Publishing Three Times a Week

The Macdonald Notebook is your source for exclusive Business & Inside Politics publishing every Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday.

The Latest Issue

Exclusive: Prominent Commercial Broker Tom Gerard On The Job – Brokers $24M Windmill Road Apartments – The Prize Is A City Hall Approved Tower Development Site
...
Exclusive: How Hot Is The Metro Halifax Real Estate Scene? Well, How About A Cole Harbour Split-Entry Bidding War – 23 Offers Collected
...
Exclusive: Frank McKenna’s 20th Annual Shindig At Fox Harb’r Will Be One For The History Books – Will Obama Or Hillary Clinton Speak?
...
Wednesday’s Edition, Below
...
A Message From The Notebook: ‘From The Bottom Of My Heart Thanks For Sticking With The Notebook In a Global Meltdown & In Pandemic Times’
...
Development: Meet Tim Moore: The Halifax Apartment Developer
...
Jim Mills & CO At Office Interiors Undertakes Significant $7.5M Construction Of New Burnside HQ – Mills Says He Is Unfazed By The Pandemic
...
Kevin Pelley Is ‘The Great Innovator’: Pivots Kohtech’s Windows Debert Plant To Provide COVID-19 Retail Shields
...
Alison Strachan: Don’t Let (American) News Break To The Point Of Breaking You
...
Pollster Don Mills & Furniture Mogul Jim Mills Raise $200,000 For Arthritis Society of NS – But Celebrity Roast Re-Scheduled To 2021
...
Development: Jim Mills On Life Living In A Box: Latest To Occupy Posh Pavilion Condos By Jim Spatz
...
Gotta Love It: There’s An Old-Fashioned Newspaper War In Halifax – The Notebook News Scoops Being Scalped By Another Media Outlet Days Later
...
Putting The $52M Toronto Star Sale Price Into Perspective: The Time Conrad Black Offered To Buy The Halifax Herald For $100M
...
Encore: Book Excerpt: The Time Conrad Black Bought The HFX Daily News For $20M From Harry Steele
...
Cottage Life: Attn My Millennial Readers: Chester’s ‘Tiny Mansion’ Goes On The Market – A Real Deal At $232,000
...
A Nova Scotian Vacation: Top Ten Things To Do In Canada’s Ocean Playground This Summer
...
Summertime Is Made For The Beach: Exploring The Best Beaches In NS, NB & Of Course The Beach Province Of PEI
...
Past Editions, Below
...
Breaking News: MacPolitics: Tory John Hamm Faced Tough Conservative Leadership Choice – Back Close Friend O’Toole Or Support Hometown Candidate MacKay? – Now Endorses MacKay
...
MacPolitics: For The Record, Here Is John Hamm’s Statement Endorsing Peter MacKay
...
MacPolitics: Former PC MP NS South Shore’s Peter McCreath: ‘No Need To Twin HWY 103 – Just Hire Additional Mounties To Issue More Speeding Tickets’
...
Monday Edition, Below
...
Charity Gift-Giving: An Idea From Tom Rose & Partnership With Sara Napier’s United Way Has Helped Raise $6.7 M For Newly Created Atlantic Compassion Fund & Counting & Growing
...
Sunday Edition, Below
...
Residential Real Estate Still Hot In HFX Commons & City’s Northend – Despite Pandemic Times – Says Realtor Rosie Porter
...
Real Estate Also Hot In Halifax Southend – Realtor Meghan Laing Says
...
Our Sunday News Scoop: Halifax Port: That $12M Crane Being Shipped To Southend Container Terminal Delayed Off Coast Of Africa
...
Premier Stephen McNeil & Highways Minister Lloyd Hines Usher In Golden Era For NS Road Builders – A Title Once Given To John Buchanan
...
103 HWY: NS Highways Minister Lloyd Hines Offers Reasons Twinning Paving Tender Results In Bids $5 Million Lower Than Department’s Own Budget Estimates
...
Don Mills: 103 HWY Twinning Tenders Ought To Have Been Issued In Winter – Criticizes McNeil Government Tardy Tender Practices
...
That Extra $230 M In Road Building Work Does Not Include Twinning To Bridgewater Nor The Canso Causeway – We Asked The Question Of HWYs Minister Hines
...
Development: Joseph Arab Wants 16-Storey Tower Built At Gottingen Street’s Victoria Hall
...
Development: Danny Chedrawe Parlayed A 6/49 Lotto Win To Becoming A Noted City Condo & Apartment Builder
...
Development: What’s Next For Danny Chedrawe: Cruikshank’s, Bens Bakery & Mills Bros. Projects In The Works
...
Development: Danny Chedrawe: Part III: A Look At His Developments Over 30-Years
...
Development: Sam Nahas & Greater HFX Partnership Explain Why So Many Developers From Lebanese Community In Halifax
...
Notebook Archives: Before He Died, John Buchanan Confessed: ‘I Could Not Say No To The Voters’
...
Saturday Edition, Below
...
Realtor Rosie Porter Sells Andy & Karen Lynch’s HFX Abode Over Facetime – Ontario Buyers Did Not Tour It
...
Our Saturday News Scoop: HFX Hospitality Titan Dennis Campbell: ‘We Will Launch Harbour Hoppers & Other Tour Boats July 1st – But Revenues Will Be Down By 75%’
...
Discover Halifax’s Tourism Exec Ross Jefferson: Advertisement Campaigns To Encourage Nova Scotians To Vacation Locally
...
Discover Halifax Tourism Agency Forecasts $2.3 Million Hit – Part II With Ross Jefferson
...
Alison Strachan: Sifting Through Photographs & Thinking About A Vacation Close To Home
...
MacPolitics: Will NS Premier Stephen McNeil Call A Fall Vote?
...
MacPolitics: PC Leader Tim Houston Encourages Nova Scotians To Vacation Locally
...
Wednesday Edition
...
Cottage Life: Richie Mann On Pros & Cons Of Northumberland Strait Cottage Ownership
...

Encore: Opinion – Chad Bowie’s Take: Politicians Dithering, Business Community Must Act To Save Pulp Mill

Editor’s Note: Further to coverage on Northern Pulp elsewhere in this edition of The Notebook, here is an encore column from January on why the business community has to step up to the plate on the future of the Pictou pulp mill.

Opinion

By Chad Bowie

“You guys really need to go harder on fracking. If you did, I’m sure I could rustle up some votes—and some dollars—from my friends. I’m sick and tired of this province saying no to jobs and development.”

I heard that statement—or a variation—countless times in the lead-up to Nova Scotia’s 2017 provincial election campaign.

Along with the very capable Janet Fryday Dorey and former/future MP Scott Armstrong, I headed up the 2017 Tory campaign effort.

On occasion, that resulted in my being crammed into a corner at some gathering while a random member of the province’s business community lectured me on the importance of getting the economy going.

In most of those conversations, fracking became a metaphor for unconventional, bold resource development and trying new things to grow the economy. More than once, I was pressed to use my influence to ensure the Progressive Conservatives campaigned on the issue—aggressively.

Once counseled, I went through the routine of thanking my self-made friend for their insights and assured them I would do my best to make fracking a centerpiece of the Tory platform. Then I would politely remind them that the best way to make an impact on the province’s future was to make a generous contribution to support our upcoming campaign.

But here’s what I wanted to say…

*clears throat*

“DUH! But where were you two and a half years ago when the Progressive Conservative Party led the fight and raised all kinds of hell opposing the McNeil Liberals’ fracking ban? Where were your influence, your voice, and your money then?”

I often imagine the sound of crickets when I think of what response that question would have garnered.

That’s because during the legislature’s raucous fracking debate in 2014, only the Progressive Conservative Party stood on principle and urged the province to say yes to jobs, growth, and development.

The business community members who challenged me to make fracking the centerpiece of our campaign were nowhere to be found during the real fight, when it mattered.

Maybe they’re too dignified to engage in petty politics.

The result? In spite of spirited opposition from Tory leader Jamie Baillie, the McNeil Liberals successfully passed a law to ban fracking in Nova Scotia.

What the business community missed was that by 2017 when I was being dragged into corners at cocktail parties and educated on the benefits of a robust resource industry, the battle had already been lost.

But this column isn’t about fracking.

Rather, this column should be considered a warning to the province’s business community who today are making the same mistakes on the important issue of the future of the Northern Pulp mill near Pictou. Their silence is putting our economy at risk and must come to an end.

At high-end restaurants and in boardrooms across the province, members of the business community are whispering and lamenting about the devastating impact Northern Pulp’s closure will have on our economy.

Better than anyone, they understand that in a weak economy, traditional resource industries like forestry are the only thing keeping many communities alive.

They know full well that should Northern Pulp fail to receive an extension to install its new treatment facility (which is desperately needed), the mill will close, and upwards of 2,000 direct and indirect jobs will vanish.

They also understand that service businesses in Pictou and surrounding areas depend greatly on their customers being gainfully employed. They would know Northern Pulp’s operations directly affect and benefit over 1,300 companies across several industries with a total annual value output exceeding $535 million.

And they’re well aware that the mill’s closure will be felt far outside of Pictou. Woodlots and sawmills across the province, especially in the South Shore region, will suffer dire consequences.

Finally, the province’s business community is fully hip to the fact that even macro-economic drivers like the Port of Halifax stand to lose if the mill fails. After all, by now it’s been well documented that Northern Pulp is the largest shipper at the Port of Halifax (with nearly $200 million exported to China in 2018), and that the mill puts hundreds of millions into the province’s economy each year.

Given the numbers, the province’s business community is right to be deeply concerned about what the mill’s closure will mean. But they’re wrong to whisper on the sidelines, expecting the politicians to provide a path forward. Remember, that didn’t work out so well in the fracking debate.

The business community must come to the realization that the province’s top politicians have sadly relinquished their leadership on the Northern Pulp file. Instead of finding a solution, our top politicians are content to play an ugly, divisive, dangerous game of putting the burden of approving a much-needed extension on the local First Nation community—a horrible failure of leadership.

So long as the politicians carry on with idle platitudes and avoid taking a strong stand, they aren’t worth listening to. So, let’s bypass them.

To save the mill and prevent an economic disaster, Nova Scotia’s business community must enter the fray united. Our economy simply can’t afford for us to allow radical left-wing activists and anti-job protestors to control the dialogue unopposed.

That’s not to say it will be easy.

There are complicated environmental issues that must be addressed. However, they should be addressed based on science, not knee-jerk agendas of social justice warriors.

Meanwhile, the economic issues also have to be addressed in a sound, factual way. And, considering the absence of political leadership, the business community is best suited to fill this role.

So let’s get to work.

It’s time for a major public relations campaign, a well-funded lobby effort, and an honest dialogue with the public on the real impacts Northern Pulp’s demise will have on the province.
The politicians have skipped town. It’s time for the business community to demonstrate they’ve learned from their inaction on the fracking debate – they can do that by acting to protect our economy.

If they do, the politicians will inevitably follow, trust me.

But if they don’t, they will have forfeited their moral authority to lecture in the corners of cocktail receptions and fundraisers.

Chad Bowie is a long-time conservative political strategist. He is also a direct marketing and political consultant. He owns Chad Bowie Consulting. He can be reached at chad@chadbowie.com.

Return Home

Contact The Editor

Share This
error: Alert: All content is protected. Copying or Printing this material is not allowed at this time.