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Saskatchewan family sells everything, moves to Alberta in search of jobs

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Christine Angst and her spouse, Jeremy Dole, were lifelong Saskatchewan residents until last November, when they decided to sell everything they owned and move to Alberta in search of work.

“Our life basically degraded to a point where we couldn’t look after our children properly and were in fear we’d have to give them up,” said Angst from her new home in Edmonton where she lives with Dole and their five children.

Since 2015, the family struggled to make ends meet in Saskatoon.

Dole worked as a drywaller off and on, while Angst tried to supplement his wages with her job as a waitress. Her shifts at the restaurant dwindled until it wasn’t worth the gas money to go into work anymore.

Dole and his nephew decided to combine their money and head to Alberta. Both men received full-time offers of employment within two weeks of living in the province.

‘We had to make a decision and gamble.’– Christine Angst

They sent for Angst and her children in November and she found a job as a commercial cleaner.

The move was difficult and expensive, but worth it.

“I was very scared, but we were at a point where we weren’t making it, and we had to make a decision and gamble,” said Angst.

“We can put food on the table, we have a nice little four-level split, my kids are in school, we have the things we need for them, not worrying and struggling day after day about how we’re going to pay bills, or feed our kids, or pay for gas.”

Economist Trevor Tombe speaks during an interview at the Taylor Family Digital Library at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Alberta rebounds from recession

Migration from the Angst and Dole’s home province to Alberta isn’t new, but it is notable at this time, since Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate — 6.2 per cent — is slightly better than Alberta’s at 6.9 per cent.

Alberta’s joblessness rate is falling more quickly than Saskatchewan’s.

“Broadly speaking, Alberta and Saskatchewan went through a very similar experience in the last couple of years. Low oil prices was a big negative shock to both economies,” said University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe.

“Alberta does have a stronger economy than Saskatchewan overall, even at the bottom of the recession, and it had prior to the recession.” 

The strong economy may be the force pulling residents from Saskatchewan west, but it’s difficult to make any assumptions or connections based on job vacancy.

“We don’t have data to exactly see what the job success rate is of migrants between provinces, but we do have data on the number of unemployed workers per vacant job,” said Tombe.

In Saskatchewan, there are 5.7 unemployed people per vacant job, and in Alberta, slightly lower at 5.2 people per vacant job, meaning the labour market is slightly easier in Alberta, but not much.

Migration from Sask. ‘consistent’

Since 2014 — the beginning of the most recent recession due to a drop in oil prices — people from Saskatchewan have been moving to Alberta in higher numbers than the other way around.

“Migration from Saskatchewan to Alberta has been a consistent feature of inter-provincial migration flows for some time,” said Tombe.

In the first quarter of 2014, approximately 2,600 — about 1,000 people per month — moved from Saskatchewan to Alberta. Only 1,800 moved in the other direction.

The latest numbers are similar, more than three years later. Only once did the quarterly numbers reflect more people moving to Saskatchewan than Alberta and then, it was only 53 people.

Christine Angst isn’t surprised to hear Saskatchewan residents are on the move.

In addition to her nephew and his spouse, Angst says she met a neighbour who also moved from Saskatchewan to Edmonton to find work. She has a friend who recently moved to Calgary, too.

The Angst-Dole family has no plans to return to Saskatchewan, even though their relatives and support systems were unable to follow them west.

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MacKay will vote for Scheer to stay on as Conservative Leader

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Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay says that when the time comes to vote on Andrew Scheer’s continued leadership of the party, he’s going to back the Conservative Leader.

The comment comes less than two weeks after MacKay told a Wilson Centre think tank panel in Washington that Scheer’s 2019 election loss “was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”

Now, MacKay – whose name has been floated as a potential challenger to Scheer for the top spot in the party – told CTV Power Play host Don Martin that he supports the current leader and will continue to do so.

“Well Andrew Scheer is going to face a mandatory review, Don, that’s part of the Conservative constitution, so that will be for he and the membership. I’ll be there, and I’ll be voting no,” MacKay told Martin in a pre-taped interview, airing Monday.

MacKay also walked back other comments made during the same panel on Oct. 30. At the time, MacKay said the chatter about issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage “hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like stinking albatross, quite frankly.”

Speaking to Martin on Monday, MacKay said those comments weren’t directed at Scheer’s position on those issues.

“Those comments, of course, were torqued. It was about the election performance generally, writ large, myself included. It wasn’t aimed directly at Andrew Scheer – and when I said there was an albatross around his neck, he didn’t put it there. It was put there by the media, it was put there by the opposition quite deliberately to hamstring his performance,” said MacKay.

Asked about the lack of clarity surrounding Scheer’s personal beliefs on same-sex marriage, MacKay couldn’t explain why Scheer hasn’t been more clear.

“I think Andrew Scheer, who has very strong beliefs, doesn’t think it’s a sin and I can’t answer why it is he hasn’t been more direct in his answer,” MacKay said.

MacKay went on to defend both Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party’s record when it comes to protecting human rights.

“Andrew Scheer was part of the Conservative government for ten years that not only didn’t remove rights, it enhanced rights. It spoke up for people’s rights on the international stage…there’s a proud legacy that Andrew Scheer is a part of, can take ownership of, and can proudly stand behind and I believe he is doing that. He’s trying to make that case.”

Scheer was criticized during the election campaign for failing to clarify his personal beliefs on issues including same-sex marriage and abortion. Scheer, a social Conservative who has publicly opposed both issues in the past, says he would uphold the law on abortion.

He also said in a pre-campaign speech that if he formed government, he would “support and introduce” legislation that protects LGBTQ Canadians.

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Nova Scotians condemn Don Cherry’s poppy comments

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Joseph Lunda recalls choking back tears while teaching high school students about the contributions of Canadian soldiers in the First and Second World Wars.

A historian, he immigrated to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Congo 37 years ago, and became a Canadian history teacher in Nova Scotia.

“Any time I’m talking about a site where Canadians fought, all the time tears were coming,” he told Global News at the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Dartmouth.

“Why? Because I remember what these people have done for all of us to benefit (from) — the liberty, the freedom — in this country.”

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Lunda is one of many Canadian immigrants who felt hurt by comments from Don Cherry suggesting not enough newcomers wear poppies, and therefore don’t support veterans.

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Cherry made the complaint during his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, and has since received an abundance of backlash, including calls for his resignation.

Lunda, who now teaches at Université Sainte-Anne, attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony with his family. He said not wearing a poppy is not necessarily an indication that one doesn’t support members of the Canadian Armed Forces, past or present.

“Let’s say I have it on my chest and it falls down, and I meet Don Cherry. He’s going to tell me I’m not supporting veterans?” he said. “You see I am here at this memorial. Why am I here? Because I support.”

Others agreed with Lunda and spoke out against the hockey commentator’s suggestion.

Don Cherry faces backlash over comments on Remembrance Day, poppies and immigrants

Gerry White, a veteran of both Royal Canadian Navy and RCMP, said it’s “pretty straightforward” — Cherry’s comments were “out of line.”

“I won’t say disgusting, (but) I guess I already did,” White told Global News. “I don’t think that was a comment that’s shared by the large majority of Canadians…

“One of the rights we fought for was your right to wear a poppy or not wear a poppy. It’s pretty straightforward.”

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Civilians and military members lay down wreaths at the Sullivan’s Pond Cenotaph in Dartmouth, N.S. on Remembrance Day.

Civilians and military members lay down wreaths at the Sullivan’s Pond Cenotaph in Dartmouth, N.S. on Remembrance Day.


Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

Dartmouth-Cole Harbour MP Darren Fisher said he was “very disappointed” in Cherry’s Saturday night rant and said Canada is a country made up of immigrants. The new federal government in Ottawa has a responsibility to unite Canadians, he added, in the face of anti-immigrant sentiments.

“We hear it occasionally and it’s very disappointing every time we hear it. This is not a time to be divisive in Canada, this is a time to be united,” he explained.

“Look at the crowds here today. This is a beautiful, beautiful day to honour our veterans — the women and men who served Canada.”

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“I think Canadians get it more and more.”

Fisher said he’d like to see all Canadians show the same level of support for veterans, not just on Remembrance Day, but every day.

Cherry has yet to apologize for his comments over the weekend. Late on Monday Sportsnet confirmed that Cherry had stepped down from his role on Hockey Night in Canada.

“Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday Night’s Broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” said Sportsnet’s president Bart Yabsley in a statement.

“During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for,” said Yabsley in a statement.

—With files from Hannah Jackson 

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Man up and apologize, Liberal MP from Quebec tells Don Cherry

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Greg Fergus notes his Montserrat-born grandfather was a tailor in the RAF — “that was as far as they would let that young Black man serve.”

Don Cherry, in his weekly Hockey Night in Canada segment, suggested new immigrants were not wearing poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day. Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Liberal MP for Hull-Aylmer is calling upon Don Cherry to apologize for remarks about immigrants he made on last Saturday’s edition of Hockey Night in Canada.

“My Montserrat-born and bred grandfather signed up for the RAF and served as a tailor, for that was as far as they would let that young Black man serve,” Greg Fergus wrote in his Twitter account in the hours after Cherry’s comments. “Because of that service, he was able to bring his young family to Canada.

“Seven decades later, I am able to take my seat in the House of Commons and serve my country. Mr. Cherry: my grandfather’s story is not unique. I trust you are a big enough man to apologize for your comments.”

Fergus’ comments are part of the larger wave of backlash over comments made about immigrants by Cherry during his Coach’s Corner segment.

The 85-year-old commentator — no stranger to controversy sparked by his comments in the past — suggested new immigrants were not wearing poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day.

“You people … that come here … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

After Cherry’s remarks sparked a massive online backlash, Sportsnet issued an apology, saying “Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network.”

Ron MacLean, Cherry’s on-air sidekick who had nodded and given a thumbs up during the remarks, also issued an apology, saying the comments were “were hurtful and prejudiced and I wish I had handled myself differently. It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it.”

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