There goes the Cana­dian dream

Nor­ris Arm cou­ple weigh­ing op­tions as new bud­get brings fi­nan­cial chal­lenges

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY SA­MAN­THA GAR­DINER TC ME­DIA The Ad­ver­tiser

The bud­get is com­ing down hard on New­found­lan­ders from all walks of life, and for one Nor­ris Arm cou­ple it’s cre­at­ing an ab­so­lute night­mare not at all re­sem­bling the dream they held for three years.

Misty Mbatkam has an African hus­band, Valery. Due to the length of time it took to get his Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship pa­pers in or­der, they moved to South Korea so they could work, save money and be with each other.

Dur­ing their time in South Korea the cou­ple strug­gled to sur­vive in a place where they didn’t fit in. But they main­tained their ul­ti­mate goal of mov­ing “’home” to New­found­land would be worth it. They fo­cused on sav­ing money to be able to start that life to­gether.

“We had a hard two years up there. We suf­fered (and) the only thing we said (was that) the pot of gold at the end of the rain­bow was go­ing to be com­ing home here and mak­ing a good life for our­selves,” Mbatkam said.

It turns out there is no gold in the end, es­pe­cially with the new pro­vin­cial bud­get and the in­creased taxes and fees that come with it.

“It might not seem like a lot to some peo­ple, $3,000 ex­tra, but it’s go­ing to be a sting for us. To go back and forth to work with gas and in­surance, it’s go­ing to be hard,” she said about the fi­nan­cial chal­lenges they now face.

Valery has a master’s de­gree in in­ter­na­tional busi­ness, but he is un­able to work us­ing his de­gree in New­found­land, so he is work­ing at a garage in Gan­der. She works in Grand Fall­sWind­sor.

“Right now we pay $379 a month for in­surance. That’s just li­a­bil­ity. Now they’re say­ing that’s go­ing to go up an­other 15 per cent and then with the stick­ers, how can me and him re­ally sur­vive? We’re just do­ing it now with two of us work­ing,” said Mbatkam.

“It’s sad. He’s out there with his ed­u­ca­tion mak­ing $11.63. He’s got to drive to Gan­der ev­ery day. Re­ally, he’s work­ing for noth­ing,” Mbatkam said.

They were go­ing to use their sav­ings to pay for Valery to do the li­censed prac­ti­cal nurs­ing pro­gram so he could get a Cana­dian ed­u­ca­tion and would not have to work in the garage.

“I just want him to get some Cana­dian ed­u­ca­tion so he’ll be able to get some­thing, be- cause a man with his ed­u­ca­tion shouldn’t be out mak­ing $11.63 an hour,” said Mbatkam.

Now it’s look­ing like they would need to get a loan for him to go to school, which would put them in an even worse fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.

“We’re be­tween a rock and a hard place. There’s nowhere for us to turn,” Mbatkam told TC Me­dia. “Since we went away we’re do­ing pretty good. We’re not liv­ing pay­cheque to pay­cheque, but it’s go­ing to come to that.”

Mbatkam said she felt she could cry when lis­ten­ing to the bud­get an­nounce­ments.

“Be­cause it’s al­most like I lied to Valery about what our life was go­ing to be like. That’s the way I felt. I said we’ll go home and we’ll go to work, we’ll save money - not go­ing to hap­pen.”

Now with the ex­tra taxes and fees, the cou­ple is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of packing up and mov­ing, yet again.

“I don’t have an ex­tra $3,000 in my bank ac­count for the ex­tra they’re plan­ning on me pay­ing. I don’t have it,” Mbatkam said.

Three years of plan­ning, dream­ing and mak­ing ar­range­ments are now at risk.

“I truly thought that we were go­ing to have a re­ally good life over here ... but it’s get­ting to the point where two peo­ple work­ing and two cars and gas and all the cuts, we don’t stand a chance.”

Theirs is a re­al­ity that a lot of other New­found­lan­ders are fac­ing.

“I don’t know what they’re plan­ning on do­ing for the peo­ple, be­cause with all the cut­backs, peo­ple are suf­fer­ing,” added Mbatkam.

“I don’t know what they’re plan­ning on do­ing for the peo­ple, be­cause with all the cut­backs, peo­ple are suf­fer­ing.” Misty Mbatkam


Misty and Valery Mbatkam are feel­ing the back­lash of the newly re­leased bud­get and are even con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of mov­ing as the ex­penses as­so­ci­ated with liv­ing in New­found­land soar.

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