Susan Leblanc: Prosperity Shared – Building the economy from the ground up

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KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Recently, Premier Stephen McNeil made the claim that ‘our economy is thriving.’

This might be true from the perspective of top-paid CEOs, who are doing well these days, helped by a Liberal government that is all too eager to accommodate them.

The vast majority of people, though, are living in a pay cheque to pay cheque world of increasing bills and debts, multiple jobs, and the grinding reality of life.

‘Thriving’ can hardly describe the situation of people who can’t afford a decent place to live, who are forced to rely on food banks, or who are winding up in our ERs because they can’t access or afford basic health care services.

Contrary to how our province is sometimes cast, Nova Scotia actually has enough to go around. 

Prosperity Shared: The Commission for Economic Equality in Nova Scotia is an opportunity to examine together what it would be to share the wealth of our province more evenly. This month I am looking forward to moderating six community dinners that will bring people together to discuss local solutions and policy proposals.

We have three commissioners who will be attending the meetings, listening to what people have to say and producing a report about what we hear and how those ideas could help us ensure the prosperity in Nova Scotia is shared. 

There is also so much to learn and build on from communities that are working to improve people’s access to healthy food, make sure everyone has a safe place to call home, create employment through social enterprise, and develop cooperative models for providing the services that people need.

That’s why I’m so excited about the Commission and the conversations it will inspire. We can build an economy from the ground up that is centered on human and environmental values. We can advance policies that see these values reflected in the priorities of government and the way it measures progress. We can take on the climate emergency in a way that improves the quality of life for people who today are struggling to get by.

I would love to be part of a government that could honestly say that our economy is thriving, because we’ve decided that everyone is better off when we share the wealth.

Susan Leblanc is the NDP MLA for Dartmouth North and the NSNDP Caucus Chair.

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