Response to “Commercial traffic on ferry” story in August 22 Sounder

Tuesday, August 29 2017

I read your article on commercial ferry traffic increases with some interest.

Where the articles loses the thread for me is when it wanders into the weeds quoting a “survey” by the vaunted Gabriola Chamber of Commerce, that is disparaging to the work ethic of the working tradesmen of this island, and by extension the population.

Since you say the survey was not well responded to by the construction companies, I wonder how many actually did respond. It seems that almost half of those that did respond dissed the locals as the reason they were unable to grow their business. Which is exactly what construction companies with bad managerial skills and/or poor wages always use as an excuse to underperform. My experience with local carpenters in particular is that there are many young and older qualified Gabriola workers who will show up and work for their measly pay checks with the same dedication, skill and on time attitude as any Nanaimo, Vancouver, or any Stateside carpenter. They have to contend with making 10 dollars an hour less than their Nanaimo brethren for no other reason than they have been tarred and feathered with the same brush as some nameless, faceless poor schmuck that fell into disgrace with some overbooked contractor. And therefore the customer. And then the whole society here. If these companies want to service the island they would be well advised to canvas the neighbourhood for workers just like any other company does, provide some training like any smart company does, and maybe pay fairly. But most importantly, treat their workers with respect. Nine times out of ten, workers who don’t show up to work on time or at all, are acting out because their working conditions are terrible. The idea that somehow there is some kind of creeping malaise particular to Gabriola’s workforce is repugnant and untrue. I think it’s time we respected the working men and women of this island, and hard working folks everywhere. Let’s put the caste system rhetoric to rest.

~ Erik Johnson