April 12, 2016 1:02 pm

Mayor of Halifax extends a ‘rainbow-friendly’ invite to PayPal

PayPal is pulling money and jobs from North Carolina after a controversial new law, and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage has taken to social media to let PayPal know Halifax is an all-inclusive city that’s open for business. Global’s Alexa MacLean reports.

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The Mayor of Halifax is hoping the cities “all-inclusive” community will welcome PayPal to do business in the province.

Mayor Mike Savage extended multiple twitter invitations to the company in response to the corporation pulling its expansion project out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

PayPal was set to launch a new operations centre in the Southern state but pulled out after an anti-LGBT bill was passed by state lawmakers.

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“We consider ourselves a very diverse city, certainly very inclusive, specifically in terms of the LGBT community. Right on this very spot we hosted, less than a year ago, the tenth-anniversary of civil marriage in Canada celebrating diversity,” Savage said Monday.

PayPal released a statement explaining the halt to their expansion, that reads in part:

“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.  As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”

The legislation marked the first state law in the nation limiting the bathroom options for transgender people, requiring them to use those conforming to the sex on their birth certificates.

The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections, and blocks municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination and living wage rules.

It’s a move that the executive director of The Youth Project in Halifax feels promotes hatred.

“It’s actually legitimizing hate and it’s very possible that it will lead to increases in violence and even deaths in the trans-community in those states where it’s happening,” said Kate Shewan.

Social media support began to swirl around the idea of bringing PayPal to Halifax

Much of it had to do with the economic growth the city has been experiencing.

“We are now by the next forecast the second-fastest growing city in Canada next to Vancouver so we have lots of great momentum,” said Ron Hanlon, president of Halifax Partnership.

The mayor says the offer may be a stretch but he’s very serious about the invite to do business.

“Obviously it’s a long shot and I’m sure there’s other cities that are doing the same thing but, you know what, aren’t there people that are buying places in Cape Breton because of Donald Trump becoming possibly president?” Savage said.

In a statement emailed to Global News on Tuesday, PayPal said the company is a “big champion for business in Halifax,” adding that they’ve supported several Halifax-based businesses and startups.

“Following our withdrawal from North Carolina, PayPal is looking for a new location for our operations facility,” the email reads.

“As we evaluate our options for expanding into new locations, we will continue to consider what is best for PayPal, our customers and our employees.”

*With files from The Associated Press

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