BRITISH COLUMBIA – CERB is crippling the Canadian economy.
It’s a classic case of “the good being the enemy of the best”, where a short-term, possibly well-intentioned solution becoming a long-term problem that is doing damage that in some corners may never be undone.
A case in point: One beleaguered business owner recently lamented the fact he can’t get his staff back on the job. Why? Because one of his employees is on the federal government’s CERB program, and receiving $2,000 a month to stay home and not work. Their partner also receives the $2,000 stipend, so between them, they are receiving what would amount to $48,000 over a full year. To do nothing.
We are assured that CERB recipients will find out on their next tax returns that the $2,000 was/is not tax free, and it will be recorded as income upon which they will be taxed at the appropriate rate. But for now, it’s $2,000 up front – which is comparable to the $2,500 or more that individual would have to make working a job in the real world, in order to take that much home.
Jobs paying those types of rates start in the service sector, and we’re increasingly seeing signs on the doors of restaurants, in particular, which should send shivers down our collective spines. A popular Island diner advertises on its roadside sign that it is open until 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday – but a poster at the door states bluntly that the eatery is only open until 4 p.m. now because they can’t get enough staff to work. Normally that restaurant would be open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m., so CERB has already impacted the owners’ ability to provide its meals to hungry customers.
Our supply chain is being seriously crimped in other sectors for the same CERB reason. Workers are still choosing to stay home and collect their CERB rather than going to their normal place of work.
It is a micro-sample of full blown communism. Communist countries are not able to get enough workers interested in personal advancement to make goods and provide services that people will purchase. Nor does that environment provide any incentive for entrepreneurial minded individuals would take the risk to invest in their own futures by building businesses, or having their dreams realized in terms of new inventions or creations.
We are now seeing that here in Canada. Yet much of the populace continues to waltz along, ambivalent to what they’re seeing happening, albeit in slow motion, around them. Why? Because they are partaking of the federal government’s prolonged “free” handouts, never stopping to realize they are mortgaging their very own future.
Favourite brands of food and beverage are slowly disappearing from Canadian shelves. A combination of hoarding resulting in a lack of recyclable aluminum for cans has meant that major soda brands Coca Cola and Pepsi have altered their product offerings out of necessity. They just don’t have enough metal containers for some of their ancillary brands, even though they are worth producing and distributing in regular markets. Some brand name diet drinks are now on the sideline for those very reason.
We recently went to a restaurant for lunch, only to find that the doors were closed because they couldn’t get supplies. They said they might get some that afternoon. We went next door, and similarly, the door was closed, with no promise to re-open, for the same reason. We tried a third establishment which was open, although a sign on the door explained that they wouldn’t be able to open to a full complement of seats because of a shortage of staff.
A pub recently added wings to its menu, and noted that customers loved them. They then noted, sadly, that they couldn’t get wings until “next Thursday” due to a supply shortage – therefore missing most of a week of valuable sales for their new product.
It’s not just food. A walk through an auto parts store revealed spaces on the shelves I’ve never, ever seen before. An electrical company owner notes that he has to be extra careful in his planning to make sure he has enough products to do the jobs he has lined up over the next four months. Reliable suppliers are running low on products, and he has to order four to six months in advance now to make sure his employees have the products they need when it’s time to do the job – instead of enjoying the luxury of just going to the supplier and getting what they need, when they want it.
This is what socialism/communism ultimately looks like. While some decry the vagaries of capitalism, they may want to revisit their ideologies if they will open their eyes and view the results of paying people to do nothing. Some of their favourite goods and services have been curtailed during the COVID catastrophe, and as long as CERB remains those shortages will continue to increase. Some of them may never return, as entrepreneurs decide it’s not worth their time and effort to start again.
That would be a tragedy indeed.
Mark MacDonald is President of Communication Ink Media & Public Relations Ltd. and can be reached at email@example.com