Megapro­ject mys­tery

Web­site wants to cre­ate jobs for 38 per cent of N.L. labour force

The Labradorian - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMES MCLEOD

Do you like jobs?

Don’t worry about where the jobs are.

Or what kind of jobs they are. But if you like jobs, you should def­i­nitely check out Job­s­fornl. com, and get ex­cited about jobs!

At some point in the last cou­ple weeks, some­body qui­etly launched a web­site and set up Twit­ter and Face­book ac­counts for Job­s­fornl, the most ex­cit­ing eco­nomic devel­op­ment that no­body has ever heard of.

The web­site claims, “We want to bring jobs to New­found­land and Labrador. We have a fully ap­proved project and plan that is mov­ing for­ward.

“We have been work­ing with our pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment on a new project that will see huge pri­vate sec­tor job growth for decades. Jobs for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

Who is the “we” you ask? They don’t say. And the New­found­land and Labrador gov­ern­ment has no idea who they are ei­ther.

There are hints that it might be a min­ing project — there’s a pic­ture of an ex­ca­va­tor and a man in a hard hat in the web­site back­ground.

But the Department of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has no idea about any of this.

“The Department of Nat­u­ral Re­sources is not fa­mil­iar with the web­site www.job­s­fornl. com,” Min­is­ter Siob­han Coady said in an emailed state­ment. “While we know of many po­ten­tial nat­u­ral re­sources projects for the prov­ince, such as those pro­posed by Alderon or Ta­cora, we don’t know what project is be­ing ref­er­enced on the web­site.”

The web­site claims that it will cre­ate 1,200 jobs in the prov­ince, and an­other 1,600 jobs across the bor­der in Que­bec — “That’s al­most 3000 ac­ces­si­ble jobs!” the site claims, de­scrib­ing the 2,800 the­o­ret­i­cal jobs.

But Lisa Demp­ster, a cab­i­net min­is­ter whose Cartwrightl’anse Au Clair dis­trict bor­ders Que­bec, has no idea what sort of project they’re talk­ing about.

“Never heard of it,” she said. “I’m not fa­mil­iar, so I can’t com­ment, but I will tell you that any time there’s a prospect of jobs, it’s good news for us here in this prov­ince.

The min­ing in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion doesn’t know any­thing about it ei­ther.

“I’ve never seen it be­fore,” Ed Mo­ri­arty, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Min­ing In­dus­try NL. “This is a re­ally strange web­site.”

Saltwire tried to ask some ques­tions di­rectly to Jobs For NL, of course. But when a re­porter sent an email to the listed ad­dress — info@job­s­fornl. com — it bounced back as un­de­liv­er­able, be­cause ap­par­ently that email ad­dress doesn’t ac­tu­ally ex­ist.

Saltwire also sent a di­rect message to the Jobs For NL Twit­ter ac­count, and re­ceived a cou­ple of re­sponses that didn’t an­swer any ques­tions, and pro­vided new in­for­ma­tion that ap­peared to con­tra­dict the claims made on the web­site.

Saltwire asked about the prov­ince’s be­fud­dle­ment about the sup­pos­edly “ap­proved” mys­te­ri­ous project.

“What the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment knows, and doesn’t, is their re­spon­si­bil­ity,” some­body run­ning that Twit­ter ac­count wrote. “They are very fa­mil­iar with our project, as you will soon see.”

As for the lack of in­for­ma­tion, they said, “Are we de­lib­er­ately be­ing a bit mys­te­ri­ous? We are. We are ex­cited about our project, and we are ex­cited about the jobs and eco­nomic devel­op­ment that will be brought to the prov­ince. And, are we hav­ing a bit of fun with some very good news? We are.”

Pub­licly, the Twit­ter ac­count did post on some­thing Wednesday, “Com­ing soon, eco­nomic re­ports to back our job num­bers & a full an­nounce­ment on our project. Thanks for fol­low­ing, we’ll have more info soon.”

Those “job num­bers” are more than a lit­tle bit sus­pect, too.

The web­site claims that the mys­tery project will pro­duce more than 100,000 di­rect, in­di­rect and in­duced jobs. For ref­er­ence, the en­tire labour force of the prov­ince is around 260,000, so this ran­dom anony­mous web­site is claim­ing that it will cre­ate jobs for 38 per cent of the pro­vin­cial work­force.

Those num­bers seemed to be con­tra­dicted by a di­rect message Saltwire re­ceived from the same ac­count, say­ing, “At full op­er­a­tion the project is ex­pected to re­quire 720 shifts per year, based on a 24 hour, 7 days per week sched­ule.”

When Saltwire asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion about how 750 shifts per year can add up to 2,800 jobs, Jobs For NL ig­nored the ques­tion.

If this doesn’t seem weird to you, or like a po­ten­tial scam of some sort, then good news! The web­site help­fully of­fers some sug­ges­tions about how you can sup­port the un­spec­i­fied, trans­for­ma­tive, multi-billion-dol­lar Jobs For NL project.

“Email or write to your lo­cal MHAS — tell them you are ex­cited about jobs!” is one of the sug­ges­tions.

You could also “Start a pe­ti­tion to make sure this project gets off the ground,” which is weird be­cause they said it’s fully ap­proved al­ready, and also, it’s dif­fi­cult to make a pe­ti­tion if you don’t know what the project is.

You could also, “Vol­un­teer! We’re look­ing for am­bas­sadors to help us cre­ate jobs in New­found­land and Labrador.”

Ap­par­ently pay­ing peo­ple to be jobs am­bas­sadors isn’t one of the jobs that Jobs For NL will cre­ate.

If Jobs For NL ac­tu­ally an­nounces any de­tails about the po­ten­tial eco­nom­i­cally trans­for­ma­tional project, The Tele­gram will be sure to up­date read­ers.

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