Nova Scotians are seeing the first move on a commitment that makes sense on many levels. The provincial government announced Monday the relocation of 93 civil service jobs to areas outside Halifax.
For starters, it’s good to get over the mindset that departmental jobs belong in the capital. Why not place them where they are more relevant – or more geographically central to the population they serve?
Take for example the shift of the Department of Agriculture to Truro. With the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Bible Hill, and certain functions already done there – along with a lot of field work – it’s a prime choice.
In fact, we have to wonder what prompted past governments to consolidate so much in Metro over the years, particularly for services in such areas as agriculture and the fisheries. In the case of the latter, jobs will be transferred to the Digby area and Shelburne County.
New Waterford is the other big winner, gaining positions from the Department of Justice. More shifts could come in the future.
But other reasoning helped guide the decision, as Premier Darrell Dexter reiterated Monday. It means putting more jobs in places – New Waterford as a prime example – that are economically depressed.
It is, perhaps, a move by the NDP to shore up a more support in rural regions. But when it’s a change involving sound logic, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Opposition members are struggling to find something to criticize in the move. Liberal economic development critic Geoff MacLellan said a hundred or so jobs is no substitute for creating a better economy in those areas.
No, but at the same time, it’s generally industry, the private sector, that creates a more robust economy, and a government has only so much control over that through incentives.
Setting up these new offices will prompt related business and services to set up shop as a further boost. It’s a good step in turning the tide on the vast centralization syndrome.