NDP Caucus News Release
Robert Chisholm, Leader
July 11, 1997
SAVAGE CLINGS TO BAD ECONOMIC POLICIES RIGHT TO THE
You've got to give John Savage credit for one thing. He's
Unlike the contenders for his job who keep flipping and
flopping back and forth on issues like the BST, the toll highway
and Sable Gas, once Savage flip-flops, he stays flip-flopped.
Back in 1993 when they were running for office, Savage and
the Liberals promised that community economic development would
be the cornerstone of their economic policy. They vowed to
concentrate scarce assistance dollars on small, local
enterprises, not on large come-from-away corporations. And they
pledged to fight joblessness where it was most severe, in Cape
Breton and in rural and coastal communities.
But behind the smokescreen of the 30-60-90 process, Savage
executed an about-face. Within a few months of taking office it
was business more or less as it had been conducted under the
Tories. Community economic development was downplayed, and the
economies of Cape Breton and coastal communities were abandoned
to their fates.
As for grants to business, the vow to focus assistance on
small, local firms quickly went up in smoke. Some local companies
have benefitted from the Liberals, mainly larger ones like
Irving, IMP, and National Sea. But the prime beneficiaries of
Savage's flip-flop on business handouts have been the Big Banks
and the multi-national corporations.
Outfits like the U.S.-owned aerospace giant Pratt and
Whitney have been the recipients of interest-free loans.
Newbridge Networks, headquartered in Ottawa and owned by Welsh
billionaire Terry Matthews, received a $10 million investment
from the Province. And the U.S.-based OSP consultants signed a
deal worth over $9,000 per job to set up shop in Halifax.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce also cashed in thanks to
Savage's betrayal on economic development, getting $3.4 million
to set their Halifax Call Centre.
In his final week in office, Savage underlined the
abandonment of the economic development policies he and his party
espoused in 1993. He signed another Call Centre deal with a bank.
This one was with Scotiabank, again for $3.5 million. He also
ushered in a stampede of Italian companies, armed with vague
promises to set up three separate factories in return for
millions more in provincial money. Although Savage said the
Italian plants could go anywhere in Nova Scotia, the businessmen
told reporters they had their eye on Metro Halifax.
Although he campaigned on one set of policies, Savage
pursued a completely different vision of economic development
once he took office. Instead of grassroots, community-based
economic development, he favoured a trickle-down approach - feed
the wealthy companies in the better off regions of the province
and hope that some good will come to everyone else.
That vision hasn't worked.
Savage is departing the Nova Scotia scene. For the good of
Nova Scotians and their economy, it is important that his ill-
conceived economic vision goes with him.