Jobs Lost

What happened to jobs in the past four years?

While the 10 members of the Farbridge coalition brag about all the new jobs their policies are creating, take a deep breath and examine the facts.

Yes there were jobs created in the city in the past four years. Almost all of them were either in the city administration or at the University. You the taxpayer subsidize these juicy jobs with lots of perks including free parking.

In the last four months, council has announced the following: Canadian Solar, 500 new jobs and the Hanlon Business park, 370 new jobs. Almost all of these jobs will not come on stream for at least two to three years.

The question to ask is why hasn’t council acted to create jobs in the first three years of its mandate? Even when the city’s own consultant stated Guelph was not a friendly place for business, this council blinded by its own invincibility, ignored the advice.

We have a council that is hell-bent on creating monuments to establish the light of their brilliance in spending money on ill-conceived projects including the $16 million civic museum, the $47 million compost plant in which operating costs will be more than triple current garbage disposal costs. Incumbent councillor Maggie Laidlaw, PhD, says her top priority when re-elected is to build the proposed $55 million downtown Library.

Apparently they haven’t learned a thing.

The mindset of this council, with two exceptions, is to run the city’s finances like an open-pit mine where there is no end of material (money).

Now let’s talk about the jobs that have been lost. There were 100’s of layoffs in the city’s manufacturing plants as a result of the recession that started in November 2008. The unemployment rate in Guelph soared above the national average.

It was not as if there weren’t signs of a severe economic downturn. City tax revenues dropped while council approved large property tax increases. Yet this council seemed to ignore the implications of the city’s job crisis.

The thought that keeps me awake at night is facing four more years of this bunch in charge.

Vote for change October 25.
Gerry Barker is a retired newsman and Guelph resident. Reach him at


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