Thursday, March 12, 2009

While politicians play in Parliament

Real people suffer in the hinterland.
I worked for this company for a year when I was 20. It was in Terrace Bay, on the Trans-Canada Highway 140 miles northeast of Thunder Bay. Terrace Bay was a company town, planned and built after World War II to take advantage of a large nearby hydro plant, a good timber source, and decent transportation. Back then, it was part of Kimberly-Clark's network of mills headquartered in Wisconsin. There was a deal between the people and the company. You would work for the mill and live in a fairly isolated community, away from things like universities, arts centres, opera houses, domed stadiums, and all the rest of the things your tax dollar was paying for. In return, you got as much of a middle-class lifestyle as was possible in a small town, one that was very pleasant if you were an outdoorsy type. It wasn't a deal I took, but many decent people did.
Now the deal's off. These people are on their own. Their home equity is gone, they have no transferable skills, and, because the place hasn't hired in years, they're on the wrong side of 40.
Quite simply, they're fucked.
And who cares about them?
No one.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

This blog may be more appropriately called WarrenKinsella.com

Anonymous said...

Huh? This blog is least partisan one I've seen that actually focuses on policy. I have no idea what you are talking about....

Anonymous said...

I grew up in NWO and have been (mostly) through Terrace Bay many times. It is so sad to see how the whole region is sinking. Most of the towns along Hwy's 17 and 11 are in the same situation. All are dependent on one industry for the most part.

I really enjoy your periodic updates on the region.

TH

Anonymous said...

All the current paper mill workers in NWO are still living in la-la land like those in the Central Ontario's CAW. I read an article in today's G&M ROB about (Un)Employment Insurance. One Thunder Bay paper mill worker was complaining that he's only entitled to 38 weeks of EI while his out-of-town neighbor gets 45.

Ian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian said...

On UI, his maximum cheque will be $460 a week, minus income tax and CPP, leaving a net of about $360 a week, for 38 weeks. This, after a job that probably paid upwards of $900 a week gross.
On that money, this "spoiled" worked is expected to find a non-existent job or get re-trained and possibly relocate within 38 weeks or go on welfare.
Yea. Lala land. Right.
And this is the payoff of "insurance" that he's been paying for, and which the feds have been pillaging, for decades.

Anonymous said...

Action or

Inaction.

Let the people decide.

Anonymous said...

UI only works if you had a full time job the past year but there are few employers who give full time jobs for that long. The only ones that find themselves qualified for UI are long term union Yobs and they're so unemployable they'll spend up to a year before they exaust their benefits.

Ottawa Watch said...

Well, it's supposed to be insurance. Do you think it would be fair or that it would be good for Canada if they didn't get UI?EI when the lose their jobs?

Anonymous said...

Alot of people who lose their jobs don't qualify for UI/EI period so the union Yobs shouldn't complain of getting only 38 weeks. If they were so well paid you think they would have saved their money for a rainy day. And I wouldn't mind netting $360 a week for 38 weeks.

Anonymous said...

For many of those people (Terrace Bay) the issue will be much more that the 38 weeks of EI. This is now a town with no major industry for over 100 miles. Their mortgaged homes are worthless. I'm sure some have saved for a rainy day, but most people simply don't or can't. While the incomes in Small Town Northern Ontario are high, so is the cost of living. They are soaked for gas, food, clothing, etc. In some cases, the food in rural northern Ontario can be TWICE the price of southern Ont.

Anonymous said...

While a dozen eggs maybe 50 cents more cheaper in Toronto than in Terrace Bay you get shafted by the high housing prices. It was possible if you got a mill job in Terrace Bay you could buy a house within a year. In Toronto you would be lucky to get a half-decent apartment.