Alberta: we love you!
Our hearts go out to the people who have endured the wildfires of Fort McMurray. There’s a Red Cross appeal here, which is dedicated to the region, and the Canadian government will match every dollar you donate. If you’re in Alberta or elsewhere in Canada, Buzzfeed has some more direct forms of assistance, and Huffington Post has still more. It’s deeply moving to see some active communities organising accommodation for people who’ve had to flee their homes. There’s also a Facebook group facilitating the donation of useful stuff like clothes, toiletries, furniture and baby things. The SPCA can also use some help for those other Canadians: the ones who can’t talk for themselves.
We’re heartened by the news that some people may be returning to their homes as early as 1st June. And – as this goes to publication – the predicted rain will also help keep the fire in check. We hope that happens in bucket loads. We know there will be no quick remedy to this. But we still hope that life can return to some kind of normal for you guys.
Impacted communities grow stronger economies
We also know that some of you reading this are in the midst of organising jobs and visas in Canada, and will be more than a little concerned. The big obvious impact is that the fires have caused the temporary closure of about half the state’s extensive oil-sand operations, costing about $1b. But experts predict – in the long term – that the closure will amount to no more than 0.3% of Alberta’s GDP.
That might not sound so bad. But things will be very different for the thousands of everyday folks who have lost businesses and personal property. Currently the insurance bill is estimated at about $9 billion.
Our team mates down under have something to say on this. Christchurch was decimated by a harrowing series of earthquakes. Is the recovery easy? No. Is it happening? Yes. Is the city over and out? Not by a long shot. For one thing, the rebuilding effort there made a significant contribution to the national economy. This was enabled largely through migrant workers. Net migration has increased steadily since the 2010 and 2011 quakes.
Canadian economy flourishes in the east and west
Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, the economy is progressing apace. The Bank of Montreal recently declared that Toronto and Vancouver are driving all growth across the economy. This is unusual, and described by the bank as “extreme regional divergence.”
Toronto and Ontario state together saw employment grow by 1.4% in the last year, while Vancouver and British Columbia grew by a whopping 4.9%. That accounts for about 70% of all the new jobs in Canada, most of which are professions and services.
For the love of Trump
Lastly, for the anxious lonely hearts residing south of the border (that’s our southern border, by the way), we give you: Maplematch! It’s a dating website designed to find Canadian spouses for Americans fleeing “the unfathomable horror of a Trump presidency.” Luckily for the Trumpugees, 70% of the members are Canadian. What a generous bunch we are!