February 15, 2017 7:05 pm
Updated: February 15, 2017 9:13 pm

Nova Scotia premier says province is ‘moving in the right direction’

WATCH ABOVE: Despite ongoing turmoil in the province, Premier Stephen McNeil delivered an upbeat, optimistic message on Wednesday during his 2017 State of the Province Address.

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Despite protests and ongoing labour disputes, Premier Stephen McNeil says the province is “moving in the right direction.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia to impose parts of contract previously rejected by teachers

More than 600 people gathered at the World Trade and Convention Centre on Wednesday to hear the premier’s fourth annual state of the province address.

The event, which was hosted by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, took place mere hours after the Nova Scotia’s Teacher Union announced members will hold a one-day strike on Friday.

Despite the elephant in the room, McNeil’s message was one of optimism.

“No matter how many headlines you read, no matter how many people may scream from whatever rafter they want to scream from, from whatever corner of the street they find, they cannot deny the fact that this province is moving in the right direction,” said McNeil.

He told the packed room of business leaders that despite negative press on issues such as the Bluenose II project and the Yarmouth-to-Maine ferry service, good things are happening in Nova Scotia.

READ MORE: Kevin O’Leary letter puts N.S. Premier Stephen McNeil ‘on notice’

“There will be those that will complain about the decisions I make as your premier. And you hear about them a lot,” said McNeil.

“But no one can deny the fact that this province is moving in the right direction. No one can deny the fact that 5,000 people chose this province as home last year – the largest increase since the end of the Second World War.”

Improvements still needed

Halifax Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Patrick Sullivan said while he agrees the province is doing well,  there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

“We do need improvements in the tax area, relief in tax for corporate businesses, we need to have an improvement in regulation or a reduction in regulation,” said Sullivan.

“Both of those things would go a long way to helping the Nova Scotia economy.”

McNeil’s address was well received by the packed ballroom – a stark contrast to the protests happening just a few blocks away.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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