Tough Tory times outside the overpass

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Cuts to employment assistance program will hurt rural areas more

March 1st was another dark day for rural Newfoundland and Labrador; it was the day that the Hon. Joan Shea, minister of Advanced Education and Skills, and this Tory government put out a press release that affects all rural areas of this province.

As of June 1, 2013, employment assistance services (EAS) for

EI-eligible clients, currently run by third-party services providers, will be delivered through the Department of Advanced Education and Skills.

Minister Shea did not have the courtesy to notify us first so that we could break the bad news to our employees; in fact we found it out from our employees first.

First-hand experience

I am speaking as a board member and former chairman of the Green Bay South Education Centre, a volunteer organization that is a third party provider for the employment assistance services for Green Bay South with an office in Triton, which provides services to: Brighton, Triton, Pilley’s Island, Roberts Arm, Port Anson, Miles Cove and Beaumont-Lushes Bight.

EAS provides assistance and information resources for: career development and employment counselling, labour market information, résumé and cover letter, job search, interview preparation, training programs and post-

secondary institutions, employment counselling for adults and youth, referral to outside agencies for educational opportunities and other related services.

Our office also aided clients who needed help with EI applications.

Pulling the plug

Despite that work, on March 1 we were notified that our contract would expire on June 30, 2013 because our services were no longer needed.

There are 52 offices scattered around our province doing the same work as the Green Bay South Education Centre, plus approximately 40 more dealing specifically with youth, women and disabled people.

These offices were contracted out to volunteer organizations, in my opinion, because they were cheaper to run, no unions involved and the managers were volunteers who did not get paid but did it as a community service.

These programs were run by the federal government until November 2009, when Ottawa passed it over to the provincial government to run, and run it they did — right into the ground.

Poor reasons

Minister Joan Shea said: we have heard feedback from clients, staff and the public, which indicate there are a number of ongoing challenges with employment programs.  

This is the first that I have heard of this and I don’t know anyone who was consulted. All we have ever heard from our clients is praise for the services that we provide and the professionalism of our workers.

Shea went on to say: we need to avoid duplication and inconsistencies and streamline our process to address these concerns and provide better, less-complicated service delivery to help clients find employment.

Not facts

This is a complete fabrication of the truth. The majority of these employment assistance services offices are far away from any Advanced Education and Skills offices and this will force our clients to travel long distance to get the help they need and they will have to deal with complete strangers, and many of our clients will fall through the cracks, and the people who sometimes need that little bit of encouragement will not get it.

I am not against government trying to consolidate and make services better and cheaper, and I am not so much concerned about the jobs.

I am concerned about the services we will lose in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and the distances and cost to the individuals to travel to get these services.

This government has gone way over budget because of bad spending practices.

They are making the people pay for their mistakes, especially those who live in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, where jobs are scarce and people need help in finding employment or training in order to better themselves,

My mother always said Tory times were hard times, but she grew up in the time of the Great Depression and the Tories were in power, but the depression was worldwide at that time and it probably wouldn’t have made any difference what government was in power.

I didn’t believe her then but I do believe her now. I am convinced of one thing: if we don’t get rid of the Tories in this province, we will have nothing left in rural Newfoundland and Labrador

Yes Tory times are hard times, especially if you live outside the overpass.

(Retired) Capt. Wilfred Bartlett writes from Green Bay South.

Organizations: Green Bay South Education Centre, Department of Advanced Education and Skills.Minister Shea

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Green Bay South, Port Anson Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Ed Power
    March 22, 2013 - 18:45

    I do enjoy reading the comments of our very own Gordon Gecko wannabe - "A Business Man" - but, like any one-trick act, his material is getting a little stale. Perhaps, sir, you think yourself to be the next Jack Benny, the lovable old miser from the Golden Age of Radio and early TV. It's a pretty tough act to follow, ABM, Jack was genuinely funny, and was fortunate to have the gifted Eddie "Rochester" Anderson as his comic foil. Maybe you should think of using a sidekick as well. Perhaps Michael J. Fox as an aging "Alex P. Keaton"? Or Donald Trump playing himself? Both are equally funny, but Trump's ongoing role as a pompous twit is getting long in the tooth and, like yourself, he could do with a change of material as well. I offer these suggestions in good faith Mr. "Business Man" because, and I'm sorry to be frank here, Jack Benny had a far better act. Then again, even he didn't take his act seriously.

    March 22, 2013 - 14:52

    BUSINESS MAN....Be kind to the people you past going might meet them when your're coming down!!

    • david
      March 22, 2013 - 18:27

      You pay him too much regard. He won't be coming down, becasue he isn't going up. He's going nowhere at all.

      March 24, 2013 - 11:06

      You have a good point David! I don't even believe for a minute that this so called "BUSINESS MAN" is even from our province or country. Newfoundlanders were raised better that than that.....we love our province as a whole we are not cruel people like this Business Man. I don't know where he came from but I bet to say it is not here!!!

    March 21, 2013 - 22:16

    Honest ta God, I thought the great, great, great, grandson of Ebenezer Scrooge, this past Christmas, would have been visited by the ghost of Christmas past, present and future!! Maybe next year "business man". Hang in there Cratchit !! You are indeed the laughing stock of the Telegram's posts. Entertaining, none the less!!,

  • Barbara Colbourne
    March 21, 2013 - 19:12

    Dear fake business man, What an idiot! Where do you think your foodstuffs come from that magically appear in your city supermarkets, you dumbkoff? From Rural areas. in case you need that pointed out. Tourists come in 'droves' not 'groves.' Makes me wonder at the level of your so-called Education.

    • a business man
      March 22, 2013 - 11:36

      Good Question! I get foodstuffs from rural Saskatchewan, rural Manitoba, rural Ontario and so on. I would be perfectly fine with the complete demise or rural Newfoundland. Like I said before, I want rural Newfoundland to fail because I MIGHT get more city customers as a result of relocation. That said, Canada will always have rural areas to provide food and livestock. But lets be real....Canada is a big country that can get by without the existence of rural Newfoundland. Some individuals would actually be better off without the existence of rural Newfoundland. I am one of them, Plain and Simple.

  • a business man
    March 21, 2013 - 09:13

    Rural Newfoundlander: I understand you are appalled, but that changes nothing for me. I would accept rural Newfoundlanders money and I am strongly against rural Newfoundland. I cannot force people to move to the city, and I cannot make rural Newfoundland fail independently. BUT I certainly have the right to cheer and hope for the failure of rural Newfoundland because I presume it to be in my best interest. I might be wrong, but I am allowed to be wrong too. The reality is that I get no benefit from rural newfoundland now, and I lose nothing if I do not gain any customers from rural Newfoundland. So my position has no downside for me. I realize Newfoundlanders province wide are being affected by the EAS offices closing, and I am okay with that too. Why should I as a taxpayer pay for some stranger to learn who to write their resume or prepare a business plan and how to find a job when I learned those things in school that I paid for? Why would I accept that I have to pay for something and then I have to pay for some stranger to get the same thing for free. On principle, I would prefer that they paid for the service like it did. On that note, I am ecstatic that the EAS offices are closed. A I am greedy - I admit it. But I worked hard to but myself through law school and business school, so I oppose the government taking my tax dollars to give others help that I was not given. Fair is fair, and the closure of the EAS is fair. s an investor, I do not see the benefit of investing in a population that gives our province character and contributes greatly to it economic status. I do not make any money from the tourists that come to Newfoundland in groves not only to see our wonderful City sites but to visit all parts of Newfoundland. I would prefer it if the tourist ONLY saw the City sites and ignored rural Newfoundland.

    • G Pike
      March 21, 2013 - 15:16

      Mr Business Man, Who are you, really? I'd guess just another scum bag Tory. An easy guess, I know. If you hate NL so much, there is a real market for your kind of rhetoric out west. Calgary would love you, but not as much as I would love to see you there rather than here. Say hello to the Blunderbuss for me, thanks.

    • Frank
      March 21, 2013 - 16:05

      I see mommy reinstated your internet privileges.

    • Danny
      March 21, 2013 - 16:31

      The "Business man" @ least is clear.He cares for nobody.Not even himself.If he did,the statement ,not caring if a town has a fire truck could not be stated.If one of his family were visiting a town and died due to fire ( with no available fire truck )..would he be upset...hmmm no because his lack of regard for human life.Most drug dealer and other criminals have that mentality.

  • Ed Power
    March 21, 2013 - 03:27

    If only "A Business Man" had the courage of his convictions and, in the interest of full disclosure, provided the name of his business or business interests with his regular Ayn Randian rants. Fully informed consumers could then decide whether or not to support him. Most likely, methinks, our "Business Man's" business experience is limited to playing online Monoply while reading Atlas Shrugged under the bedsheets at night.

    • Eli
      March 22, 2013 - 11:25

      Sorry ED POWER, my comment was meant for JOE.

  • Joe
    March 20, 2013 - 15:32

    So if the NDP or the Liberals were in power life would be all roses outside the overpass? Yeah right. The PCs have not caused the decline in the outports. How many young people really want to live there?

    • Eli
      March 21, 2013 - 20:20

      Hard to tell Ed. Liberals never had the kind of unprecedented income this bunch of incompetents had. From Dunderdale to Kent they're all bobbleheads.

  • saelcove
    March 20, 2013 - 14:36

    Little man Dan needs a history lesson

  • Joey S
    March 20, 2013 - 14:35

    People should realize that rural areas throughout North America, indeed the whole world are slowly dying. This is not unique to this province. Unfortunately, we cannot continue to prop up areas where nobody wants to live anymore. Young people move out and don't want to return. Rural municipal councils continue to refuse to cooperate. They're not happy until there's a fire truck in every town. And they weren't happy unless there was a fishplant in every town. We all know how that helped the fishery. For years, greedy politicians caved in to this lack of cooperation to buy votes. We simply can't do it anymore. It's long past the time for rationalization. We are a small population with too many small schools, too many expensive ferries, and generally too much infrastructure to maintain. We'll never get our finances straightened out if we continue to refuse to cooperate. As for this crock about Tory times being hard times, let's remember that it was the Liberals who gave ownership of our fishery to the Federal government, who gave away Churchill Falls, who brought in the resettlement program. Need I say more. By the way, I'm not a Tory supporter, but you can only listen to so much.

    • a business man
      March 21, 2013 - 09:41

      Great Post! Rural are in North America are a strain on public sector finances. I don't care if the rural towns have a firetruck or a fish plant. I just not want my tax dollars to propping up these areas. I would rather see them fail. They can have all the schools they want, or they can have none. Again, I don't care either way, but I certainly do not want to pay. Rural Newfoundland has to sink or swim on its own merits, and I am honest enough to say that I hope it sinks so that their relocation might lead to more customers for my city-based-businesses.

  • Turry from town
    March 20, 2013 - 13:00

    You mean there is life outside the overpass?

  • a business man
    March 20, 2013 - 08:24

    Frankly, as a taxpayer and citizen, I unequivocally do not care about rural Newfoundland. I live in the city, and there are lots of jobs in the city. I am an investor, and I don't have any business interests in rural Newfoundland. So as far as I am concerned, rural Newfoundland should sink or swim on it merits. Personally, I want it to sink, simply because I have businesses in the city, and if rural Newfoundland dies, then I will get more customers. I am a loyal Tory supporter, and I support the decisions of this government. I support Muskrat Falls, I support the elimination of the Employment Assistance Services. I support the export of raw fish, and I support CETA. I am a Newfoundland taxpayer and voter, and I don't care about rural Newfoundland. So while the author of this article may be unhappy with the Tories, unless his position is back by the majority of the electorate, then his position is meaningless. Frankly, because rural Newfoundland has so few voters, the majority is best served by simply ignoring the interests of rural Newfoundland. I certainly do.

    • Fly Swatter
      March 20, 2013 - 11:20

      Do you get out of your mom's basement often?

    • Rural Newfoundlander
      March 20, 2013 - 14:06

      “Frankly” I am appalled that a BUSINESS MAN who would unequivocally accept rural Newfoundlanders money would be so against rural Newfoundland. EAS offices are not only rurally located. All Newfoundlanders and areas there off, are being affected by the loss of these offices. Many citizens in “the city” utilize these services as well and it is a pity that more “Frank Business Men” are not aware of this fact. It is a pity that as a Business Man you to could not see the potential that these offices also provide to employers looking to hire individuals through programs such as NL Wage Subsidy, offered through, the help of these EAS offices. As an investor, it a shame that one would not see the benefit of investing in a population that gives our province character and contributes greatly to it economic status. Tourists come to Newfoundland in groves not only to see our wonderful City sites but to visit all parts of Newfoundland. To smell the Ocean, visit quaint, welcoming rural towns that have rightly earned the respect and love of many. Assistance from these offices come in a number of forms whether it be with a resume, job search or even help with a business plan. I am sure that at some point a Business Man (albeit greedy or not so successful if he needs the customers from rural Newfoundland to help him gain business) may have also needed help at some point as well. As a rural Newfoundlander, I am dismayed by the comments and the thought that a Business Man would be ignorant enough to feel that because we do not live in the City, that we too do not deserve this same assistance. Assistance that is so graciously provided by the EAS employees. However, I am glad that I have the sense to realize that not all people feel this way and unlike some individuals, I would not hold it against someone who lives in the City just because these comments come from someone who obviously does.

    • Danny
      March 20, 2013 - 23:49

      The fake "Business man" has no doubt got what he wanted...Reply. Most likely not even from the city but living in his mother's basement around the bay.It is not his fault for he suffers from PTSD.

  • Rewriting history
    March 20, 2013 - 08:12

    Actually, the liberals were in power at the start of the Great Depression and followed by Commission Government. Tory times are tough, Liberal times are tough. Perhaps the Captain can tell us of a time that was not "tough".

  • Ken Collis
    March 20, 2013 - 07:37

    For God's sake Paul, er.. I mean John Smith, Just shut up. The PC's have been in for 10 years getting the most money the province has ever recieved. We are still in the hole, mainly due to Nalcor and bad policy. A monkey could handle expenses better than a politican.

  • John Smith
    March 20, 2013 - 06:38

    NL wasn't even part of Canada during the depression, let alone having the same PC party as we have today. When the Liberals were turfed out in '03 we had a 13 billion dollar debt, the highest tax rate, the highest poverty rate, and the highest unemployment rate in Atlantic we have the lowest. And you say Tory times are hard times? Liberal times were the worst times...the Liberals like Joe Smallwood, Roger Grimes and Brian Tobin...those were the guys who sold us down the river....not the PCs...

    • Little Man Dan
      March 20, 2013 - 08:22

      There you are Johnny; my dependable lapdog lackie. Come here boy and stroke my ego; you too Steve....

    • Eli
      March 20, 2013 - 15:48

      And then came oil John. A gift from heaven. Little Man Dan just happened to be in the right place at the right time. What have the Tories done with all their gifted largess? Pissed it up a pole despite advice from everywhere to stash some away for a rainy day. A constitutency scandal like no other and fire trucks doled out like Christmas cards. Worst thing is Newfoundlanders can be buried in bullshit and still love it. Grow up Smith, or is that Steve or Paul?