SPN Editorial: Only slightly tongue-in-cheek
Commentary by Jeff Burgar
for South Peace News
When we first heard of the federal governments attempt to get people moving to where the jobs are, we thought, "Good for you!’’
After all, why should people in Alberta pay into Unemployment Insurance so that people in Nova Scotia can work for 6 months, then book off and sit around drinking beer for the next year or so? And especially, when there are jobs going begging in Alberta?
The reasons why people say they won’t take the jobs are all about the same.
“I have to look after my 84 year-old mother who isn’t well.’’
“My kids are in school. I don’t want to take them away from all their friends.’’
“My wife has a pretty good job. I’m not sure if she could get something as good in Alberta.’’
“We would have to sell our house and I’m not sure if we want to do that.’’
“It’s too hard to find a place to rent in Alberta and I don’t want to buy a house.’’
“All my relatives and friends are around here, and I will miss them too much.’’
So, the rest of us working have to pay to keep these people where they can sit around and entertain themselves. What a crock!
Let’s look as some numbers. Right now there are about 30,000 people unemployed in Nova Scotia alone. There are 60,000 jobs needing to be filled just in Alberta. Thousands more in B.C. and Saskatchewan.
Do the math and even at $1,500 a month on U.I., that’s almost a half billion dollars a year to help out those poor people in Nova Scotia. Paid of course, by those working.
As we said, our first reaction was, “What a crock that is!” But hold on. If it’s good for a person in Nova Scotia, how about it being just as good for a person in High Prairie?
Small town Alberta is famous for constantly losing it’s best and brightest to the charms of the big cities.
Send a son or daughter off to higher education, and the chances of them returning to ply their skills range from slim to non-existent.
We often lament the reason for this is "no jobs.’’ But so what? If there are no jobs in Nova Scotia and folks can stay there using the flimisiest of excuses, why not stay in High Prairie, or Drayton Valley, or Fairview?
So, if there is only enough work in High Prairie for three accountants, or three hair dressers, just to set up an example, then what we need is a rotating program. Three hair dressers work for six months then go on pogey. This time off lets three more work for their six months, then they book off. Basically, you can easily get twice as many jobs as what you started with and with a bit of planning, probably even more.
Us arguing against the federal program as it now sits is simple foolishness. We should instead support it to the best of our ability. And take advantage of it too!
Rock on, pogey wagon!