Wednesday, September 06, 2006

With friends like these...

This fell out of my copy of the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal this morning.

Damn it, we're trying to bolster our declining workforce and our shrinking, aging population in this province and this region by every means known to mankind, including offering incentives to students and the recent creation of a provincial Immigration and Repatriation Secretariat devoted to nothing but encouraging people from elsewhere to come here, and people from here to return.

In spite of our best efforts, we're not doing well. The population isn't just stagnating, it's declining. Our birth rate is dismal. The immigrants we do manage to recruit seem to be on the next bus to MTV (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver) - and increasingly, Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatchewan as well. Right now, one of the single biggest problem we are facing is the much higher salaries that are being offered in Western Canada - oil-rich and even more desperate for labour than we are. And here's 52 pages in full colour in the morning paper exhorting even more to go to where the streets are paved with gold.

Maybe it's reactionary to say that the Telegraph-Journal should have declined to distribute this insert. But the power of the press belongs to those that have one, and I've often defended organizations that have refused to carry certain stories or information by pointing that out - and also by pointing out that if someone wants information published in the internet age, it is easier than ever before to make it so. The T-J's decision to accept this advertising insert - developed by a career website, and chock-full of ads from Western employers looking for labour - doesn't seem very community-minded in light of a labour market shortage that has all the earmarks of turning into a crisis.

ronnie

3 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Are you advertising in BC?

As a Rust Belt native who went west to Colorado for 16 years and is back home, I'd recommend that you use some of that developmental energy to promote just that -- Atlantic Canada may not be the place to be 21 and single, but it's a helluva place to be 28, married and trying to raise kids in a tough world.

You do have to have something to offer -- the web site for that advertiser shows 16 jobs for Fredericton, most of them at Home Depot and none of them promising a whole lot of money. If young Canadians are looking at the site, you need to be on it -- or you need to have an on-line presence that won't be lost in the shuffle.

Look to Ireland -- the little old lady is calling her Wild Geese home to jobs that didn't exist a generation, let alone a century, ago. If they can reverse their historic flow of talent and youth, so can you.

But you can't keep young people from looking at the mountains and wanting to go see what they're like. The trick is getting them to come back when they've seen enough. Because the ones with the gumption to load up and go are the ones you really need to have come home again after.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Dear Ronnie, Oh how I love this! Heck yeah: move to Brandon, Manitoba! It's got it going on! It's funny cause everyone I talk to here wants to visit the Maritimes, some even want to move there! The Maritimes is where it's at and has tons to offer! I miss it! :)

9:29 AM  
Blogger ronnie said...

Robin - Brandon, MB - isn't that the place where vegetarians have to eat at bar-b-que pits? :)

Mike - you're right, we need to do a better job ourselves. Creating the secretariat was an important first step. The quality-of-life issue is a huge selling point (I actually had the opportunity to work as a copywriter for a while for one of the firms that produces a lot of the province's recruitment media) but the challenge is competing with western salaries in all fields now.

The Irish model would be ideal for us to follow for various obvious reasons... perhaps our upcoming election will lead to some changes in our approach.

12:54 PM  

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