The Situation Room – Vegreville faces prospect of losing federal jobs, just say no!!

Mac Olsen

The federal government has lots of money for urban investments, such as research money for prestigious universities, but federal jobs in rural Canada don’t seem to matter.

The chickens have come home to roost for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Government as Vegreville stands to lose approximately 280 jobs with the proposed relocation of its Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office to Edmonton.

According to a September 25 story in The National Post, Trudeau’s government is trying to quell concerns about the potential job losses for Vegreville:

“For now, immigration spokeswoman Julie Lafortune said major moves are on hold. ‘These relocations will not affect the employment status of staff,’ she said. Decisions are based on ‘organizational needs’ and on factors including ‘more cost-effective locations’ and ‘more space for employees.”

But Vegreville and other rural communities in Alberta and across Canada that depend on federal government offices and jobs to sustain their economy should stand up to Trudeau.

We’re talking about not only the job losses of the federal employees in Vegreville; their families would be forced to relocate as well.

Looking at the Statistics Canada 2016 national census, the resident population of Vegreville, stood at approximately 5,436.

Of that total, 3,365 are between the ages of fifteen to sixty-four, 910 are between zero to fourteen and 1,165 residents are sixty-five and over.

Thus, by the Trudeau government’s estimation, the loss of approximately 280 federal jobs in a community of 5,436 isn’t significant. But for the people and businesses in Vegreville, how many millions of dollars will be lost annually if that community loses those jobs?

Moreover, Trudeau gives far higher priority to urban centres than he does the rural areas of Canada. Here’s a small sample of what urban centres are getting:

. The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, $2 billion for infrastructure projects at post-secondary institutions.

But guess where that money goes? To urban centres like Edmonton and Calgary.

. In 2016, the University of Alberta received $75 million from the federal government for energy research.

Again, the money goes to Edmonton.

Go on to obtain the website information about these and other federal investments.

Moreover, as Edmonton is such a large urban centre, with a very diversified economy, they don’t need the federal jobs that Vegreville has.

We can also look at the federal government employment and economic influence from the perspective of urban centres.

You can bet that if Trudeau was to consider shutting down the military bases in Edmonton, Halifax, Victoria, and Wainright, those urban municipalities would protest vehemently.

The message is clear: just say no to axing federal jobs in rural communities across Canada.

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