Get the messaging right

Here’s the first few lines of an op-ed in the T&T today:

By Gilles Lepage and Francis McGuire
N.B. Self Sufficiency Task Force
Published Monday February 19th, 2007
Appeared on page D7

Change isn’t coming to New Brunswick; it is already here.

For the first time in anyone’s memory, this province, which for so long struggled to find work for its citizens, is now in the midst of a labour shortage.

Just look around you. There are help wanted signs all over the place – in shop windows and newspaper notices – and it is a big part of any conversation when business people in Metro Moncton get together.

New Brunswick has the jobs; now it needs citizens to fill them.

Anyone who reads this blog with any frequency will know that this kind of positioning is wrong and exactly what the Tories said before the Liberals.

New Brunswick is in a labour shortage because of a weak economy not a strong economy. The weak economy with high dependency on seasonal work has led to 14 straight years of net out-migration (more moving out than in). That has finally led to a shortage of workers.

Lord/Volpe and now McGuire/LePage seem to indicate that this shortage has emerged as a result of a strong economy (McGuire/LePage less so but still read this carefully).

And now, we are told, we have to work to attract people into this booming economy (my sarcasm added).

If the Liberals go on a people hunt without a industry develpment strategy, they will be just like Lord/Volpe before them. That whole cart before the horse thing.

Look at the majority of jobs that have help wanted signs. Retail, low end manufacturing, call centres. You will not attract expatriates to fill these positions.

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0 Responses to Get the messaging right

  1. scott says:

    Anyone who reads this blog with any frequency will know that this kind of positioning is wrong and exactly what the Tories said before the Liberals.

    Excellent point, David. I think an able administation would indoubtably look past the over protection of their political turf when addressing this serious issue. You can’t spin yourself into prosperity, it must be done through careful and creative policy initiatives.

    Moreover, and as you already mentioned, the help wanted signs they speak of will not attract ex-pats and IMO I think they suite the current uneducated labour force just fine. It’s not like they brought in specific jobs which fall under the knowledge based economy. These are retail, construction, call centres and labour jobs. You don’t need specific professional credentials or post-secondary education to fill them.

    Not to mention, if we had full employment here would they [political parties] even be talking about this sel-sufficiency situation. Come on, there has to be some unemplyed people in the Miramichi and Bathurst that would commute to Saint John or Moncton to fill them? lol

    Let’s get real here, most people in our region are well aware that the jobs that will drive the provincial economy have not entered our jurisdiction yet. And yes, some of those positions will require outside immigrants to fill them. Anybody that tells you otherwise isn’t wise, especially since over the next five years, immigration will account for 100 percent of net labour force growth in Canada.

    And don’t get me wrong, our country’s largest urban centres remain some of the most receptive, open and tolerant, to perspective immigrants coming in from other parts of the world. But that, unfortunately, doesn’t include us here in New Brunswick.

    Where will the future of our region end up if we don’t become more tolerant and receptive to immigrants? We all know that we are, and will be, in a fierce competition with other advanced countries and region states for the world’s skilled immigrants in the coming years. If our lack of immigration isn’t addressed, and fast, we are in danger of repeating our mistakes of the 70s, 80s and 90s all over again. And we know where that got us.

    But you’re completely correct, we must first address the lack of quality jobs in our region. Before that happens, we won’t have a hope of convincing anybody to come back, or for that matter, come here for the first time.

  2. Jennifer says:

    It’s not just the lack of quality jobs that keeps people from moving to NB. It’s the noose of “official” bilingualism. It seems that bilingualism holds higher rank over actual skills in most job competitions.

    I’ve been gone 15 years and have built a great career and credentials. I’ve looked into going back a few times, but the “bilingualism factor” always got in the way.

    For example – I was offered one job only to be given the caveat that if I didn’t get to an “advanced” level of French within a year that I could be terminated with no severance. Why would I accept it and give up my career and home here? I knew my job would keep me travelling most of the time and there would be no time to get to that level of competency.

    In another case, I was ranked below someone who was bilingual but had less experience and education than I had. I was initially turned down, then the company called me back 6 mos later to offer me the job. Too late.

    That’s just my experience with getting a job in NB. How much harder would it be for me to move around in the labour force once I got there??

    I just can’t see the gov’t or many employers shifting gears on their language policies until they are utterly desperate for employees. By then the economy will be in worse condition than it is now.

    I don’t know what the proper message would be, but I can guarantee you that these “language undercurrents” will help assure that skilled people will stay away.

  3. MonctonLandlord says:

    If the economy is so strong (according to the PC and today the Libs), why couldn’t Bernard Lord find a job in NB? Announced today, him and his family are moving to Montreal.

  4. scott says:

    A CP report has him commuting out of Fredericton for at least one year. So your saying they’re moving after that?

  5. Paulin says:

    The cor party is that way Jennifer. But seriously, you rate biliguism low when other value biliguism high. We could take any skill and say the same thing when you do not have the job.

    And if you really believe what your saying is true then you should stay where you are. A third of our population is FRENCH, I would like my service to have qualified people who speaks french.

    But you have a point, French should be mandatory in english school to a compentency level. So much advantage like pushing the age of dementia, better problem solving skill. better reading comprehension and much more.

    I also think a third language should be mandatory like mandarin, spanish, german.

    Also last survey says that 86% of canadian support biliguism. You’re the minority.

  6. Scott says:

    And if you really believe what your saying is true then you should stay where you are. A third of our population is FRENCH, I would like my service to have qualified people who speaks french.

    I’m all for bilingualism, but not at the cost of alienating thousands of highly skilled unilingual people. If you look at the stats paulin, you will find that there are far more people who speak only french or only english. The bilingual population is very small, so why tailor policies to benefit such a small number of individuals. IMO, there must be more rigorous training for ppl who aren’t fully bilingual right across the country because, at the moment, it seems as though most provinces besides Quebec and New Brunswick are doing just fine without it. I mean, should we be telling Manitobans to learn Ukranian as they represent a higher ratio than do francophones in Quebec. Again, language rights IMO, goes farther than just english and french. That is a debate that shold have been left back in the 19th century. We are a multicultural country, not a dualistic one.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Jennifer. With this attitude, I hope you NEVER come back to live in New Brunswick.