Three years after the report called, Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Actions for Nova Scotians, or Ivany Report, was published, there doesn’t seem to be much of a change in the province’s current economic state. The report, which essentially laid out 19 recommendations to get the province’s dwindling economy on the path to progress, continues to be talked about in some circles, but very little seems to be done to advance the province’s economic performance when it comes to rural industries, such as forestry. Concerning the province’s potential for growth, the consensus seems to be that the region is rich in natural resources but that we lack innovation and understanding to exploit the economic possibilities.
Of the 19 recommendations laid out by the report, there are quite a few goals which Nova Scotians have taken steps to improve since its publication, such as inter-provincial migrations, retention of international students, youth employment and postsecondary education and training. But not all sections of the report have done their part to change the status quo of some problem areas. For anyone paying attention to Nova Scotia’s natural landscape, it’s no surprise that the province has more potential than it’s being granted, especially when it comes to forestry. But without the infrastructure, workforce, and support of decision makers and swayers, the Ivany Report suggestions that relate to rural development are doomed to disappear into obscurity.
The Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association (NSLFFPA) and other private forestry organizations may be FSC Certified and show proof of their unfailing dedication and progressive attitudes toward a more sustainable forestry industry, but public opinion does not seem affected by these facts. Neither does the government seem too concerned about bettering the forests in anyone’s interests. The report shows that, “industry leaders who work hard to implement sustainable harvesting practices in forestry and fisheries are not helped by lingering stereotypes of rural indifference toward environmental issues.” So where does that leave room for economic growth? If the province’s people don’t want to get behind improving the forestry industry, how much further can Nova Scotia’s natural resource economy be helped? Where is the boom of rural jobs that the province so desperately needs?
As Kingsley Brown, president of NSLFFPA, writes in his opinion piece, “it’s time a legislature group engaged the public on an agreed plan of long-term goals, monitoring and evaluating results, adjusting for change and keeping politics and favouritism out of it, a regular part of the work of the House.”