rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Why is Nova Scotia making it harder to keep the graduates it needs?

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: SFriedbergPhoto/flickr

rabble.ca is reader-supported journalism! Like this article? Chip in to keep stories like these coming.


The Halifax Partnership, the community economic development organization set up to -- ta-da! -- "bring private and public sector stakeholders together to create prosperity," says Halifax needs to "focus on creating opportunities for recent graduates, both domestic and international, to enter the local labour force."

That's the key take-away -- perhaps penetrating glimpse into the obvious -- in this year's "Halifax Index 2015," the Partnership's annual "economic gut check with insights for action."

The problem, it seems to me, is not identifying this problem, but in solving the problem before it -- figuring out how to lure more university students to enroll and/or stay here.

That becomes clear when you read the news around the news from last week's Partnership report.

Let's start with university tuition hikes.

The day the Partnership's report was released, Dalhousie's Student Union predicted some of its students will face $1,000 increases next year.

This spring, the McNeil government announced it was temporarily lifting a three per cent cap on tuition fee increases universities can charge students. Since Nova Scotia universities -- beset by years of under-funding by cash-strapped provincial governments -- already charge among the highest tuitions in the country, that news could hardly be considered a billboard advertising for more students.

But it gets worse. While the cap will go back on the tuition piggy bank for Nova Scotia students next year, universities will be free to charge out-of-province and international students -- both key to overcoming our declining birth rate -- whatever the market will bear.

And there is no limit on how much universities can charge for grad programs, where tuition has increased 30 per cent over the past four years.

High tuition costs -- along with the reality our obstetricians and gynaecologists are among the lowest paid in the country -- may explain yet another news story published the day after the release of Halifax Index 2015. It noted that not one of the six ob-gyns completing their training in Halifax this year will stick around to open a practice here.

None of that is to argue against the Halifax Partnership's prescription -- simply to make the point that we seem to making it harder, not easier to create those grads we so desperately need.

This article first appeared in Stephen Kimber's Halifax Metro column.

Photo: SFriedbergPhoto/flickr

rabble.ca is reader-supported journalism! Like this article? Chip in to keep stories like these coming.


Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.