The lazy Monctonian looking for handouts

My column in the Globe & Mail Economy Lab today is a straight forward review of average weekly wage data from Statistics Canada’s SEPH monthly survey.  There is not much narrative about implications or any broad judgement about what the data means – just an expose outlining how things are changing.    Go read the column for yourself and see if it is some kind of left wing diatribe.

With that in mind, I was scrolling through the comments and came across this one from a guy/gal in Calgary (most likely a guy but who knows):

What a surprise that this was written by someone from Moncton.  Someone who forgot to end his little tome with the signature salutation:  “Oh, and please send money Mother.”  …articles like this, are just code for “send the oil money down east”.

This is so fun it deserves a response.

The data is the data.   This column could have easily been written by someone from Red Deer.   The only difference is that if it was written by an Albertan – it would look like gloating because the data is very pro-Alberta and Saskatchewan.  When it is written by someone from Moncton – for this guy/gal it is “code for send the oil money down east”.

I think I might have relayed this story to you but it is worth repeating.  Back in the mid 1990s (was it that long ago?) I was shortlisted for a job running the Economic Development department for the City of Red Deer.  They paid for me to go out there and meet with them for a day.  I was given a tour of the city, we had good discussions and I must have met a dozen or more folks for mini-interviews.   In the early afternoon I was taken out for lunch with a bunch of folks – city employees, etc. and I felt one of the guys was trying to ask me something but didn’t want to come right out and ask it.  Eventually, he said something like ” we do things differently out here – do you think you are ready for our pace of life?”.

I was quite surprised by the comment – I have always been a 60 hour a week guy – and I have to resist the temptation to work more than I do – even now in my old age and so I wasn’t sure how to respond to this euphemism for laziness.  I don’t recall what I said that day but I didn’t get the job.

The point is that it is easy and comfortable – and IMO intellectually lazy – to try and boil down highly complex issues to simple constructs.   New Brunswick is a have-not province therefore “someone from Moncton” must be angling for more oil money.    New Brunswick has a higher percentage of folks using EI so all New Brunswickers must be lazy.

In the end, the guy/gal with the comment should at least be consistent in his/her viewpoint.  If New Brunswick is so poor and lazy, I wouldn’t be able to ask my mother for money because she doesn’t have any.



2 thoughts on “The lazy Monctonian looking for handouts

  1. I also applaud that Albertan for having worked so hard to put that oil into the ground so his province could reap the benefits.

    (I get to say stuff like this – I lived 17 years in Alberta before coming here to put in my 10 years in Moncton).

  2. We are perhpas just as prone to typecast Albertans using convenient stereotypes, but wait look who just became Premier – a Red Tory and a woman ! The thing that bothers me most about the ‘money to the East’ thing is that it doesn’t come from Alberta or anywhere specific, but rather from a portion of the federal tax dollars that Canadians pay regardless of where they live. To make the case that Albertans are the losers in the case of equalization, one would have to assume that the Government of Canada would tax less if it weren’t making equalization payments, or that it would chose to spend the equivalent of equalization dollars in others ways that would disproportionately benefit Alberta.

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