EDITORIAL: Where are these jobs?

B.C. government rolling our big numbers from their Jobs Plan, but we see little to none of those in Parksville Qualicum Beach

You can bet with confidence there’s going to be a lot of this from now until May of 2017.

The sitting government always has an advantage. It has at its disposal staff and technology to churn out statistics and paint pictures that can put its record in a good light. The spoils of winning elections.

Last week, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond rolled out some impressive job numbers. B.C has record employment: 2.3 million people are working. Bond said the province has added 176,000 jobs since the launch of the B.C. Liberals’ Jobs Plan in 2011, 80 per cent of them full-time and 80 per cent of them in the private sector (the latter is our favourite).

We saw the numbers and wanted more specific information. How many of those 176,000 jobs were for people in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region? We were told the jobs numbers were based on Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, which does not include numbers for specific communities, except maybe Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna.

We asked for specific numbers because we really haven’t noticed any real job creation here since 2011, which makes the chest thumping from the B.C. Liberals a little hollow in these parts. And we fear it’s going to be like that during the provincial election: the Liberal candidate (presumably Michelle Stilwell) telling us how well the Liberals have done in the bigger, B.C. picture while local issues are ignored.

It’s little guy syndrome to a degree, sure, but our 50,000 people matter. We send a lot of money to Victoria and empty promises about job creation at some LNG plant in Prince Rupert or at a dam project somewhere in the Interior just isn’t good enough.

To her credit, Bond did try to provide us with a local angle last week. She said the tech sector is one of the job leaders and pointed to a shining example, Cloudhead Games in Qualicum Beach.

“Denny Unger and his team there are not only increasing jobs in the region but doing so in the highly competitive Tech sector, proving you can run a successful tech company from anywhere in the province,” Bond said through an e-mail.

Cloudhead’s success is undeniable and worthy of applause. We have featured Unger and his company numerous times on these pages.

Is that all you got, ministers Bond and Stilwell? Until we hear differently, with specific proof or announcements, we still believe the Parksville Qualicum Beach region is not getting the job-creation attention many other areas of the province are enjoying.

— Editorial by John Harding

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