g. the Productivity and Innovation Voucher), in communities.  To that you can now add 440 new engineering jobs (Projex) and 500 new data analytics jobs (IBM).

Mr McNeil has opposed thousands of jobs. That’s not good enough. And that’s not leadership.

In an effort to understand this Liberal Anti-Jobs Plan, we asked readers to write in with their thoughts. Here are the best responses:

A long time reader and first time writer responds:

Stephen McNeil has no credibility on job creation. The Liberals created the same payroll rebate that he is now apparently against. The only difference in strategy when it comes to landing jobs contracts is that the Liberals have a deep, dark history of turning good business deals into corrupt party donations! They have no track record on creating jobs. How do they think Nova Scotia ended up where it is over the last 20 years?

The Liberals supported the Ships Start Here campaign, and now that the NDP won, they are against it. They supported the Lower Churchill Falls agreement, until Darrell Dexter signed the agreement with Danny Williams – now the Liberals are against that too. Every province in the country was going after the IBM data centre – but at least McNeil’s consistent on that – he is against those 500 jobs, and there’s been no flip flop. Yet.

A potential Conservative candidate writes:

Contrast Stephen McNeil with Jamie Baillie. Baillie is also inexperienced at electoral politics, but has been around politics as a staffer.  And he also has some experience in the business world. So, he did the right thing, the responsible thing, the smart thing, by welcoming Projex to Nova Scotia during the company’s visit to the Legislature.  McNeil didn’t even acknowledge their presence! And then went hyper-negative again. It was embarrassing. It just shows his inexperience.  Think about it: he hasn’t really done much in the way of serving his province has he? And outside of his riding, where he was a small appliance repairman, he doesn’t seem to know things work or know his province very well.

The Libs aren’t ready to govern, that’s for sure.  But in the meantime, they could also learn a thing or two from Baillie about how to be a proper Official Opposition.

An NDP staff person offers this:

If the Liberals had done any research, they would have found this interview with PROJEX CEO Barry Brad, in which he explains the company’s philosophy and strategy:

“Stealing or poaching from other firms… [is] not sustainable.  The plan is to bring the oil sands to Halifax. We won’t compete there. We have opportunities to find people who want to align with the lifestyle of the region…there are a lot of incentives with the province of Nova Scotia to push jobs there. The strategy is solid and allows us to keep jobs in Canada. It’s an exciting time.”

Stephen McNeil doesn’t actually understand the business world today. The real choice for Projex, for example, wasn’t jobs in Nova Scotia or Alberta, but jobs in Canada or India.  In fact, the company dabbled with outsourcing some of this work to India, but in the end chose Canada, and chose Nova Scotia. It chose us because of a tax incentive, but also because there was political will to make sure it happened, to make sure the partnership was solid.

Would Projex have chosen Nova Scotia if Stephen McNeil was Premier? Would McNeil have even been at the table?