The province of Nova Scotia is opening an office in Ottawa to help create a better awareness and understanding within the federal government of Nova Scotia’s priorities. “This office will provide our province with a tangible presence in our national capital that will ensure the priorities of Nova Scotians will be well known and well represented,” said Premier John Hamm, who is also the minister for intergovernmental affairs. “Consistent face-to-face contact is essential to develop and enhance important working relationships. The office will be available to business, academic and other political leaders as well, as they work to advance Nova Scotia’s interests.” The opening of an Ottawa office is part of the province’s federal-provincial strategy which is taking a co-ordinated corporate approach to intergovernmental relations and increasing Nova Scotia’s visibility in Ottawa among senior decision makers. The office will be part of the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs. Premier Hamm will officially open the office on Feb. 6. Intergovernmental Affairs senior representative in Ottawa will be Ian Thompson, a well-known business and community leader in Halifax. Mr. Thompson has owned and operated a successful communications company, worked in communications with two energy companies and served on the boards of not-for-profit business, cultural and health-related organizations. He has served as chair of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, as well as president of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the International Cystic Fibrosis Association. He will begin his assignment Jan. 30. “We are pleased to have Ian Thompson establish Nova Scotia’s presence in Ottawa and develop key working relationships with federal decision makers,” said Premier Hamm. The relationship with the federal government is an important one for Nova Scotia. About one-third of Nova Scotia’s revenues come from federal transfer payments. Since the mid-1990s, the federal government has limited the level of direct financial support it provides in a wide range of program areas. “We are confident that the office, together with the ongoing work by Nova Scotia’s premier, ministers, deputy ministers and senior bureaucrats, will allow us to develop a stronger relationship with decision makers in Ottawa,” said Premier Hamm. The office will also be available to business, academic and political leaders of other parties, as well as Nova Scotia groups and organizations who are in Ottawa, as they work to advance Nova Scotia’s interests. The annual cost of operating the office will be about $400,000. The salary for the senior representative is $130,000 per year. Currently, eight provincial and territorial jurisdictions have offices in Ottawa including Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Nova Scotia’s office is located at Constitution Square, 350 Albert St.