January 28, 2016

CFIB Business Barometer report brings MORE bad news for Alberta

Sheila Gunn ReidRebel Commentator

It's more bad news for Alberta. Today the Canadian Federation of Independent Business released its Business Barometer for January 2016.

The Barometer measures Alberta's small business confidence. And it's fallen again.

December 2015 was the lowest the CFIB had ever seen small business confidence in Alberta in the 15 years since they began collecting this data. January 2016 is lower than that.

Amber Ruddy, the Alberta Director of the CFIB, says "one third of small business in Alberta report they will have to shrink their workforce, a last resort for many businesses”.

Alberta Businesses are in free fall, facing layoffs and bankruptcy. What is our provincial government doing? They're doing worse than nothing.

The NDP are delaying the spring sitting of the Legislature. They're delaying the budget. They increased taxes on job creators. They taxed everything under the sun with a carbon tax. They’re raising the minimum wage, which will kill the creation of new jobs for young people.

If any situation on Alberta ever called for an emergency session in the legislature, it’s the worst economic situation in Alberta since 1982. But Rachel Notley doesn't think so.


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commented 2016-02-01 03:57:57 -0500
Nobody actually wants to earn min wage. People end up working for min wage because they do not have a choice. Some people through no fault of their own get stuck in min wage jobs. Employers know this, and take advantage of these employees.

If you want to go after somebody for earning too much, go after people that are earning more than min wage.
commented 2016-01-31 22:02:02 -0500
Re read Allan Willy’s post, it clearly says everything that needs saying. Have a good life Sean.
commented 2016-01-31 21:59:49 -0500
I knew that when I was getting minimum wage at the Avondale as a teenager or when I worked at the embroidery shop, that it wasn’t going to be a living wage. So I got s better job. Every pay hike I ever received, except one that was offered, I asked for. I usually got it because before I asked I made sure I was the best employee they had. I have never had a union job, although I made a union wage at times. When I wasn’t happy with an employer and what I was paid I moved on.
Not everyone can do that? Bullsht. If you don’t want to try to live on Taco Bell wages, find a way to get different employment.
commented 2016-01-31 19:51:59 -0500
At what point did anybody earning min wage agree that the min wage is NOT supposed to provide a proper living? The only people that would ever say such a thing, are big corporations that exploit their staff. This is like the Taco Bell executive saying that the employment at the restaurant is not meant to be long term, hence, why Taco Bell should be able to pay their employees that little.
commented 2016-01-31 11:41:35 -0500
Back when I was a teenager minimum wage was $1.00 per hour. I worked for that and my mother worked for that but my father had a job paying the lions share of the household expenses. Back then pretty well everyone made a living with the minimum wage jobs being a supplement or training wage. The minimum wage rose over time just in lockstep with the full-time job hourly wages, they had to for who would work for $1.00 per hour today in ANY capacity? Sure Macdonald’s makes a profit like all businesses do or want to do. When minimum wage costs rise then that makes it more logical cost wise to implement automation to your business and you bring back the profit margin you lost when the minimum wage cost rose. Tim Horton’s just may be the next fast foot place to automate the front end…tap in your order, insert your credit card and pick up your coffee and donut at the end of the line. Fact of the matter is jobs ARE lost and people like teenagers, seniors and supplemental incomes suffer from that.
commented 2016-01-31 03:54:10 -0500
McDonalds is making changes to be more profitable. It is not because they are a victim of the min wage going up. They have competition , have been criticized, and like any other business, will find ways to make themselves more profitable.

Look at Tim Hortons. They pay their employees min wage, and if the min wage went up, you will not be seeing Tim Hortons close down.

Increasing the minimum wage is there so that the employees can have a wage that goes up with inflation.

At what point did anybody agree that minimum wage is not supposed to be livable? Min wage exists as to give the workers some form of workers rights so that they do not get abused. And lets face it. Many big corporations will abuse of their low paid staff.

Look at the dystopia that is south of the border. You have people working two jobs at min wage, and they still can’t afford rent so they live at a shelter. You still want to tell these people that bumping up min wage is paving the road to hell?
commented 2016-01-30 23:16:46 -0500
Exactly right Allan Willy. How many people go through the automated cashier at the grocery these days as another example..not to mention manufacturing applications. The world is becoming more and more automated, and if you’re not relevant you could be out of a job. Businesses retaliate, slow down, shut down or leave to a more hospitable business climate. This will happen more and more as government applies more restrictive regulations, taxes, gov. driven wage hikes. The government artificially raising the min. wage is a detriment, not a help to anybody.’ Entry level jobs were never meant to provide a living’. Allen’s entire post is spot on.

As Allen pointed out, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
commented 2016-01-30 22:29:12 -0500
In Toronto, now that Ontario has raised its minimum wage from $10.25 in 2012 to $11.25/hr in 2015 (with cost of living increases every year moving forward) we have noticed that MacDonald’s are automating their ordering system meaning less front line staff. I would assume as minimum wages rise more places will do this resulting more and more layoffs of seniors, students and family members working to supplement family incomes. I can imagine small family businesses, like the corner variety store, laying off non-family members and asking family members to fill-in again resulting in similar layoffs. The minimum wage level jobs were never meant to provide a living wage but rather entry level jobs through which persons could increase wages by moving up the ladder, or supplemental income jobs for families to help out the family major wage earner. It really sounds like a good idea at a glance, but it again provides proof the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
commented 2016-01-30 20:33:33 -0500
What are the chances that I got the book wrong? What other book has some ridiculously elongated speech inconveniently inserted into the middle of it?

The topic here is not about nationalizing everything to the point where private ownership does not exist. The point is, minimum wage getting increased is a good thing. Granted a job being the best security net is true, but a job paying min wage does little for people. If people on min wage could find a better paying job, then they would change jobs. But a lot of times, people end up working min wage out of circumstances beyond their control. When this happens, the min wage paying employers take advantage of people that are down on their luck.

How about we take Brad Wall’s famous line. Conservatives need to finish the sentence, and address the issue of quality of life. Therefore, what kind of quality of life can a hard working min wage earner have on their miniscule pay? Isn’t the whole point of government, is that government exists to protect people and to preserve a bearable standard of living? Employees are not slaves. And if employees start to feel like they are exploited, then they may start to feel like it is to their best interest to vote for a left leaning political party.
commented 2016-01-30 15:49:54 -0500
Ayn Rand was a Russian born American novelist. She knew what communism looked like and she hated it.

Excerpt from Francisco’s speech in Atlas Shrugged,

“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose–because it contains all the others–the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money.’ No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity–to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality." http://capitalismmagazine.com/2002/08/franciscos-money-speech/
commented 2016-01-30 14:58:07 -0500
I think you are a bit confused Sam. That’s not Atlas Shrugged. Actually the book is a perfect example of how government interference screws up business to the point of owners ceasing to make money or do business rather than be a slave to an over reaching government. ‘Because its 2016’ is no excuse for ignoring the Magna Carta. The book is timeless, and very relevant today. It is a fat read though.
Change your mind? I wouldn’t dream of it. Just offering my opposing view is all.

“What ever happened to the concept of compassionate conservative”, As I have mentioned before, the best social program is a job. As well, the safety nets exist because business is allowed to do business. The pie is not finite, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep ‘baking’ it. Hinder business and the bakery closes down. If that translates to not being compassionate then I can only assume you prefer a nanny state. Well you’ve got it. Tell us how you think its going in a year or so.

Are you employed at the moment?
commented 2016-01-30 04:08:59 -0500
I have not read the entire Atlas shrugged, only that long winded diatribe that everybody talks about. Do you expect that book to change my mind? We live in 2016 Canada, not Communist Russia under Linin or Stalin. The book may make a point against the Russian system, but is hardly applicable for modern Canada.

The book’s rant seems more targetted towards nationalization of all things, including collectivization. Last I checked, farmer owners were not being forced to split up their property with the lowly proletariat workers. And no, despite what some people here say, that is not what is happening in Alberta because of the new Bill 6.

What ever happened to the concept of compassionate conservative, that was really popular back when Harper was trying to become prime minister? Conservatives are supposed to be the caring ones with real issues, such as making sure that people have their basic necessities met.

To bring it back to the original point around Atlas Shrugged. Regardless of ideology, chronological context, or country, one thing will be constant between communist Russia and modern Canada. If the bottom workers of society are getting abused, they will rise up.

Don’t believe me? Just look at how many Americans are backing Bernie Sanders.
commented 2016-01-29 19:48:22 -0500
If you believe we think this, “People that are working for min wage are not the enemy. If you want to go after somebody for earning too much, take your battle to professional hockey players or university professors.” Then you haven’t understood a thing. The ‘balance’ is made by the market. Read Atlas Shrugged if you haven’t.
commented 2016-01-29 17:34:16 -0500
Yes, I understand the basics of business. More importantly, I understand that if you run a business that will collapse because the minimum wage rate goes up a whopping fifty cents per hour, then you are doing something horribly wrong.

There is a careful balance that needs to be made, so that in the end, prices are kept reasonable to the consumer and employers can maintain a business, all while employees are not treated as slaves. People that are working for min wage are not the enemy. If you want to go after somebody for earning too much, take your battle to professional hockey players or university professors.
commented 2016-01-29 15:49:02 -0500
I’ve been listening to Gormely in the morning, on CJME 980 online in Sask. Boy it really does sound like the only sane province left. My kids are still gainfully employed here in BC interior at the moment, but would encourage them to move to Sask. if they were having trouble.

To say that we don’t care isn’t true. The best social program is a job. Over reach from gov. /union demands on business, loses jobs for people. Look at what happened in London with Caterpillar for example.
commented 2016-01-29 14:26:41 -0500
SAM YOUNG commented 10 hours ago
It is amazing how so many of you come running to the aid of the billionaire oil company magnates, going so far as to throw your money at rebel oil pipeline commercials. But when it comes to people trying to make ends meet on minimum wage, you people just do not care.

Sam, you are one arrogant prick, you can see the problems caused to an economy when the high paying jobs leave an area. The ancillary job losses hurt the employees who work for the supporting companies more. The skilled workers are mobile, while often the entry level ones are not. Raising minimum wage is counter- productive at a time when customers are leaving. This creates a double edged sword, declining demand for services and an increase in input costs.
As a small business owner who walks the talk, in good times the owners do well and in bad times not so well. The employees do not feel this pinch at any time. Hence no layoffs and no reduction in hours, just ulcers for the people with skin in the game. Unless you are willing to spend your capital on a small support business for these so-called billionaire oil company magnates, SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.
commented 2016-01-29 14:12:52 -0500
i just lost my job a couple of days ago. suicide is starting to sound like a viable option.
commented 2016-01-29 12:51:32 -0500
Sam, what D Mary and Greg Ficek said.

Its not that we don’t care, we’re realists. Look at it this way, if businesses flourish unhampered by excessive gov. interference , there is more safety net money for those who really need it. However, if a person can work, the rest is up to him. A little personal responsibility goes a long way.
commented 2016-01-29 12:02:44 -0500
Sam, I raised several points about businesses and minimum wage, and you addressed none of them. It is also quite apparent you have never taken the risk and started/owned a business, or you would understand the basics of it all.
commented 2016-01-29 11:35:05 -0500
Sam Young was quoted as saying…
“Any employer that has any employees that are earning minimum wage are exploitative.”
I know you mean well Sam but I don’t think you understand business or markets. The only thing that can set minimum wage is the economy itself.
Government involvement in any layers of business is a recipe for disaster overtime.
commented 2016-01-29 10:47:50 -0500
The Liberal government will never again allow Alberta and the rest of Western Canada to become economically and politically powerful again. It is not in their interests. Alberta is down and will be kept down.
commented 2016-01-29 09:53:45 -0500
Sorry, Albertans, but you made the choice for this government at the polls last year! People in Ontario are in a similar boat, and there is absolutely nothing it seems that we can do about it but b*tch and complain.
commented 2016-01-29 04:09:36 -0500
For the record, I did go out of my way to get an education and work experience, so I could get a better paying job.

But this does not change the fact that there are asshole employers out there that abuse of their staff. When you speak about looking for a different job to deal with a bad employer, this does nothing to stop a bad employer from being abusive. It should not have to come down to employees having to leave their job as a means of dealing with a bad employer. An employer should not be abusive in the first place.

Any employer that has any employees that are earning minimum wage are exploitative.

It is amazing how so many of you come running to the aid of the billionaire oil company magnates, going so far as to throw your money at rebel oil pipeline commercials. But when it comes to people trying to make ends meet on minimum wage, you people just do not care.
commented 2016-01-29 03:28:48 -0500
If your boss is a prick you don’t have to put up with it, same as you don’t have to put up with a low wage. Business owners go into business to make money, why else would anyone do it? If they can’t find employees, maybe they need to pay better or treat better, or their business will flounder.
commented 2016-01-29 03:20:34 -0500
The government should never dictate wage increases. If you are not making enough money you need a better job. What you have to do to make that happen is your business. In a truly free market system, climbing the wage ladder is actually possible, but its your responsibility. Dictate wages and companies become more automated, lay people off, or don’t bother to grow or hire more employees. Also if we don’t have low wage and some part time jobs for kids to enter into the workforce, how do they get any work experience. You can’t successfully dictate that stuff. The market dictates that stuff. It is a completely foreign concept to a union princess like Notely, and messing with that ‘natural order’ of things, is always counter productive.

To say," God forbid the government raise the minimum wage. People that work these jobs need to eat and put a roof over their heads too." is pure emoting, with no logic. The antithesis of conservatism.
commented 2016-01-29 03:19:51 -0500
There is such a thing as employers abusing their employees. Labor laws exist, so that people doing basic jobs are not treated as slaves, and at the end of the day, actually have something to show for in their pay.

In the past, I have worked bad jobs and have had bad employers. Maybe this is why I am never a complete prick to people that work for minimum wage.

And for the record, I even worked for a company owned by Gary Doer’s wife, and they treated the employees like shit. And yes, THAT Gary Doer. The former premier of Manitoba, and also the former head of the union. And no, Doer’s wife’s company did not have a union in it. Looking back, we could have used a union there that had no affiliation with Doer.
commented 2016-01-29 01:58:18 -0500
Sam Young. Who pays for the minimum wage increase? The business owner. And with his margins already hit, new taxes increasing the cost of goods delivery, his cost of business rising, but jobs being lost, people spending less, where will this magical money come from? Please don’t say minimum wage earners spending their new found wealth because all it does for them is push them into the next tax bracket where the lose that money, lose access to programs, affordable housing assistance, etc. So where on the money tree will this money come from?
commented 2016-01-29 01:24:18 -0500
Minimum-wage hmmmmm….. here’s a thought…
Why would anyone shovel concrete for 16 bucks an hour when they could all stand in line for the job packing groceries for the same money and way less hard work..
Proven time and time and time again minimum-wage does not do any economy any good in the long term… Different wages are paid for different jobs. The workforce is like the marketplace or the stock market and if not interfered with it will settle itself out with what that will work for everybody.. The economies good or bad must be the ones to set the minimum wage.