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Trio of Nova Scotia groups roll out new campaign highlighting positives of immigration

he Halifax Chamber of Commerce, EduNova and ISANS are rolling out a series of billboards touting the benefits of immigration in Nova Scotia. .
he Halifax Chamber of Commerce, EduNova and ISANS are rolling out a series of billboards touting the benefits of immigration in Nova Scotia. . Patrick Sullivan/Global News

A trio of Nova Scotia organizations are teaming up to spread the word about the positive effects of immigration on the province.

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce, EduNova and ISANS are rolling out their messages across nine electronic billboards in Halifax. Each will rotate through five different messages, including:  “15,000 international students add over $400,000,000 to Nova Scotia’s economy” and “Immigration Grows: the economy, jobs and diversity.”

For Patrick Sullivan, president of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the campaign was a simple idea with an important message.

“We are an aging population and we need more people,” Sullivan told Global News on Wednesday, saying that immigration helps Nova Scotia grow and thrive.

READ MORE: Anti-immigration billboard featuring Maxime Bernier will be taken down, company says

If a billboard addressing immigration sounds familiar, it may be because of a widely-derided third-party campaign run in Halifax and other places across the country last month.

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The advertisements endorsed Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) while calling on voters to “say NO to mass immigration.”

The campaign — run by True North Strong & Free Advertising Corp — was criticized nearly immediately as promoting anti-immigrant rhetoric.

In response to overwhelming criticism, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, the company that owned the billboards, removed the advertisements a few days after they first went up.

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National conference on immigration to spark conversation, ideas in Halifax
National conference on immigration to spark conversation, ideas in Halifax

The three Nova Scotia organizations are now choosing to fight fire with fire, advertising in the same medium but sending a much more “positive” message.

“It’s fair to say we didn’t need a reason to address this issue,” said Sullivan, explaining that promoting immigration has been part of the chamber of commerce’s strategy for years.

“But when we saw negative messages it felt right to highlight the real story of immigration.”

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The campaign has already been well received, with Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil endorsing the message.

“Here’s what immigration really means to Nova Scotia. Thanks for sharing the facts,” read a tweet from the premier’s official Twitter account.