Since announcing my candidacy as a PC Leadership candidate, one of my pillars is to transform Nova Scotia’s economy.
For too long, this province has been a place where unemployment and high taxes have become the norm.
I have expressed my desire to see Nova Scotia develop its onshore natural gas industry. This sector has the potential to transform this economy. We would have the money to pay for better roads, health care and social services. Our sons and daughters could have jobs here, raise their families here, and build for themselves a better life – right here in Nova Scotia.
Unfortunately, under the McNeil Liberals, fracking is banned in this province. The discussion around it has been silenced and potential economic opportunities for this province have been shuddered.
It’s time to lift the ban.
Some people have concerns about potential environmental impacts. The fact is that no industry can remove risk completely. Fracking is subject to much misinformation and exaggeration as to its alleged effects. I am confident that Nova Scotia can frack in a responsible way that recognizes the safety of the environment and our citizens while boosting our economy.
Using natural gas acquired from fracking would give Nova Scotia a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Lessening our reliance on foreign coal while using a combination of wind and natural gas has many benefits, including potentially lowering the cost of electricity.
What about fracking’s effects on agriculture? I spoke at length on this subject in the Legislature in 2014. Also, a quick look at shale gas wells in Pennsylvania shows no change in methane levels or water contamination around ground wells.
Farmers who rent land for well sites almost always use the income to invest in farming more land or having better equipment. Agriculture and the oil and gas industry can co-exist and does quite harmoniously in Western Canada.
Ultimately, it comes down to Nova Scotia’s ability to stand proudly on its own two feet. Currently, this province receives federal government transfer payments. This is money from Canada’s ‘have’ provinces. Most of this money, generated in Western Canada, is supplied by the oil and gas industry.
I am tired of being a ‘have not’ province. I am tired of seeing our sons and daughters working out west because this province would rather take federal handouts than explore what potential we have right here.
I want to transform Nova Scotia’s economy – not through force, but through choice. As PC Party leader and Premier of this great province, I would lift the ban on onshore natural gas and let communities make the choice that’s right for them.
PC Leadership Candidate