Thursday, April 13, 2006

But...there's a labour shortage!

CBC say:

The pulp mill that was Prince Albert's largest private-sector employer officially closed Thursday, leaving hundreds of laid-off employees wondering about their next move.

When the closure was announced last year, Weyerhaeuser was the city's largest private sector employer.For many, that move may be to Alberta.

"Oh yeah, we are ready for the mover to come in," said Shelley Miller who, like her husband Ray, lost her job when the Weyerhaeuser pulp and paper plants closed.

(...)

"My heart still wants to stay here. So it's tough," Shelley Miller said.

Prince Albert Mayor Jim Stiglitz was putting on a hopeful face.

"Prince Albert has been through some hard times before we'll get through this one," Stiglitz said. Efforts to find a new owner continue.

[Ed: Good thing someone is booming.]

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The real suprise here is the source: the CBC. A few days ago, in a story about the Big River lay-offs, they quoted someone saying that many workers were going to Alberta, because "it is better than this". I was surprised to see the CBC, usually so left-wing, report this unfiltered. Perhaps is jsut so obvious?
If you want to work, if you want to start a business, the sad reality is that you are better off in Alberta. If you want to have cheap utilities, if you want to work for the government, if you are a true-beleiver NDPer (with a patronage appointment) the sad truth is that you are better off in Saskatchewan.

Robert McClelland said...

Why would people working in the pulp and paper industry think they'll be better off in Alberta's sagging pulp and paper industry?

Part of the catalyst for the new strategy is industry restructuring, particularly in pulp and paper, said Farrell. “Though Alberta’s pulp and paper sector is relatively young, in eastern Canada we’re seeing production reduced, plants closed and jobs lost,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saskatechewan's oil and gas industry as well as construction industry are booming as much, even better actually, than Alberta's. Even Saskatchewan's manufacturing industry is booming at 4.8% growth compared to the rest of the country's loss of 5.2%.

These blue collar workers would be nuts to leave that and face the rising real estate prices in Alberta.

Sask.taxpayers federation said...

Sask. has had a hundred years of hardship and it doesn't seem to matter who's in power. Left wing,right wing there has been too much said about the negative. The government started the potatoe fiasco,the Tories started Meadow Lake pulp mill deal. What do we do? The best paying jobs are public service jobs and they can't get workers. The private sector can't compete,good or bad that's the way it is. In Alberta they all seem to make good money. My wife is a manager in the health district and they can't fill jobs that pay 17.00 an hour labour jobs.. That's the truth. A 4 year nursing degree course is too long. The 2 year course served the purpose good enough. We have to get people to work the labour positions as well. There is a need that can't be filled. A lot of people get their training here and leave the province. Politics aside how do get them to stay? I say pay more money in the trades would be a good start. I know apprentice electricians(2yr) that only get 12.00 an hr to work for a private firm. Who the hell can live on that money. They make more in Alberta as trainie than journeymen make here. Ask Micheal Fogere how the hell he got the money to live in Wascanaview? Not by working. He inherited all.

Robert McClelland said...

A lot of people get their training here and leave the province. Politics aside how do get them to stay?

You all need to cease with the negativity. My gawd, the way Saskatchewaner bloggers, especially the conservative ones, talk, you'd think the province wasn't experiencing an oil and gas boom that rivals Alberta's in terms of growth. The way you all gripe, you'd think Saskatchewan wasn't one of three have provinces in the country; Saskatchewan doesn't get any equalization money just like Ontario and Alberta.

You've all convinced yourselves that the grass is greener over in Alberta when in reality, it really isn't that much better. So the people, like the couple in Davey's anecdotal story, are leaving without even trying to find work.

Try taking a look at the employment stats in my above comment. Saskatchewan's are fan-friggin-tastic.

Chad Moats said...

Yes, Robert perception is everything.

Anonymous said...

RM, you gave no employment stats, not even "fan-frigentastic" ones: you people are either delusional or deliberately lying.
Alberta's pulp and paper industry is expanding: Weyerheauser is still hiring hundreds of construction workers in Grande Prairie. There are several reasons for this: they include tax rates, the FMA, and SK labout laws and the union, and probably most importantly, Sask Powers refusal to alow Weyco to build a large cogeneration plant several years ago.
The SK sociailist experiment is failing: all that is happening is that it is being subsidized and propped-up by non-renewable natural resources.

Anonymous said...

If only we put on a happy face, more people would have jobs in SK! why didn't I think of that?!
idiots.

The Austrian said...

Being in the resource business, specifically oil and mineral exploration, I can tell you people this much: The problem with Saskatchewan is not a lack of resources (they have it in spades) but the oldest problem of all, government. Specifically, the NDP. They are VERY hostile towards business, especially big business, because of their dated political ideology. This hostility discourages investment in the province via outrageous environmental regulations, misguided labor regulations and exorbitant business/high income earner taxes, as well as the NDP having a tendency to nationalise stuff and competing against other companies with their own crown "corporations" (if you were to invest, wouldn't you want your investment to be safe?). The ramifications: almost no private investment in the province and no high quality (i.e., high income earning) employees, resulting in a low productivity level and a lack of business expansion, resulting in a piss-poor economic performance. Of course, the ever so brilliant economical (failure) engineers of the NDP attempt to remedy this via trying to make money with their vaunted crown corporations and increases in government spending. However, governments aren't subject to the same economic forces that businesses are and as a result, like almost all government stuff, are very unproductive, "investing" in useless projects that no one wants or needs. Not to mention the obvious unworkability of consumption side economics...

The only hope for the province is the Saskatchewan Party. However, even if they do get elected, there is also the matter of whether the NDP will get elected back in again. In order for Saskatchewan to get back on track (i.e., big business confidence in Saskatchewan comes back), the Saskatchewan people would have to prove that they would never elect anything other than a center-right or right-of-center political party again...

P.S. utilities are waaaaay cheaper in Alberta than in Saskatchewan

sask.taxpayers federation said...

Go to a sask job site,check out the wages. That's why there is a labour shortage.

Chad Moats said...

"This hostility discourages investment in the province via outrageous environmental regulations ...",What would you have us allow pollution and destruction of our most precious resouces , our land.
"misguided labor regulations", please explain what is misguided about them ?
" and exorbitant business/high income earner taxes",Like 15% on income over 60k ? or the recent much lowered CIT or disolved CCT ?
" as well as the NDP having a tendency to nationalise stuff". when was the last time this was done ? Medicare ?
" and competing against other companies with their own crown "corporations" ", certain select sectors that were underdeveloped and no one wanted until the province bulit the infrastructure, now that they don't have to pay for the infrastructure they want in.

The fact is your rhetoric is as dated as the policies you decry. The NDP is not a socialist government nor party, regardless of the Regina Manifesto. The NDP is a social democratic, third way party akin to SDP in Germany,Labour in UK and Dems in USA. Lorne Calvert is not Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro.

Anonymous said...

Chad, I think that Austrian knows something about business and the real world. You know something about theory and the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Lorne Clavert is Hugo Castro or Fidel Chavez.

The Austrian said...

"This hostility discourages investment in the province via outrageous environmental regulations ...",What would you have us allow pollution and destruction of our most precious resouces , our land.

Would you rather regulate private sector businesses, the only kind that can actually produce and create wealth, to the point that any attempts for them to do any type of business whatsoever becomes unprofitable, destroying the incentive to invest in the first place? Why the rush to bite the hand that feeds you?

"misguided labor regulations", please explain what is misguided about them ?

Easy.

All labor regulations and union rights tend to foster laziness and unproductivity (since it becomes harder to sack someone, eliminating the incentive for someone to work), as well as choke businesses to death via demands for salary and pension increases well above what their work is actually worth. Just look at Europe for example: the old world is becoming more and more unproductive as the employment rate soars. Why? Militant labor regulations. They make many people, especially young people, unemployable as employers become afraid that they might pick up a lazy deadbeat that will still have to be payed yet will take forever to get rid of due to the inflexible rules.

I could give you more examples, but I think it will suffice to simply repeat the fact that labor regulations and union rights harm businesses, harming productivity, and then point to the economic success of many the many US states, some of pacific Asia and Ireland as testaments to the power of a liberalized economy.

Saskatchewan, having been led by the NDP for the larger part of its existence, have "pro-worker" policies that harm businesses, hence are misguided policies.

" and exorbitant business/high income earner taxes",Like 15% on income over 60k ? or the recent much lowered CIT or disolved CCT ?

Still too high...

Regardless, this strikes me as a half-fast attempt to buy votes, not to mention the cuts are insufficient to garner any real results, plus the budget's spending levels are very unsustainable.

" as well as the NDP having a tendency to nationalise stuff". when was the last time this was done ? Medicare ?

A typo. That should read "as well as the NDP having a history of nationalization.", a point pointed out to remind the reader of the NDP's strong anti-business history.

And medicare? The state monopoly on health insurance is applaling! People are dying in waiting lines because of this insane policy. Thank goodness Quebec and B.C. are taking the initiative on this issue.

" and competing against other companies with their own crown "corporations" ", certain select sectors that were underdeveloped and no one wanted until the province bulit the infrastructure

I could imagine why many businesses were not overly interested in developing Saskatchewan, with the rabidly anti-business NDP running the show.

Infrastructure? What infrastructure? Don't fool yourself, Saskatchewan's infrastructure is appalling. The roads are non-existant, utilities are also wearing down, and the much touted communications sector is useless, inefficient and expensive.

now that they don't have to pay for the infrastructure they want in.

They? You don't mean businesses and other investors, do you? Surely you jest about private enterprise wanting anything to do with the NDP's Saskatchewan. :D

The fact is your rhetoric is as dated as the policies you decry. The NDP is not a socialist government nor party, regardless of the Regina Manifesto.

Not socialist? What about the NDP's strong anti-business leanings coupled with the massive dependence on the public sector to create "jobs"?

The NDP is a social democratic,

Wait just a second. You said that the NDP was not socialist (despite the amount of evidence pointing to the contrary), yet now you tell me that they are a type of socialism?

Stop it! You're killing me :D

third way party akin to SDP in Germany,Labour in UK and Dems in USA.

The third way? The so called "third way" strikes me as the ideas adopted by a leftist who has watered down their policies in reaction to the amazing successes of supply side economics. They shift thier economic views somewhat to the right, and then stop because they do not want to completely abandon thier consumptionist religion.

Regardless, all of the above three parties you pointed out, especially the SPD, have been known to cause economic grief.

Lorne Calvert is not Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro.

Yes. Lorne Calvert is Lorne Calvert. I can see that you are a very observant person. :D




The fact is, the NDP is never going to get the favor of business, especially big business, for a long, long, long time if ever. You can't scrape over 50 years of repeated economic holocausts committed under the name of social democracy under the rug. The Saskatchewan NDP is still the Saskatchewan NDP. The same extreme left wing ideologs who have the economic savvy and sense of a troglodytic cretin.

Even if the Saskatchewan NDP adopts more neoliberal economic policies, businesses will still view the NDP with extreme skepticism, and rightfully so. It would not be wise for investors to set up shop in a juridstiction where it is possible for that leaders might flip their coats around, and then [the investors] loose all their precious capital as the NDP grinds it to dust with their new found axes...

Richard_Cranium said...

Anytime you have an economic boom and a population bust, this is not a good indicator. Our oil windfall is akin to a street person winning 100k in the lottery. Things appear great, until the money is gone, then its back to status quo. Even if the NDP does decide to do some good things to stimulate investment and business growth in Sask, no one will buy it and go to Alberta instead. This is the reputation they have hanging over them, and that cannot be changed by real business minded people. Funny part is that when the Sask Party get elected next election in Saskatchewan, and if they do nothing different than the NDP is doing, things will improve in leaps and bounds in Sask.

Chad Moats said...

So, Austrian(if that's your real name?), You admit it is all perception and belief with very little basis in the reality of the situation.
I am wondering though, How it is Quebec is able to attract investment and head offices with much more restrictive labour laws and regualtions ?
According to your thesis, they should be a backwater.

Anonymous said...

I think that Quebec has been decaying for a few decades: it is proped up by transfer payments, which compensates for much of the rot. I am referring to Quebec's gdp, productiviy, population etc... all of which is stagnant or dropping.

Chad Moats said...

Yet, Quebec still has more corporate head offices then Saskatchewan. They have a growing population, strong labour laws, and a dwindling GDP. Sask has a decreasing population and expanding GDP and strong labour laws. It seems this would severely limit the correlation between labour laws/population growth and economic growth/corporate investment.

Anonymous said...

chad, our gdp is tied to non-renewable resource prices: the dippers can only take credit for underperforming. Qc may have a growing population (barely) but only due to immigration. There is no other good news for la belle province. And it is truly amazing that Sk (Qc too) is doing so little with so much.

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