Friday, November 2, 2012

Campaign Update: Erin Weir

A bit to go over today, as Erin has put out a new mailer and Trent has put forward a new policy announcement, and I'm in the mood to do some editorializing later on as well.

But we'll start with the mailer from Erin Weir.

The mailer concerns Saskatchewan's latest job numbers and Erin has dubbed the results the 'Do It Yourself' Boom. This is due to the fact that all of last month's, and half of employment growth for the past year, have come directly from more people becoming self-employed as opposed to hire by other employers.

According to the release, our jobs number in October was 437,600 which is down from September's number of 440,300; or a net loss of 2,700 jobs.Furthermore, the Labour Force Survey saw 5,000 people identify as self-employed in October, bringing the total to 103,100 from 98,100 in September.

The release points out that the category of self-employment covers people who are high-income professionals but also those who are barely getting by through contract positions. Erin points out that these numbers at least show that people are trying to get by on their own due to the lack of good jobs.

The release also calls attention to the rise in unemployment for the past year, and says that the numbers are showing that employment is not keeping up with the labour force.

The release closes by looking at jobs in the "information, culture, and recreation" sector, which has lost 1,500 jobs from last month. Erin equates this as a result of the government's decision to axe the Saskatchewan Film Tax Credit.

Now, while there is a larger editorial coming, I can't help but editorialize a little on this since employment is a topic near and dear to my heart (though really, at this point, it is becoming more of a bane than near and dear, but that's neither here nor there.)

I don't always like talking about my personal life on the blog, given that we're a political blog, but every once in awhile politics and personal mix and deserve a good talking about. I've outed myself as an unemployed individual several times on the blog, and despite some interviews in the mean time, I have remained that way. As such, it's at least a small comfort to see some major focus on employment levels in the province coming out of the leadership campaign.

There is a perception that those of us who are unemployed are so by choice. I can assure you that that is not the case, as I've honestly lost track of the number of applications that I personally send out in a week. From applying to work as a cashier, which is far from the career I was promised before going to University, to working as a general office assistant, my applications have varied greatly in terms of job level.

Yet despite this, and the close to hundred or so applications sent out in a week, I'm lucky if I hear back from one or two employers.So, when I look at job numbers like this, I can certainly understand the desire to just buckle down and go into the self-employment field. (Though, I'm not sure there's much call for a self-employed political analyst in Saskatchewan; or at least, one as far to the left as myself...)

As such, I'm stuck in the rat race; which is fine by me, provided that the race actually has a finish line at some point. But, let's get back on message.

Erin's campaign has done a good job at reminding us that the province isn't quite as rosy as the Wall Government likes to say that it is. For people who have their jobs/careers and so forth, this is a reality that I think is over looked. They're doing well, therefore everyone else must be doing well and the government seems to suggest that they are.

But the fact is that many people are not doing well, and for some of them it truly is through no fault of their own. And our government can't, or won't, help them because they don't believe there's a problem in the first place. I mean, Brad Wall's idea of helping employment in the province is to fly off to Ireland to find workers, as opposed to helping those looking for employment in the province find jobs first...

So, I think having a candidate who is trying to pull back the curtain on the Wall Government's spin is a good addition to the race. And in the long run, hopefully it at least convinces others in the province that there's a problem in the first place.

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