Nova Scotia Billboards, are selling the benefits of immigration and international students in an attempt to “get the facts out and set the record straight,” says the city’s chamber of commerce.
The caption comes just two weeks after billboards reading “Say NO to mass immigration” appeared in Halifax, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Regina.
Those adverts were quickly removed by the company that owns the signs in reaction to what it called “overwhelming” public criticism.
The nine (9) digital billboards released this week are co-sponsored by the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, and EduNova, a provincial association of education and training institute.
The new digital ads alternate between five captions:
- “Immigration Grows our economy, diversity and jobs.”
- “Nova Scotia is Growing Thanks to Immigration.”
- “Immigration Brings about a new World of Experience.”
- “Immigration … It’s our Strength, It’s Our Story.”
- “15,000 foreign students add over $400,000,000 to Nova Scotia’s Economy.”
‘We want people to come to Nova Scotia’
The President and Chief executive of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Patrick Sullivan, told Canusim that the new billboards were not necessarily a response to the earlier anti-immigration posters, which he considered “false advertising.”
“There is no ‘mass immigration’ to Canada,” he declared.
Sullivan said immigration is important to the economies of Nova Scotia and Halifax and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce has always supported it for “well over” a decade.
The billboards are a response to that ongoing strategy.
“We felt it was essential to establish some facts and set the record straight,” he said. “In a non-political way, we wanted to enlighten residents of Halifax and Nova Scotia how crucial immigration is to our economic story and how vital immigration is to our economy.”
Nova Scotia is facing an ageing population, Sullivan noted, and immigration is required to ensure employers in the province have the employees they need to stay in business and contribute to the growth of the economy.
“We want newcomers to come to Nova Scotia,” he said. “We’re excited about welcoming them and we see it as a problem for our economy if they don’t want it.”
The general public response to the new billboards adverts has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Sullivan said, noting that was not the case for the earlier anti-immigration posters.
“We’ve had a lot of people congratulate us,” he said. “We’ve had very positive responses from the majority of people.”
The building housing the museum is situated at Halifax Habour and was initially a processing centre for immigrants coming by ship from Europe.
“Hundreds of thousands if not millions of Canadians can trace their lineage to Pier 21,” Sullivan said, so it seems like an situable place to talk about the positive advantages of immigration.”
Raising immigration to Nova Scotia is a fundamental focus of the province’s government, which considers it important to revitalizing communities and filling persistent labour shortages.
Last year those efforts resulted in a record 5,970 new immigrants to Nova Scotia, which the province’s Office of Immigration says it is likely to increase this year.