When the solution becomes part of the problem
Lets talk about the new plan the Liberals have cooked up, that Kevin Falcon was talking about in Kamloops this week:
” The B.C. Liberal government is developing a program to move employable people on welfare to northern B.C., where they will be trained and housed.
B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon mentioned the program under development Tuesday during a budget-style speech to the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce.
While details are not yet available, Falcon said in an interview with reporters that government is developing a welfare-to-work program.
“We’re working across government to put together a package to find a way to fly them up to where work is, provide accommodation and training, if necessary, and put them into high-paying jobs.”
In his speech to the Chamber, Falcon said Dawson Creek’s mayor attended one of the Occupy protests in Vancouver last year, handing out business cards and encouraging people unhappy with their standard of living to move north.
Falcon said the program would target jobs in the northeast and northwest, both of which are experiencing high rates of growth, and resulting low unemployment.
“There’s huge opportunities and they don’t have the workforce to deal with it.”
Falcon said government officials are working with industry to come up with a program that will fill needs.
While there will be costs, Falcon said there will be offsetting savings from reduction in social assistance payments by government and additional income tax revenue from new workers”
Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with this one, the potential for disastrous consequences to many northern communities is something Falcon might not be thinking about.
While this gosh-darn amazing job plan of Christy’s made her subject of many jokes on twitter yesterday ( she actually went so far to take credit for jobs that she had nothing to do with like the opening of the Mackenzie mill in 2010, which is advertised on her Jobs Plan site), this new move has me shaking my head.
First,we already know that mines in BC have been allowed to hire overseas workers because, they claim, the lack of skilled workers here. While I find it extremely hard to believe this mine couldn’t find one single Canadian suitable to work there, it speaks to the need for skilled labour, extremely skilled labour such as welders,machinists,equipement operators. All trades which take extremely comprehensive training programs and education, as well as extended apprenticeship programs. Expensive programs that even young -and mature – men here have a hard time financing. Not something you can just learn at the drop of a hat.A lot of companies don’t want to hire newbies for safety reasons. And as you notice in the comments section of the Kamloops article, there are a host of other issues that will greet people forced to move to the north: exorbitant rents, lack of affordable housing and an extremely high cost of living in many booming industry towns. Earth to Falcon, earth to Falcon…. this from the man who tried to woo the “Forgotten North” by promising to open a second premiers office up there if he won the leadership…
I checked a few job search engines online to see what kind of jobs are out there and this link is a good example of what was found on other job search site, more often than not the same job listed over multiple sites: http://www.jobsearchonline.bc.ca/Job%20Search/jobpostings.htm
Sure, a few entry level jobs, but not a lot of jobs at all, nor are there many listed that are going to pay a living wage high enough for someone to afford the rents up there- does the government intend to subsidize them, pay for vehicles since transit is not an option and many people on welfare can’t afford a car, or more likely up there, a truck? Are they going to assist with higher food costs and higher utility bills from the longer, colder winter? Good grief. The list goes on.
I’m thinking this job plan has another motive, one a bit longer term than solving any current gosh darn amazing jobs plan issue. I suspect this is a push to start creating a pool of workers for Site C and for the expected 80,000 jobs to be created by fracking over the next 25 years, as detailed on this very informative website, The North Peace Economic Development Commission. http://npedc.ca/key-opportunities
In fact, BC Hydro has already begun advertising business and job opportunities for this phase of Site C development and planning… again showing the sham both federal and provincial governments place on the environmental and public consultation process. http://www.bchydro.com/energy_in_bc/projects/site_c/business_opportunities.html
I agree wholeheartedly that BC needs to move to get people working in living wage jobs and get them off welfare, but even the first glimpse at this news from Falcon is so easily torn apart by the reality and cost of doing it. And I have yet to really touch the social cost of a failed initiative, in communities where many people have already gone to try and live, lured by talk of big jobs, big money… only to end up forced back south by the reality of boomtowns that need highly skilled and educated labour forces, not the average jack or jill.
What are your thoughts on this new plan?