Moncton — On Monday Premier Brian Gallant proudly announced the opening of a WestJet call centre that will mean 400 new jobs for Moncton over the next 4 years. Most of the employees will work from home after being trained in the new call centre.
“I’m hoping that, after I’m gone, I’ll be known as the premier who announced the most new call centre jobs,” beamed Gallant, standing behind a podium at the Moncton airport. “For me it’s always been about quantity of jobs. I’m no mathematician, but with the 300 new IBM jobs and now these, that’s 700 jobs for New Brunswick! Just 300 more and I’ll be the ‘thousand job premier’!”
Naysaysers gathered to voice their displeasure over Gallant’s shortsightedness.
“That’s it, bring in yet another mega-company to save New Brunswick with a pack of low-paying, dead-end jobs, only to have the company pull out later,” shouted Carla Gregory of Riverview.
“Why can’t the provincial government invest more in fledgling businesses that originate right here in the province?” asked Ben Irvine, another opponent of the call centre. “More often than not, startups are outright stifled, with the province slamming them with taxes and unfair policies. If they were allowed to flourish, so would New Brunswick.”
Gallant was unfazed, and seemed not to hear the negative comments.
“This is Calgary’s loss and New Brunswick’s gain!” he bellowed. “WestJet couldn’t find bilingual workers out in Alberta, so they’re coming here, where everyone — mostly — is bilingual. I knew that would come in handy at some point.”
The premier, who has never himself worked in a call centre, touted the benefits of the inbound industry.
“We’re planning to introduce a ‘call centre technology’ course in high schools by September, so students will already be trained for this sort of work by the time they graduate. It will temper teens’ expectations in life — think how much more smoothly things will go if, at 15 or 16, our youth are already resigned to working in a tiny grey cubicle while desperately trying to meet arbitrary sales quotas for incompetent bosses for the remainder of their adult lives? It’ll save the province millions in training costs and make us look more appealing to other companies like WestJet.”
Gallant said universities will also begin preparing New Brunswickers for their bleak but inevitable future. “STU is already on board with offering a ‘call centre arts 101’ class beginning next semester. Students will learn to deal with tough customers, and to forfeit their privacy by having calls randomly recorded, listened to and critiqued in front of the entire class. They’ll also learn how to budget to live on about $11-$15 hourly, which realistically is a skill every New Brunswicker needs.”
Gallant says that his greatest hope is for New Brunswick to officially become the call centre capital of Canada.
“I just figure it’s a lot easier for big companies to save us than for us to learn to stand on our own two feet,” he went on. “It’s what we do in New Brunswick. This initiative shows even more promise than the Energy East Pipeline — which I’m still totally all for, in case anyone thought I’d forgotten about it.”