Dispatches from Canada's Incredible Shrinking Region

Dispatch 1 - Emilie Chiasson 

Recently, The Globe and Mail published an article titled: How the Maritimes became Canada’s incredible shrinking region. 

Much hand-wringing and Facebook whining ensued in this part of the world where I live - which happens to be the shrinking region in question. But, I do believe that hope is not lost, that if people are willing to - you know - do something instead of talking about doing something - we might not disappear just yet. 

 Emilie's favourite Incredible Shrinking Region photo: Conrad's Beach in Nova Scotia.

Emilie's favourite Incredible Shrinking Region photo: Conrad's Beach in Nova Scotia.

In order to get to the doing part, I wanted to hear from people who are smart, who've thought about what to do to make it better. So, really, Step 1 of the doing is going to be the assembling and sharing of ideas. (Pssst: that's this step, this one right here). I've asked everyone the same set of questions and for their favourite picture of the Incredible Shrinking Region.

To kick things off, here's Emilie:

Occupation:

 Director, Atlantic Ovarian Cancer Canada (charity)

Why I choose to live in Canada's "incredible shrinking region":

I lived in the ‘Incredible Growing Region’ of Canada also known as Toronto – the size of the city caused me to feel not connected and I felt I was existing as a consumer.  I decided to move back to Halifax to be closer to family, reduce my cost of living, eliminate commuting, know the people in my neighbourhood and instead of using vacation time to ‘come home’ I use it to travel.  Nova Scotia for me represents so many things I value… connectedness, community, authenticity, simplicity and lots of non-pretentious fun!  In the run of a day I can achieve so much more than my coworkers across the country.  People pick up their phones, small commutes to meetings and connections are easy to make.  I would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a little fish in a big pond. 

My specific ideas for stopping the shrink include:

SAY YES instead of No to anything new and different.  We have a lot of old fashioned leadership here… youthful and bold perspectives are needed.  Most anyone who lives ‘out west’ would return to this area in a heartbeat if there were well paying jobs available – attract and grow business, offer tax breaks/incentives for small business, sell our tourism better.   Everyone criticizes each other instead of working together. 

My frustrations are:

In the charitable world Atlantic Canadians GIVE the most amount of money and RECEIVE the LEAST amount of funding/services.  Few clinical trials ever happen in this region.

I wish:

(For) population growth, business growth, to see families stay, rural life becoming vibrant again and that people will start talking about all the positive things instead of negative.

Want to weigh in? Post a comment here or connect with me via Twitter @somethingwitty.