Letters, Jan. 20: Prospective job applicants can't get past algorithms

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As a counselling therapist, I increasingly see people make hundreds of applications for relatively low-skilled jobs online and constantly get “Not a strong match” responses. This is despite having training and experience, and having paid to get their resume checked and improved by a specialist.

A client with cabinetmaking and upholstery experience cannot get through to anyone for job postings at Home Depot or Goodwill, despite ads being constantly placed by these companies. He went to submit his resume in person several times but companies insist it be done online.

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What seems to be the problem is the Applicant Tracking System, an algorithm-based filter that looks for some mysterious combination of words. The result is that this person, who had their rent increased by 100 per cent for a one-bedroom apartment over the past two years (now close to $2,000 per month) will have to move back to their province of origin. This middle-aged, single person already has a job paying more than $25 per hour and is only looking for another job to make ends meet.

This situation is driving away workers with strong ethics and skills. It is hurting businesses that are desperate for workers.

While many are against rent caps, the status quo is unsustainable. At the very least, companies should be required to accept in-person applications.

Emma Sauriol, Calgary

Hypocrisy at city hall

Congratulations to Calgary city council on their upcoming pay increase. Whatever happened to the “servant” part of public servant?

These public servants have an above-average income and perks as it is. We recently heard the spiel about the necessity to place a larger tax burden on homeowners and the need to increase our property taxes because things were so tight, but there’s still enough in the coffers to pay for a raise for our mayor and council.

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The beleaguered taxpayers have just about reached our limit.

Service? Only to themselves.

Susan Terborg, Calgary

Chill out about the cold

OK people, let’s get a grip on temperatures. I am of the age when Fahrenheit was king. Skating was done on outdoor rinks where the rule was no skating if the temperature was below -10 F (-23 C).

Until that temperature was reached, people skated while music played, ducked behind the boards for a stolen kiss, played hockey or had figure skating lessons, all with appropriate clothing.

After spending an hour outside when it was -39 C — feeding the horses, shovelling paths and decks — I was almost at the place where I thought I would need to take off my warm coat because I was so hot.

I believe that it is simply the number that makes it sound colder outside than it is. Frankly, -10 F sounds a lot warmer than -23 C, and -22 F sounds a lot warmer than -30 C.

So, let’s all feel warmer and revert to the Fahrenheit thermometer. 

Jan Chant, Calgary

Premier can focus on fixes rather than fights

Still wondering if there is anything more to Premier Danielle Smith than complaining about Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government?

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While we tune out her incessant complaining, maybe she should address some of the highest housing, renting and home heating prices in Canada, as well as the embarrassing orphan well stigma, neglected oil leaks into wetlands, failure to regulate refineries, ongoing moratorium on renewable resource development, failed drought management plan, etc.

There is more to being premier than baiting the federal government. Wouldn’t it be a revelation to see some collaboration in Canada instead of following the lead of the conservative clown in the south?

Ian Wishart, Calgary

There’s serious yet avoidable injustice in so many Canadians having to choose between which necessities of life they can afford.

Not surprisingly, there’s a proliferation of overreliance on food banks. Unmet food needs are exacerbated by unrelenting food-price inflation, all while giant-grocer corporate profits and payouts to corporate officers correspondingly inflate.

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre criticizes the Liberals for the unaffordability of housing and food, both of which are largely due to real-estate speculation or greed-flation. But Poilievre’s Tories are no better than Trudeau’s Liberals — being in bed with Big Business and their lobbyists.

Mix in promised Conservative austerity measures with the unaffordability crisis, and you get a breeding ground for worsened economic conditions, thus human suffering. What will Poilievre do about the fact that the more giant-grocer corporations and corporate officers make, the more they want next quarter?

It’s never enough.

Frank Sterle Jr. , White Rock, B.C.

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Notley built a legacy in Alberta

I thank Rachel Notley for always taking the high road, being succinct, articulate, true to her word, ethically astute and knowing right from wrong.

One day, the naysayers will look back and remark, “We had a good thing in Rachel.”

She is a strong person with exemplary values, and gave Alberta a fortified opposition in the Alberta legislature. She achieved much, and her common sense and logic will be missed, while her determination to take care of all Albertans is unprecedented.

Liz Gibbs, Calgary

Albertans paying for Notley’s reign

Long after Rachel Notley is gone from the leadership of the Alberta NDP, we are left with her punishing legacy of debt for all Albertans. She took Alberta’s debt from $11 billion to $86 billion. Our grandchildren will be paying off the debt for the rest of their lives.

I believe Alberta will be like Ontario. They voted NDP into power once and then never voted for them as the ruling government again.

Chris Robertson, Stony Plain

Commentators serve only themselves

Our premier comes to Calgary to pay obeisance to Tucker Carlson, the American right-wing commentator fired from Fox. In Edmonton, Carlson will share the stage with Rex Murphy and Conrad Black.

In the National Post on May 18, 2021, Black said ”anyone who has been alive for the last 50 years can see that the climate is not changing very quickly.” Talk about just crawling out from under a rock.

Murphy, who hosted CBC’s Cross Country Checkup for years, has clearly seen that climate denial is more profitable to his bottom line. He has had paid speaking engagements to peddle his climate views with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Enbridge, Trans Canada and Suncor.

Bruce Cameron, Edmonton

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