Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Days are Here Again...

Source: CTV News: Conservatives Buoyed by Brighter Economic Outlook

Unlike usual, I won't be quoting much from this article. What I shall be doing is referring to it from time to time, while adding my own thoughts and wisdom to it.

The Conservative Party of Canada seemed to think the tough times are over. After Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney announced that the recession seemed to be over in Canada and that recovery was around the corner.

But that isn't what the Conservatives heard, at least not according to this article. What they heard was instead:
Great job, Steve and crew! No one would ever dare vote against you now, our economic stalwarts!

That's right, during 'election training', Conservative hopes were high that because of Carney's economic opinion, the opposition would lose their nerve and the Conservatives would stay in power until at least 2010.

Someone might want to tell Michael Ignatieff that...Before he does something foolish with the the Employment Insurance council and forces an election.

The problem is, and always has been, that the Conservatives seem to have an air of arrogance around them. That either they are 'untouchable' by the opposition parties, and an election will prove that...OR that the other parties are forcing Canadians to vote; even though it is their own bullheaded stubbornness that is forcing the opposition to consider bringing them down.

I would like, if you will allow me, to talk a little bit about the economic stewardship we've had under this government.

We've had city officials, Provincial officials, and other groups step up to the plate to ask Ottawa: Where is this stimulus money? Many people agree that the Conservatives dragged their feet on authorizing and spending the stimulus money; after all, would Michael Ignatieff demand progress reports and spending reports if the money was flowing?

The Conservatives, mostly John Baird and a few others, have always dismissed the idea that the stimulus money was coming out too slowly or not doing enough to help infrastructure and other projects throughout the country. But given the Conservative Party's penchant for saying one thing and then doing another (see Trost V. Ablonczy, etc), it seems unlikely that we can actually trust what a Conservative MP is saying.

And what about the thought that the economic dark times are over? Well, as someone who is experiencing them, I can tell you that they are not. I am going to get a little personal here, which may or may not be a good thing.

I graduated from University in May, was done classes as soon as April, and had been hitting the pavement to get a job in my chosen field. At first, I was a bit uncompromising in my desire to stay in Saskatoon. Then, as June rolled around and no job offers were given, I expanded to Regina, Edmonton, Toronto, and even the entire province of Nova Scotia.

So, where is the problem, some of you are asking are no doubt. The problem rests in that in my continued search to find work which I am qualified to do, there seems to be a dryness in the air that these jobs don't seem to pan out.

Now, the problem could be that there are better qualified people than myself. I'm the first to admit that I don't have the best resume, given that I was fortunate enough to be able to just concentrate on my studies during my four years in University, and perhaps that is a strike against me.

So, perhaps it's just being under qualified or lack of experience...Well, then that doesn't explain a certain agency which shall remain nameless. Their goal is an internship program that is designed to help recent graduates, like myself, with little to no experience to develop their skills to work in a modern business.

In those regards, everyone who applied should be on equal footing. But alas, the same problem arose.

Now, why am I talking about this? I'm not bemoaning my own difficulties in finding work, what I am bemoaning is the assumption that economic dark times are coming to a close. In my own estimates, I've applied for over 58 jobs in the past three months with no offers; imagine how many times this scenario is playing out across the country.

The fact of the matter is, as it stands, recently graduated students (and others throughout Canada, but I say students since I best understand that perspective) are having a hard time throughout the country.

I've spent four years and a ridiculous amount of money, told that a University Degree was my ticket to a career and the means of supporting myself. Instead, like many others, we've found ourselves at a crossroads:
Do we take a job, as opposed to the career we were promised? OR, do we return to University, spend more money, sharpen our skills, and hope that by the time we're done those career opportunities will have returned?

It is a difficult decision. Both have advantages and both have disadvantages. I would like to share, if I may, another personal story.

My brother and I are quite different people. He tried the world of academia, but ultimately decided that it wasn't the path he was meant to be on. He tried different jobs throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta, and he discovered something on some of these jobs.

Despite not obtaining a degree, or even completing more than a few semesters of University, there was an animosity of non-educated workers towards him. He was treated with a sense of contempt, all because he had had the audacity to go to University instead of automatically going to the workforce.

Ultimately, my brother had to leave one of the jobs he was at after a series of incidents that stems from this sense of contempt towards him. I won't say much about it, since I do not know all that happened and since I do not wish to point any fingers, but it ended with an activity that very well placed my brother in a dangerous and potentially life threatening situation.

What is the point of my telling this story?

I think, to a degree, there is a sense of contempt against University graduates in certain careers. But, is this sense justified?

In some senses, yes. There seems to be a sense of entitlement among certain university colleges, a sense that can rub quite a few people the wrong way. The idea that 'I'm educated, I deserve ________' has seemed to permeate within certain colleges. This sense of entitlement is further compounded by the flaw that these students think that their education allows them to do less work and instead shuffle their responsibilities to those they will be working with.

Perhaps others see this sense of entitlement, in these few select students, and think it characteristic of all University students.

Either way, the blame goes both ways when it comes to a sense of distrust and contempt between some people who entered the workforce and those who entered University.

I fear I'm straying too far from the point I was hoping to make, but I need to clarify something first. I am not saying that entering the workforce rather than school is the wrong choice; nor am I saying that entering school rather than the workforce is the wrong choice. What I am saying is that there are qualities, in both groups of people, that can cause conflict between the two sides and make a job/career difficult for both parties.

Now, back to my point and why I brought all this up. With this sense of contempt, the idea of a university graduate taking a short-term job outside of their field becomes a more daunting aspect. After all, where is the point in taking a job if you will be forced to leave it due to conflicts with co-workers who have been their longer?

I'm not saying this is commonplace, but I am saying that it does happen in certain cases and it's something we can recognize.

And what about going back to school? For many, this is not an option. Already saddled with thousands of dollars of debt, the idea of weighing yourself down with a few thousand more isn't appealing to many people; not to mention, the idea of having more degrees doesn't really help most people as they will be taking something outside of their original field, unless they are pursuing a Masters or PhD.

So, what is my point after all this rambling?

My point is that the economic rough times are far from over, and the fact that such unemployment exists is proof that our Conservative Government has not done a very good job in helping the economy. The idea of a trade deficit or just overspending in the first place may become less likely, but the fact that many Canadian are still facing unemployment is of far more importance and an issue that the Conservatives don't seem to talk too much about.

Until the Conservatives address this issue, and I don't believe they will as it's too 'socialist' to create jobs and use the government to place people in them over private enterprise, then we are still in a recession and we are far from the 'Happy Days' the Conservatives seem to see in their minds.

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