Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Higher Tolerance or Higher Taxes

Here in Nova Scotia taxes are very high mostly because a shrinking taxpayer base (the young gone west, the rest mostly retirees) must pay to maintain a vast and priceless resource : the sunk costs in expenditures made to human infrastructure, during over five hundred years of European settlement.

Town settlements, complete with hospitals and high schools etc, built to hold thousands hold hundreds ; endless road/power/phone networks snake through woods with only a dwindling number of full time residences along them.

Based on existing infrastructure (and the fact that over the whole province, the climate is the mildest in all of Canada*) the province could easily hold 2.5 million people - it holds one third that number and even that is shrinking fast.

Manitoba is a province that once faced a similar existential crisis when its population figured headed south.

But Manitoba eventually got used to receiving immigrant waves of new ethnic groups throughout its history and it successfully forced the federal government to share immigration decisions with it - as is required under the old (and new) constitution.

It does receive a good share of Canada's niggardly annual immigration numbers.

Nova Scotia last received waves of immigrants in the 1850s, waves that merely re-enforced the existing ethnic groups.

By the 1870s, out-migration was a flood and it has never really stopped - only a tendency to (a) large families between 1950 and 1970 and (b) an influx of military families at the height of the Cold War during those same years hid that fact.

But Nova Scotians of all political stripes don't really want immigrants or any kind of newcomers.

It isn't really racism - their resistance to any form of newcomer, even native born from other provinces, indicates that.

The outflow of young from Nova Scotia never consisted of mostly  the least educated or the least motivated.

On the contrary, it was those with get up and go who left.

In evolutionary terms, Nova Scotia ambition, so present during the age of iron men and wooden boats of the 1850s (note well, Dear Reader, that
date !), was breed out of them by 150 steady drip drip years of out migration of the most ambitious.

We who are left like to take life easy - newcomers work much too hard and make lifers work too hard.

This is why the NS NDP, so publicly tolerant of newcomers to Canada ordinarily, was in my view the party most reluctant in practise to push for more immigrants to the province.

(And the number two reason why I left that part after 33 years of activism.)

It wasn't the official NS trade union leadership that was telling the NDP to go slow on pushing for new immigrants, it was the rank and file unionist, but acting as an ordinary party member, supporter or mere voter, who hinted so.

But the Poop is now really hitting the Fan : all Nova Scotians will have to exhibit a greater - and more welcoming - interest in new immigrants (internal or external) to live here in our already built and paid for infrastructure, or pay more and more taxes to support a huge infrastructure with very few people using it.

Higher tolerance ---- or high taxes.

Your move, Nova Scotia....

* And don't give the shite about British Columbia's mild weather - I was was born and raised there, for God's sake.

 Yes, the NW bottom corner has nicer weather than Nova Scotia, but its only a tiny portion of a province given to both very cold wet winters and very hot dry summers.

That is why house prices are the highest in Canada throughout that corner. And basically no farmland.

Contrast that situation with small town Nova Scotia where both seaside homes and inland small farms are dirt cheap.

No comments:

Post a Comment