Imagine yourself a life. The city you live in, dominated by massive tanks with the company’s name slathered on them, suffers an disproportionate number of respiratory problems and cancers. But you’ll never know – every single newspaper in the city, indeed in the whole place, is owned by the company. Your work options are scarce. You could work in timber or paper-making for the company. You could work in the oil industry for the company. The government’s new initiative is call centers; you could always listen to cakers, day in and day out, as they bitch and moan about God-knows-what. The ultimate dream is a terrible administrative job with the government, desperately trying to make sense of byzantine regulation and severe understaffing.
Got a good mental image going? Good, ’cause I’m going to pencil it in for you. Welcome to New Brunswick, a polluted hellhole clinging to life by accepting Ottawa’s sloppy seconds and licking the boots of some of the most loathsome, terrible caker businesspeople that cakers have to offer. New Brunswick is practically owned by the Irving family, a collection of lizard-people who own or dabble in basically every economic activity in New Brunswick. Their combined net worth is equivalent to the entire province’s revenue in 2014. Yeah, this is going to get ugly.
The Irvings are notorious for their hyper-aggressive oligarchic hold over the province of New Brunswick. Sound a bit like post-Soviet Russia? You’d not be the only one thinking that – people live in fucking fear of the choking control that the Irvings have over their lives. Here’s a story of the Irvings collaborating with both the provincial and federal government to bury a story about glyphosates (a common herbicide used in forestry) and their connection to declines in deer stock. The degenerate caker mafiosos are aided in their Chechnyesque stylings by the fact that they are the key players in what a 2006 Senate report called an “industrial-media complex“.
Oh, and they like to use dodgy shell companies in Bermuda to avoid paying Canadian taxes. Because nothing says that a company is committed to and cares about the areas it exploits quite like them running away from fiscal responsibilities. That’s kind of shitty given that New Brunswick is wildly in debt and doesn’t seem likely to fix it anytime soon. Oh, and another small sign that the Irvings may not give a shit about the people of New Brunswick: the places that they’ve industrialized, like their massive operation at Saint John, are at greater risk of cancer than other New Brunswickers. Meanwhile, the Irvings keep growing and stowing their wealth, running their little Dagestan as it putters and shits like a Lada rolling to a junkyard. You know what’s even better? The Irvings aren’t even the only shitty oligarchic family operation in the province!
So the Irvings are massive wankers. And what they and the province have wrought is impossible misery. Between the ages of 15 and 24, there are only 36,900 workers, giving the province an incredible 17.1 percent youth unemployment rate. The general unemployment rate – the stated one, mind, with all its flaws and failures – hovers around 10%. Nearly one in seven was living in poverty in 2006. An astonishing 53% of adults in the province are functionally illiterate, meaning that they street signs are about as complex as it gets. This may have something to do with the government’s make-work programs there being critically understaffed. There’s something ironic here, given that New Brunswick is unusually bilingual, but I just can’t find it in me to kick down people who can’t fathom that there’s more to the written canon of man than words written on street signs.
Oh wait, yes I can. New Brunswick is basically Canada’s end-game. It’s a province almost singularly devoted to extraction for the benefit of a tiny minority of people while the majority suffer pollution, fear, poverty, and idiocy. It’s a dismal, miserable, appallingly-poor province in a country that seems more and more full of these sorts of bush-league failures the more we comb through province by province through the abomination that is the Canadian federal family.