Economic issues dominated discussion today, Oct. 29, between Premier Rodney MacDonald and members of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. It was the latest in a series of meetings with business leaders in Nova Scotia. Premier MacDonald said that with the global economic situation dominating headlines, now is the time for the people of the province to work together to ensure stability. “We will get through these difficulties,” said the Premier. “Government needs to show leadership in times like this, but part of leadership is working with people, listening to their ideas, and getting feedback on initiatives that have already begun.” The Premier reiterated his commitment to a balanced budget. He said if that means making hard decisions regarding spending, then he is willing to make those decisions. “Other provinces are running deficits, but we are not going to run a deficit,” he said. “I am absolutely committed to that.” Chamber officials told the premier that so far, consumer confidence in Nova Scotia remains strong, and urged the premier and government to take action to ensure that businesses and consumers remain optimistic about the province’s economic situation. “So far, business hasn’t been affected too much, but it can take six months or so for the impact to start showing up in stores and businesses around the province,” said Valerie Payn, president of the Halifax Chamber. “We need to work together to ensure consumer confidence doesn’t erode.” Other issues discussed at the meeting included downtown Halifax development, the province’s tax review, and the shortage of skilled labour in Nova Scotia. The premier will meet with the Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce next month. Last week, he met with members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. The premier will also attend the first ministers meeting on the economy being hosted by the prime minister in early November.