Fredericton — Canadian Federation of Independent Business president Dan Kelly is in Fredericton this week meeting with politicians, policy-makers, students, and small- and medium-sized business owners. According to CFIB, there are 5,600 jobs that have been sitting vacant in New Brunswick for nearly 4 months. New Brunswick also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, so Kelly says people should be “nudged” to take these jobs rather than being allowed to live off the system.
Kelly told us that many of these open jobs are full-time positions that don’t require a lot of skill. “Some of these jobs are paying 10 bucks an hour!” he exclaimed, apparently unaware that the minimum wage in New Brunswick is $10.30. “Some pay even more than that! I simply can’t understand why they aren’t being filled.”
To show just how easy it is to survive while working one of these wonderful positions, Kelly has vowed to take one of them for an entire month. “I could live on 10 bucks an hour for sure. Right now I’m making approximately $60 hourly; it shouldn’t be too hard to divide my expenditures by 6 without having to collect EI. I can do this — just watch me.”
Kelly claims a lot of unemployed New Brunswickers are stubbornly residing in the bigger cities of Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton with their friends and families, but if they’d open their minds and be willing to travel to rural communities, they’d find jobs galore.
“What? Fuck that,” said St. Thomas University student Geoff Mitchell when our reporter brought him up to speed on CFIB’s bold assertions. “I can’t afford to buy a car, let alone fill it with gas to drive to these mythical jobs up North. And why in god’s name would I want to actually live up there? Has this CFIB dick even been to a rural New Brunswick community? There are like 4 people under 60, and there’s nothing to do other than drink at the Legion and watch TV.”
Kelly admitted that he applied to work at a Tim Hortons in Campbellton, but was turned down because he’s not bilingual, so he applied to be an administrative assistant at CFB Gagetown and was quickly accepted. He promises to work in this lowly position an entire month, or for as much of it as he can tolerate, to set an example. During one of his allotted 15-minute daily breaks, Kelly also plans to meet with Finance Minister Roger Melanson.
“I don’t know what he’s talking about,” said Melanson when we called him for comment. “I’m not driving all the way to shitty old Gagetown to stand around in the cold for a couple minutes while Kelly pretends to like that admin job or whatever the hell he’s doing.”
Meanwhile, the province’s small-business owners say New Brunswickers just aren’t grateful for the opportunities available to them.
“I’m offering $12 an hour, 40 hours a week, just half-an-hour outside of the city with an unpaid lunch break and no benefits,” said Moncton small-business owner Kyle Albright, “and believe it or not, I can’t find any workers! I have 3 company vehicles I have to fill — do these people think gas grows on trees? If I have to pay my employees a living wage, I’ll go out of business!”
The Manatee will drop by Base Gagetown to check on Kelly near the end of his month-long term and see whether he’s homeless and cursing New Brunswick yet.