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This morning one of our local papers published an opinion piece by Lois Tuffin titled “‘No jobs’ in Peterborough? Quit griping and help keep the ones we have.”

No, seriously.  That is actually the title, and speaking as someone who’s been looking for work in the Peterborough area for coming on a year now, this entire article pisses me off.  A quick summary of the piece works out to I’ve got mine, so shut up about not getting yours.

With all respect for Ms. Tuffin, the truth is there are not enough good, steady jobs in Peterborough which pay a living wage.  Even in her article, the very first example of an available job was serving coffee at Tim Hortons.  And good or bad, what jobs there are in Peterborough are snapped up pretty quickly. I’ve been looking for almost a year and I’ve found nothing but temporary, precarious work… usually for employers who take advantage of the poor job situation to treat their employees like shit because they know their workers won’t complain for fear of being thrown back into the crab bucket of unemployment.

I was especially irritated by Tuffin’s backhanded criticism of Maryam Monsef’s town hall meeting on job creation, decrying the “buck-passing to government” attitude that is apparently holding us all back.   Invoking the magic of “entrepreneurial spirit” and suggesting people become self-employed does not fix the very serious problems that workers — especially young workers — in this town face: a stagnant economy and a lack of steady, livable-wage earning positions in the area.  Give Monsef credit: at least she’s trying to address the issue, which is something her predecessor, convicted electoral-fraudster Dean del Mastro never even bothered to try.

But it’s Tuffin’s concluding sentence that really set me off: “Want to make the jobs climate better? Do something; don’t just say something.”

I am doing something.  The job situation in this town is so fucking bad that it’s a major reason my entire family is pulling up stakes and moving to the Niagara region next month.  For more than a decade the government — municipal, provincial and federal — have utterly failed to revitalize this region’s economy and that failure is forcing me, a young worker, to move elsewhere to look for work… and I’ll have to take my spending with me, to the undoubted detriment to the local businesses I’ll be leaving behind.

Tuffin’s implication that as a job seeker it is somehow my fault for not being inspired, that I’m somehow letting this community down by lacking the proper “entrepreneurial streak” is downright insulting.  Until this time last year I had a good job at a small local business. I’ve always tried to support local business… and now, I’m going to have to support them in a different locality, because there are no jobs in Peterborough.

Perhaps my situation is typical.  Perhaps it’s not.  But when people have to make the deliberate decision to abandon a community in order to look for a decent living elsewhere, there’s definitely something wrong in that community.

That’s not “griping”, Ms. Tuffin.  That’s a diagnosis.

 

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