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Monday, April 10, 2006

Newfoundland and Labrador's Jobless Rate

“It was the best of times it was the worst of times.”

So opens the classic “A Tale of Two Cities”, but those words are also quite appropriate as the title of Canada’s latest employment report. The most recent numbers are out and they show that Canada is enjoying a jobless rate of 6.3%, its lowest 32 years. Over 55,000 new jobs were created last month and provinces right across the country are showing strong numbers. Well, almost across the Country.

Enter Alberta and Newfoundland & Labrador, or for our purposes, the “two cities” to be discussed. (I know they’re actually Provinces but who the heck ever heard of “A Tale of Two Provinces”?).

Although Canada’s overall numbers are looking up, the latest figures show the same old story we’ve been seeing for years. While Alberta leads the nation with the lowest unemployment rate, 3.4%, Newfoundland & Labrador trails the Dominion at 15.7%. It makes me wonder what the numbers would look like if all of those Newfoundlanders working in Alberta actually came home at the same time. Ohhhh, it makes me shudder to think it!

I suspect such a migration would drive Newfoundland & Labrador’s unemployment rate up to well over 50% while Alberta would actually end up showing a negative number (is that even possible?). The sudden shift in population might even make Canada tip over into the Atlantic, but I digress.

Meanwhile, back to the topic at hand, what the hell is the problem here? We have a logging and paper industry, mining, fishing, a vibrant retail sector, a growing hi-tech industry, tourism and an oil industry that has been prospering for years now. Granted our oil projects aren’t as big as Alberta’s, but neither is our population. There are only about 500,000 people here and only around half of those are of working age, so why can’t they find employment? I know it’s not because we don’t have anyone qualified for gainful employment, if that were the case there wouldn’t be so many of us working in places like Fort McMurray, Alberta (often referred to as Newfoundland’s third largest city).

I think the problem here is one of perception, not talent. I really think the decision makers at many large companies honestly believe the old Central Canadian stereotype of the “dumb Newfie”. I think they see us as a pool of cheap unskilled labor to be used as required but never given any really “complicated” responsibilities that might over tax our poor inbred minds.

Every time a new development comes on stream in this province jobs are created. People are put to work, but more often than not those people come from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta or even Iceland. Why is that?

Don’t get me wrong, I realize people have a right to come down east for work just as much as our folks do who go out west, but come on let’s get real. With unemployment figures like ours, can’t we find a way to hire more local people before we start shipping in the “smart” folks from away?” At least until we dip into the single digit percentages.

I don’t blame those looking for work, not one bit. I do blame the provincial government and the employers in this province.

We have well trained architects, engineers, trades people, scientists, equipment operators, marketing professionals and on and on and on and on. Regardless of this fact, companies doing business in Newfoundland and Labrador always seem to believe they are better off bringing in outside talent to fill high level positions while doling out lower, less responsible positions to “the locals”. Unfortunately our government, often the most feeble minded crowd among us, has done nothing over the years to discourage this practice.

Yes, projects such as the one at Voisey Bay have agreements in place with the provincial government ensuring specific levels of local employment overall, but no company, at least not to my knowledge, has ever been tasked with hiring local talent first when it comes to decision making or power roles.

It’s not rocket science people (even though there are also rocket scientists that hail from here) the fact is, through positioning local resources in decision making, powerful corporate roles the province can help ensure that industry operates for the benefit of local interests, as well as its own.

Who do you think would be most concerned with ensuring that a couple of people from Buchan’s or Branch found a job in their business, an executive from Toronto or a one from Torbay?

I’m not saying we need to close our borders and businesses to outside talent, God no. In fact I applaud anyone who can show a Newfoundlander how to do something. It isn’t that easy to find one who can, but I applaud them when I do. No, I’m talking about ensuring that those who are qualified for leadership positions get through the door before anyone else does. If there truly isn’t anyone qualified in the area, then go ahead and bring someone in, although I don’t know where you’d find them and they’ll likely cost a fortune if they’re that good.

Seriously, when you have a population as talented and as small as ours, with an unemployment rate as big as we do, you really need to think about going local before looking for imports.

Latest Canadian Unemployment Figures:

Alberta: 3.4%
Manitoba: 4.2%
B.C.: 4.4%
Saskatchewan: 5.3%
Ontario: 6.1%
Nova Scotia 7.8%
Quebec: 8.5%
New Brunswick: 9.2%
P.E.I.: 12.0%
Newfoundland: 15.7%

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You won't like this or agree with it, but one of the biggest reasons is the seal hunt.

Foreign investors, whether from the tech sector, manufacturing sector, retail sector, don't want to invest in barbarism. They know the consequences that will face them back home - boycotts, bad press, loss of capital.

The face that Newfoundland shows the world is one of cruelty defended by arrogance in the name of a "tradition" most of the world finds despicable. What sound, moral company wants to do business with people for whom bloodlust is an identity? Who wants to contribute to a tax base used to subsidize that kind of brutality?

And even when someone like Cindy Kangas says she will raise the money to both retire the licenses and promote ecotourism as a viable industry, rather than offering to have a conversation you sh*t on her and call her an extremist.

And you wonder why, short of oil, nobody wants to do business with you?

Your government likes to say you have to slaughter baby seals because there are no other opportunities.

Maybe one day someone in your province will have the brains to figure you out that you got that all backwards. You have no other opportunities because you like to slaughter baby seals.

BNB said...

I heard an interesting theoretical exercise the other day - basically if we look at the losses of finances due to the inequity of the Churchill falls agreement, and other poor deals and imbalances in royalties... if we put that back into the economy and consider the economic growth of schools, stores, factories that this would generate. We would be have-not no more. I wish I could quote him verbatum, it was a very sensible argument.

... and Anon - get off your horse. I don't have nearly patience to explain to you how ludicrous that comment is. Don't comment on things you know absolutely nothing about. Stick to topic.

Anonymous said...

"Don't Wait for the Olympics!" Friends of Animals Tells Tourists, "Boycott Canada Now, 'Til Seal Hunt Stops"

DARIEN, CONNECTICUT, Apr. 10 -/E-Wire/-- With Canada preparing to go full-speed ahead on its annual seal hunt, Friends of Animals today unveiled an international tourism boycott to press the Canadian government to stop the kill.


Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral states: "We ask people everywhere to avoid travel to Canada until its government stops this miserable seal slaughter. The government sets the kill quotas. Government funds assist the kill. These resources must be redirected to build a real economic foundation for Canada's coastal residents. "Don't wait for the Olympics: Stay away and end this now."


The Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment reports that over $20 million in Canadian federal dollars supported seal processing between 1995 and 2001. The funds also maintain plants, cover ice-breaking support, and sustain research and marketing for seal products. In short, the seal-killing industry is propped up.


The World Tourism Organization ranks Canada among the world's top dozen travel destinations. It attracted 20 million tourists in 2002, but by 2004 was down to about 19 million.[1] To boost the industry, Ottawa spent $78 million last year on the Canadian Tourism Bureau.[2] "Obviously," Pricilla Feral stated, "Tourism, which generates tens of billions each year, is vital in a way the heavily subsidized, $16.5 million seal-pelt business is not."


Adds Feral, "Effects on the Royal Canadian Pacific Railroad, cruise lines stopping in Canada, and hotels and attractions from Niagara Falls to Calgary will ripple throughout the economy."


The boycott will place emphasis on Canada's top visitor markets -- people from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and Australia. As hundreds of thousands work in the travel sector, the boycott will impact the Canadian people. But Canada's populace, after all, must be moved to hold its own government accountable.


Friends of Animals called on environmentalists, students, animal advocacy groups, and people on the streets to support the boycott. Says Feral: "Groups have documented and monitored the kill for too long. Forget marine mammal regulations and pretending that enforcement can make it humane. No matter how many seals are killed, it's immoral. Dying is one by one."


Once this killing ends, the group will avidly support ecologically sound travel.


"Seal watching and ecotours, launched in the 1980s through businesses such as Habitat Adventures and Travel Wild Expeditions, are a much better bet to address the province's 15% jobless rate," said Feral.


"That was proven when the whale- killing communities adjusted their economy. We have and will support careful, prudent ecotourism."


Likewise, the Green Party of Canada believes seal watching excursions would be better for the economy and the ecology of the East coast.[3]


The Green Party notes that Europeans arrived on the continent to find about 24 million harp seals living in balance with so many fish that their abundance could impede the passage of ships. Today, less than five million harp seals remain, and the cod are gone.


The Green Party has called for an end to federal support for the kill in no uncertain terms. Its leader, Jim Harris, stated it's high time to "develop sustainable jobs that will bring Newfoundland and Labrador international praise."


Friends of Animals, headquarters in Darien, Connecticut, has been a global leader in animal rights advocacy since 1957. www.friendsofanimals.org - 30 -


/SOURCE:
Friends of Animals
-0-
04-10-2006
/CONTACT:
Contact: Priscilla Feral, President "Don't Wait for the Olympics!" Friends of Animals Tells Tourists, "Boycott Canada Now, 'Til Seal Hunt Stops"; Priscilla Feral (203) 656-1522; feral@friendsofanimals.org
/WEB SITE: http://www.friendsofanimals

Anonymous said...

EXTRACTED FROM: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
>(http://www.pcrm.org/news/fish_report.html)
>
>"Fish and Shellfish: Contamination Problems Preclude Inclusion in the
>Dietary Guidelines for Americans"
>Spring 2004
>
>Safer Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
>High levels of toxins, fat, and cholesterol and a lack of fiber make fish a
>poor dietary choice. Fish oils have been popularized as a panacea against
>everything from heart problems to arthritis. The bad news about fish oils,
>though, is that omega-3s in fish oils are highly unstable molecules that
>tend to decompose and, in the process, release free radicals. Research has
>shown that omega-3s are found in a more stable form in vegetables, fruits,
>and beans.31,32
>
>Individuals need to include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in their
>diets on a daily basis. Alpha-linolenic acid, a common omega-3 fatty acid,
>is found in many vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits. It is
>concentrated in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil and also found in oils such as
>canola, soybean, walnut, and wheat germ. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found
>in smaller quantities in nuts, seeds, and soy products, as well as beans,
>vegetables, and whole grains.33,34 Corn, safflower, sunflower, and
>cottonseed oils are generally low in omega-3s. Fish consumption is by no
>means the only way to ensure adequate intake of essential fatty acids.
>
>Omega-6 Fatty Acids
>
>While supplements and added oils are not typically necessary in the
>vegetarian diet, good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fats should be
>included daily. It is important to take these two fats in the proper ratio
>as well. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3 fatty acids for use in
>the body, and therefore excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids can be a
>problem. The U.S. diet has become heavy in omega-6 fats and low in omega-3
>fats, secondary to a reliance on processed foods and oils. It is necessary
>to balance this by eating a low-fat diet that is low in processed foods and
>with fat mainly coming from omega-3 fatty acids.
>
>Omega-6 fats are found in leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, and
>vegetable oils (corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, sesame, sunflower).
>Other omega-6 fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), can be found
>in more rare oils, including black currant, borage, evening primrose, and
>hemp oils.3 Most diets provide adequate amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
>
> Plant Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
>
> Green leafy vegetables (lettuce, broccoli, kale, purslane, spinach,
>etc.)
>
> Legumes (mungo*, kidney, navy, pinto, or lima beans, peas or split
>peas, etc.)
>
> Citrus fruits, melons, cherries
>
> Ground flaxseed
>
> * Mungo beans are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids. They are
>sold in many Indian groceries and may be found under the name "urid."
>
>
>
>Omega-3 Fatty Acids
>It is important for vegetarians to include foods that are rich in omega-3
>fatty acids on a daily basis. Alpha-linolenic acid, a common omega-3 fatty
>acid, is found in many vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits. The best
>source of alpha-linolenic acid is flaxseeds or flaxseed oil. More
>concentrated sources can be found in oils such as canola (also known as
>rapeseed), soybean, walnut, and wheat germ. Omega-3 fatty acids can be
>found in smaller quantities in nuts, seeds, and soy products, as well as
>beans, vegetables, and whole grains. Corn, safflower, sunflower, and
>cottonseed oils are generally low in omega-3s.
>
> Omega-3 Content of Natural Oils5,6
>
> Flaxseed 53-62%
>
> Linseed 53%
>
> Canola 11%
>
> Walnut 10%
>
> Wheat germ 7%
>
> Soybean 7%
>
>
>
>Flaxseeds for Omega-3s
>Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds are particularly good choices to meet
>your needs for omega-3 fatty acids. One teaspoonful of flaxseed oil or a
>tablespoonful of ground flaxseed will supply the daily requirement of
>alpha-linolenic acid. To protect it from oxygen damage, flaxseed oil or
>ground flax seed must be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer. Use a
>little in dressings for salads or baked potatoes. Don't try to cook with
>this oil, however, as heat damages its omega-3s.For you to absorb what you
>need from flaxseeds, theymust be ground. Simply put fresh flaxseeds in a
>spice or coffee grinder for a few seconds. Some people grind a cup every
>week or so and store it in the freezer. A spoonful can be added to a
>smoothie or sprinkled on breakfast cereal, a salad, or other dish.
>
>
>
>PLANT OMEGA 3 Extracted from:
>http://www.goveg.com/pdfs/nutshell.pdf#xml=http://www.petasearch.org/texis/search/pdfhi.txt?query=plant+omega+3&pr=default&prox=page&rorder=500&rprox=500&rdfreq=500&rwfreq=500&rlead=500&sufs=0&order=r&cq=&id=4435f5b97c

Anonymous said...

Economically and rationally, the seal hunt isn't worth it

Anonymous said...

WHAT ABOUT ENIROMENTALLY

Anonymous said...

Economically and rationally, the seal hunt isn't worth it

Barbara Yaffe

Vancouver Sun 03-30-2006

My sister-in-law is now the proud owner of an impressive array of Beatles
records. She grabbed them from a St. John's friend who junked his beloved
collection after he saw Paul McCartney protest the seal hunt.

Which is to say, defence of the hunt has gone beyond the emotional to the
irrational.
If you live in Newfoundland, you dare not sympathize with McCartney or
Brigitte Bardot or Pamela Anderson, or anyone who criticizes the sacred
ritual of shooting and bludgeoning seals on the ice floes. The messenger is
scum.

Politicians, even as far east as Ottawa, won't touch this controversy with a
10-foot hakapik.

Easterners are so defensive about the hunt they've lost their ability to be
rational about its value, or lack thereof.

When the topic is raised, they foam at the mouth. Earlier this week, off the
Magdalen Islands, sealers -- in a vessel carrying RCMP and fisheries
officers! -- attempted to ram the activists' flimsy inflatable vessel, and
tossed seal guts at them.

Those who can still talk rationally about the hunt should consider some
facts.

The hunt is worth $16.5 million to Canada's economy -- a picayune
enterprise, though it provides money for some needy fishermen during the off
season.

Then again, there's alternative cash to be made from eco-tourism ventures
that would take tourists to the ice to see seals for themselves. Who ever
dreamed whale watching would become so profitable?

Ditching the seal hunt would also stop activists from promoting a seafood
boycott in the U.S. where three-quarters of Canadian seafood is purchased.

The boycott hasn't really started hurting Canada. But who wants to allow it
more time to possibly succeed?

For certain, the seal hunt isn't enhancing the Canadian brand. We have an
international reputation as a humane, progressive nation; why allow a fringe
enterprise to damage it? Who needs the negative international headlines?

And don't blame the celebs; sex sells. And don't blame the seal- hugger
groups; it's legit for them to raise money. Their activities cost cash. In a
democracy they have the right to protest.

Slaughtering animals is never pretty. The important point to note with the
seal slaughter is that humane killing is harder to achieve. Anyone who
watches a seal struggling as it dies slowly won't forget the image. (Video
is available on the Internet and it will turn your tummy.)

Cattle entering slaughterhouses are whacked on the forehead by a captive
bolt pistol and are stunned instantaneously. No suffering.

Pack ice is not a slaughterhouse floor. It's an undulating, freezing cold
environment where sealers must work fast and furiously to harvest. Other
hunters fire rifles from boats. Fishermen aren't marksmen.

There's too much mayhem and movement that goes along with this hunt for it
to be humane. Sure, most seals may be killed humanely; thousands aren't.

I also grimace at the notion of killing a being that's as young as 12 days.
And let's face it, it is done mostly for fur. When did you last eat seal
flipper pie?

Those arguing for a seal cull to save fish have no scientific basis for the
linkage between seals and collapse of the cod stock -- caused by fishermen,
not seals.

Another concern: A warmer climate has left coastal ice more precarious,
which will increasingly endanger the hunters in years to come.

Any rational human being with an objective perspective and a healthy
conscience would look at Canada's seal hunt, the suffering involved in the
way it's carried out, the bad publicity it generates and conclude it's not
worth it.

Ah, but this isn't the reaction of folks on the East Coast who are taking
the actions of the protesters as a direct and personal assault on their very
being and responding with defiance rather than retrospection.

Politicians unfortunately pander to them because they vote and their ridings
are worth as much as any others. Seal protesters, meanwhile, are often
Americans or celebrities from afar and don't vote here. And, of course, the
seals can't cast ballots. So this excuse for an economic pursuit continues
year after year.

The seal hunt is an abomination. Ultimately, we'd all be so much better off
without it.

Anonymous said...

Every heard of www.thesealfishery.com?

Patriot said...

Folks, I hate to be a stick in the mud but this thread is not about the seal hunt. Please try to stay on topic.

If you want to comment on the hunt you can do so by going to one of the articles related to that topic. They are listed in the index on the right side of the page.

Thanks,
Myles

MrChills said...

You won't like this or agree with it, but one of the biggest reasons is the seal hunt.

I had read and heard a lot of stupid things in my life - more so in the last 5 years since I have been working in the USA - but I think this statement might make it to the top of the list.

What colour is the sky in your world? Do you even have the slightest understanding of commerce? If the complete turnaround of the Newfoundland economy relied on people to stop hunting seals, I would fly back to Newfoundland tomorrow and club all the fishermen myself.

I love the fact that the Internet has given people previously without a voice, an option to express their opinion, but when I read rubbish like what you have posted I rethink its value.