Leaving New Brunswick: It's the Politics

June 5, 2011

A few weeks ago, I participated in Fredericton’s Super Mega Cybersocial discussing the IT industry in New Brunswick. I detailed a few things that companies should be doing to attract and retain young talent, but I side-stepped one issue altogether. You see, even before Ashley and I knew where she was going to grad school, we had already decided that we wouldn’t be staying in New Brunswick at all. The politics of this province had a lot to do with that decision, and I thought I’d expand on those points here. Let’s take three recent news stories I picked from the CBC completely non-randomly.

# Lower minimum wage for tip earners possible

Basically, the Torries are trying to make this province Alberta, Jr. and are contemplating a multi-tiered minimum wage for people who make tips. The same people who say that business executives need to earn big-bucks because that’s part of the job are saying that waitresses and barkeeps need to, essentially, be taxed on tips because even though that’s part of the job, it’s not fair to the government.

They’ve talked about minimum wage before, contemplating a tiered structure based on age (paying teenagers/students less). I think the only reason they aren’t abolishing the planned increase of minimum wage to $10 in September is because of the political backlash they’d get.

# New drinking, driving law could hurt bars

This one is interesting. Currently, anyone caught with a Blood-Alcohol level below the legal limit of 0.08 but above 0.05 has their license suspended for 24 hours despite not having broken the law. The Torries want to extend that suspension to a week to scare people from driving drunk, while acknowledging that this is punishing safe drivers in order to catch the irresponsible ones.

I don’t believe in drinking and driving, but having a beer with supper and driving home an hour later shouldn’t be grounds to suspend your license for a week. This is feel-good legislation that’s designed to make people feel safer and thank the government for protecting them. All hail the great nanny state.

# Doctors quit Fredericton sexual health clinic

In February, the Conservative government cut access to sexual health clinics in New Brunswick for people aged 20-24. This age group represents the people most prone to sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. This new policy went mostly unnoticed until all three doctors in Fredericton’s sexual health clinic quit in response.

I can’t speak directly to the Torries’ motivations over this one, especially considering the widely publicized sexual health campaign targetting 20-24 year-olds. However, I’m cynical about this government and hazard to say that more unplanned pregnancies means more long-term population growth, which was part of the party platform in September for the Progressive Conservatives. This wouldn’t be the first time the PC’s have treated women like baby factories, either.

Ashley and I leave on a plane for Toronto tomorrow morning to look for an apartment and gainful employment. We can’t be more excited to move to such an amazing city and away from such a regressive province. It’s going to be nice to be able to vote in an election for a party that’s not red or blue and have a chance of them actually winning.

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