Northwesterners know what it's like to have to leave to find work

FIRST IT was provincial finance minister Kevin Falcon muttering about putting social assistance recipients on planes and flying them to the north to work.

Now it’s his federal counterpart, Jim Flaherty, talking about changes to the Employment Insurance program which would seem to increase the requirements of recipients to find work.

Both came under fire by some who believe what was being planned was either unworkable or amounted to forcing people to move.

As Mr. Flaherty himself said, “There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job.”

That said, both ministers seem to have forgotten about what happens when people from one area are faced with unemployment – they do tend to go elsewhere.

There’s no better example than the northwest when, faced with the collapse of the woods industry, skilled workers began long distance commutes to places such as Fort McMurray where workers were being sought.

The demands of travel and the strains of leaving families for weeks at a time cannot be easy.

But now, with the prospect of an economic boom in the region, the prospect of commuting workers being able to find jobs here once again looms large. And that’s more than enough reason to think that the spring of 2012 is the start of a well-deserved northwest revival.