MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“Recessions and Layoffs Are Very Personal”
“You’re just a victim of tough times. It’s nothing personal.”  Those are words that anyone who has suffered a job loss may have heard.  Though well-intended as a signal of support, this statement is far from accurate.  Economic recessions and layoffs are very personal.
Behind the dry, impersonal reporting of economic indicators and the latest stock figures, are the financial challenges and stress that your neighbour, relative, friend or even you, struggles with every day.
When I hear the personal stories of Canadians it comes home to me in a very real way the impact this global economic recession is having on families.  To maintain a decent standard of living, many families require two wages coming into the home.  That’s the reality of the modern society we live in.
It’s difficult enough when there’s one job loss in the household, but in so many homes across Canada, particularly in smaller resource communities like the ones that make up Prince George-Peace River, both wage earners have lost their jobs.
It’s not just about finances.  There’s a steep emotional and psychological price to be paid.  And then there is the impact upon the children who experience their own anxiety in response to their parents’ stress about how to meet the mortgage payments, pay the utilities and put food on the table.
That’s where the ‘flip side’ of living in a smaller community comes in.  Heart-warming stories of neighbour helping neighbour and church groups, service clubs and school children taking action to assist cash-strapped families are happening all across the nation.  Yet I firmly believe that our little corner of the world here in Northeastern BC has always been in the business of looking after each other – and we’ve gotten pretty good at it!
Volunteerism and selflessness has made a resounding difference in the midst of recession.  Some constituents have shared their most private worries and bleak financial situation.  Yet I have also heard of their gratitude to those who’ve reached out to their family.
So I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has taken part, even in the smallest of ways, to provide relief, support and hope to someone in your community.  Thank you for once again reminding me why I am so honoured to call Prince George-Peace River my home.
And speaking of hope, those ‘dry economic indicators’ are showing signs of improvement.
Figures released this week show resale housing market activity has increased for the second month in a row and the decline in average home prices has slowed.  Building permits across Canada spiked over 23 percent and the Toronto Stock Exchange is in the midst of a spring rally as investors indicate confidence that the worst of the recession is over.  Plus, retail sales rose slightly in February and the United States Federal Reserve Chair predicted the U.S. economy will begin to grow again later this year.
We still have a steep climb ahead of us but there are signs of hope … and stories of incredible generosity and caring among Canadians.