Maine papermakers are looking north and not exactly enjoying the view. But there isn’t much that can easily be done to improve the outlook.

What’s clouding the northern skies from the Pine Tree State’s perspective is a plan by the government of Nova Scotia to spend $125 million to help reopen a shuttered paper mill in Cape Breton. The mill produced coated supercalendar paper, a heavy, shiny stock used in catalogs and magazines.

And in case anyone’s wondering, no, the U.S. government has no plans to spend an equivalent amount on any mills on this side of the border.

That’s not saying it should, either — it’s just pointing out that the two countries have different views on what kinds of industries deserve taxpayer help.

If you run a failing automobile manufacturer or have a super idea for renewable energy (which may or may not pan out in practice), you can count on help from Washington. But in Canada, natural-resource-based industries and transportation are the squeaky wheels that often get greased.

Meanwhile, the Maine Pulp and Paper Association says the market for that type of paper is “oversupplied,” and with more supply chasing less demand, prices — and profits — are what go down.

John Williams, the MPPA’s president, says that the new mill’s output shouldn’t be damaging enough to shut down a Maine mill, but individual paper machines producing the same product could potentially be affected.

The Canadian deal, which would involve a former NewPage Corp. mill in Port Hawkesbury, still needs approval from Canadian revenue officials.

As communities all over the state’s central, northern and eastern regions know, Maine’s paper industry has dwindled in the past decade.

The industry now employs half the number of workers it did a decade ago. Still, its 7,400 current workers make an average of $63,000, and mills provide 60 percent to 80 percent of the property taxes in their communities.

Production has been rising lately, but shifts away from catalogs and magazine readership to online shopping and publishing have hurt the market for the very type of paper Canada wants to subsidize.

All U.S. papermakers can do is try to lower production costs until the customer base starts growing again — if it ever does.

And that can’t be good news for some Maine workers.