National unemployment clock makes stop in city

A few years ago, the death clock came out. People could put the year they were born, their sex and a few other factors in and it would pump out the number of days, hours and seconds until a person’s demise.

David Rowswell

A few years ago, the death clock came out. People could put the year they were born, their sex and a few other factors in and it would pump out the number of days, hours and seconds until a person’s demise.

It may be not quite as dark, but now the Telecommunication Workers Union has come up with the national unemployment clock.

Every 34.9 seconds, another number is added to the tally — representing another worker who has become unemployed in the country.

Thomas Stringham is the creative director of the Keep Jobs in Canada campaign and is driving across the country with the national unemployment clock. Just after noon on Monday, the clock was at 1,615,692 — meaning that number of Canadians are without work.

He dropped by City Hall Park in Red Deer on Monday, as part of the tour to raise awareness about jobs moving to another country, also known as off-shoring.

Stringham said there are no rules for companies choosing to move jobs to another country. He said ideally the campaign is pushing for legislation so that companies that make profit primarily from Canadians would hire Canadians.

He said it is particularly a problem for telecommunication workers, who have seen call centre jobs lost in Canada and moved to places like the Philippines. He also pointed to raw materials, like lumber, being cut in Canada and shipped elsewhere to be made into products.

“It’s at that point where (companies) are making a huge profit already. It’s a lucrative opportunity for shareholders to make a little bit more profit, but what the companies don’t realize — because they look at quarters, not at generations of people — is that if the economy suffers because they’re farming all the work away, they’re not going to have any customers,” Stringham said.

Besides raising awareness, Stringham is trying to get people to sign a petition.

“At the conclusion of our campaign, we’re going to send that to Stephen Harper and Rona Ambrose, the labour minister, and let them know that Canadians across the country want them to do something about the off-shoring of . . . Canadian jobs,” Stringham said.

The tour is to end in British Columbia on June 10. More information on the campaign and how the clock works is available at www.keepjobsincanada.ca

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

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