Cre­at­ing jobs should be a key pri­or­ity

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

There are many chal­lenges fac­ing this prov­ince as we close out 2016, but the big­gest one in the minds of many peo­ple is the jobs is­sue fac­ing this prov­ince. If we don’t do some­thing about it, things are go­ing to get a lot worse.

For as long as I can re­mem­ber, the lack of long-term, good pay­ing jobs has al­ways been a prob­lem in this prov­ince and has led to many of our peo­ple hav­ing no choice but to leave the prov­ince for other ar­eas of the coun­try where op­por­tu­ni­ties are more plen­ti­ful.

The past few years have been dif­fer­ent here though; we’ve seen many of our young peo­ple work here at home due in part to projects like He­bron, Long Har­bour, the off­shore and Muskrat Falls cre­at­ing lots of jobs. It’s been a good time to find a job here at home.

Un­for­tu­nately, right now, those jobs are dry­ing up. This is the case with megapro­jects — when they’re done, they’re done, and peo­ple move on to other jobs, quite of­ten out of the prov­ince. That’s been the case here in this prov­ince for years.

To me, it has to change. We need to be cre­at­ing jobs where peo­ple can work at home for their en­tire ca­reers, and not just one to two years. Peo­ple usu­ally go to col­lege here — they should be able to get long-term work here, not get their cour­ses done and then look to main­land Canada for op­por­tu­ni­ties. We live in a great prov­ince, but for it to be truly great it should in­clude long-term em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for ev­ery­one, not th­ese short-term megapro­jects that have long been a part of our prov­ince’s em­ploy­ment his­tory.

I know in my area, if ev­ery­thing comes to pass, work should be plen­ti­ful. A fish farm is ru­moured for the area, as is the re­open­ing of the mine in St. Lawrence. Th­ese things would cre­ate long-term em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple. We need sto­ries like that in ev­ery cor­ner of the prov­ince, and not have so many peo­ple who right now have no other choice but to leave the prov­ince for work.

So, if I’m the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment and I want to do some­thing to de­fine my gov­ern­ment, I must come up with some sort of jobs plan. Cre­at­ing jobs is a must in a prov­ince that is look­ing at 20 per cent un­em­ploy­ment in a few years’ time, which is a scary prospect, no mat­ter how you look at it.

How do you cre­ate jobs? You cre­ate jobs by cre­at­ing a busi­ness cli­mate where peo­ple want to in­vest here. Go to other prov­inces and see what in­dus­tries they have there. Tourism has been good to this prov­ince. Let’s fo­cus on that, and cre­ate more tourism hot spots in the prov­ince. Our roads are in bad shape, so maybe we could cre­ate jobs by com­ing up with a multi-year in­fra­struc­ture plan prov­ince-wide. Con­sult with peo­ple on the types of op­por­tu­ni­ties they want, and go from there.

This prov­ince should be a place where peo­ple can work and raise their fam­i­lies, not a place that sees more and more peo­ple have no choice but to leave home for work.

Peo­ple mat­ter, and so should cre­at­ing jobs for them, so they can work here at home.

Cre­at­ing jobs is a must in a prov­ince that is look­ing at 20 per cent un­em­ploy­ment in a few years’ time, which is a scary prospect, no mat­ter how you look at it.

Tony Ducey writes from French­man’s Cove, For­tune Bay

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