Sackville — A professor at Mount Allison University says encouraging immigration to the Picture Province is undoubtedly a good thing, but it’s perhaps a Band-Aid solution to the overall problem of New Brunswick’s economic woes.
“The real question is whether, and how, immigrants’ professional credentials will be used in the province’s many call centres,” said economics prof Mitchell Landry. “While the province has accepted 2,000 Syrians, it’s unclear how these doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and other trained professionals will fare in their new soul-deadening call-centre jobs.
“Crucial skills such as answering the phone, hanging up the phone, reading scripts, pushing useless products, and general underpaid teamwork — do those translate? I’m not sure, and our government has done little to address this.”
Landry said he’d also like to see more details on how call centres will fill their constant worker shortages if immigrants’ credentials are not found to be acceptable.
“Sure, normally we see these call-centre jobs filled by grads of Mount A, grads of other post-secondary institutions in the province; and then we see these New Brunswick-born grads get fed up and move away for lack of opportunity, so in theory there should be space for all the immigrants in these hundreds of shitty, terrible positions,” elaborated the prof. “But what if the immigrants hate the jobs too? The New Brunswick economy as we know it will collapse. I mean, even more so.”
The Manatee managed to score an interview with Premier Brian Gallant, the main proponent of call-centre work as the sole solution to New Brunswick’s fiscal problems.
“I gave the green light to getting these 2,000 Syrians in here under the expectation that they would jump at the opportunity to work at one of these call centres,” said Gallant. “Come to find out, no one — and I mean no one — can stomach this kind of work for more than a few months. Well, shit. What am I gonna do now? Try to create meaningful employment?”