The western role reversal
Author: scott pettigrew- contributor
I’m sure that at some point, not so long ago, you were having some kind of small talk conversation with somebody from Alberta. The following question would almost inevitably be asked at some point or another: “So, where ‘ya from?”
For people from Saskatchewan, this question puts us in an interesting dilemma; do we reveal our true home province and risk being mocked for your province’s perceived boredom and lack of economic activity? Or do we lie about where we are truly from to avoid ridicule? However, recent economic data shows that the roles within this narrative may have reversed.
Saskatchewan has been producing historically positive economic results. Statistics Canada reported Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate as 4.7 per cent, which is the lowest among Canadian provinces. Accordingly, Saskatchewan employers infused 4000 jobs into the economy, many of which are full time positions. Finally, Saskatchewan household income has steadily risen from $70,790 in 2009 to $82,990 in 2013.
Meanwhile, in Alberta, things are looking grim. Just last week, Calgary alone lost 1000 jobs illustrating the 6 per cent unemployment rate within the province. The government announced that it fears the economy will run a $6.5 billion dollar deficit. The oil industry’s recent state of crisis has erased thousands of jobs and caused a ripple effect that has shaken the entire province’s economy. To exacerbate matters, the new Notley government introduced a bill proposing corporate tax to be increased from 10 per cent to 12 per cent and for income tax to be increased for anyone making over $125,000 dollars a year.
Coupling this bill is promises of government expansion and spending of $264 million on various sectors. The promises of this new government has resulted in grave hesitation for the private sector to invest in Alberta, slowing prospects of economic recovery. In fact, rumours of a major investment shift from Alberta to Saskatchewan are becoming more and more transparent. This shift goes beyond the national level, as earlier this week, when South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham visited Saskatchewan for a tour of the carbon capture plant, he stated that “Saskatchewan is at the centre of the debate in Washington, DC.”
Economic data and “businessy-sounding” language may or may not resonate with you now, but it means a lot of things for all of us, the average Saskatchewan residents. It means that jobs here are more readily available, and of a higher quality. For students, this notion should be valuable, as we can find jobs coming out of school. It means that the future of your business (whether it be your employer or your own business) is a bright one and promises of prospects of long-term economic prosperity. It means that now, we as Saskatchewanians, can hold our heads high and announce where we call home, rather than sweeping it under the rug.