Following the creation of the Alberta Jobs Taskforce by the federal Conservative Caucus in early October, a series of round table discussions have been held throughout the province by local Members of Parliament.
The round table discussions aim to collect information and insight from Albertans who have been affected by the current jobs crisis.
“Unemployment in Alberta is quickly becoming a crisis situation,” states Taskforce organizers on their website. “Since the beginning of 2015, the unemployment rate has risen from 4.8 percent to 8.4 percent and more than 200,000 Albertans are out of work. As Albertans, we believe that it is only fair that the Federal Government present decisive action and solutions in our time of need. Yet so far, this Liberal government has failed to put forward a jobs plan that recognizes the crisis in Alberta.”
Sylvan Lake resident and founder of Oilfield Dads, Chad Miller, was invited to an Alberta Jobs Taskforce round table discussion recently held in Red Deer hosted by Conservative MP’s Blaine Calkins and Earl Dreeshan.
Miller, who founded Oilfield Dads as a means of supporting others living in similar situations, has since seen the Facebook page grow from a casual following of a few hundred to a carefully curated community and culture of thousands in a little over a year.
Oilfield Dads has blossomed from a way for individuals facing challenges in the Alberta oilfield to share their experiences to an online hub of information and resources available to industry workers who are seeking work and support. Miller now hosts regular online workshops to support his group with topics such as resume building becoming a big hit as well as mental health links touching on subjects such as suicide.
The Facebook page, www.facebook.com/oilfielddads, is now complimented by a website – www.oilfielddads.com in which users are able to become a paid subscription member and gain access to valuable tools such as resume posting and job postings that are industry specific.
Miller said he was surprised to have been invited to the round table discussions but felt he had valuable observations to offer during the meeting. He explained that during the meeting those in attendance were asked to provide insight on Alberta’s economy and what they thought went wrong.
“They asked questions like ‘What went wrong?’ and ‘How did we get to where we are today?’” explained Miller.
Other discussion topics included the impact of the Alberta job crisis and what individuals experiences had been like. Solutions to getting Albertans back to work were deliberated along with what the federal government could do in both the short and long term to support residents of the province who are facing job loss. Organizers also asked attendees of the round table discussion what will be needed or not needed in order to ensure economic prosperity in the future.
Following the discussion Miller had a chance to share his experience over the past year, including tough decisions he has had to make over the last year such as selling his work truck to ensure his wife’s vehicle was operational.
“I’m hurting just like so many other Albertans but I’ve put myself out there in order to hopefully help in any way I can,” said Miller. “This fall I had to let my truck go. It was a decision I had to make in order to keep that extra $1,600 in my family’s pocket a month. Trucks can be bought again down the road, but if you’re not working at the moment as much as you used to be or at the wage you were making before, your bills won’t go down unless you change your lifestyle structure.
“I put that out there to people online to show we’re all facing the same hardships. Every day is a new day and every day is a step forward.”
Miller explained there was a strong emphasis on continuing the conversation after the meeting with organizers encouraging an ongoing dialogue. Following the round table discussions Miller proceeded to host an online workshop asking his following to answer the same questions presented during the round table and will be submitting the answers he received back to organizers.
Recently he has been working closely with Bernard Hancock, an Albertan roughneck who spoke before Parliament in early October, as a means to draw attention to the jobs crisis Alberta is facing. Although Hancock and Miller are both advocates for the industry, they differ in that Miller represents a large populace with families to support where as Hancock is a young single male. Miller added he hopes to stay in tune with happenings in provincial politics adding that although he never saw himself as a political person before he is finding himself in this arena more often than he could have imagined.
“We can’t do anything about our provincial government now, they have a mandate to fill,” said Miller. “Yes we can voice our concerns and be heard now, but ultimately we need to prepare for 2019.”
See episode 27 of Oilfield Dads on Youtube below, in which Chad Miller talks about letting go:
ICYMI: See Bernard Hancock live on CBC discussing pro-oil petition: