Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lazy Q

Once again the mass media strikes with a lousy interpretation of statistics. This one is just too cute.

In today's paper I am chagrined to find out that Québec workers, apparently, work the least amount of hours of all the labour force in Canada. The numbers quoted by Statistics Canada demonstrate that we work roughly 2 hours a week, on the overall average, less than other Canadian provinces.

Being statistics, of course, they are subject to vast interpretation. With such a statement in boldface letters on the cover, the obvious qualifier of laziness comes to mind. In order to defend my own parish I am forced to wonder which question was asked in order to conjure up such damning numbers.

The newspaper article alludes to the fact that maybe they are talking about remunerated hours only and gives as sole example taking care of children to explain the rest of the time.

I submit other hypothesis, the first being income tax. Québec has the highest income tax rate probably of the free world. After a certain bracket, typically attained with overtime mind you, we are talking 50% taxation. Yes, that is half of your income gone into government coffers. So it stands to reason that after a certain threshold why would anyone be stupid enough to work for a half day's wage. Other than yours truly of course.

A second guess would be, depending on the question that was asked, that work hours might be present but not paid for, in effect a 40 hour week becomes 32.5 when an hour for lunch and a half hour for breaks are factored in. It’s obviously the same question all over Canada, but is it interpreted the same way?

On the other hand, maybe Québecers actually have it straight; since Québecers do not typically complain of overly long work weeks may be they have actually attained a more appropriate balance between their work life and their leisure time.

By the way, I reject wholesale the asinine conclusion in the papers that Québecers take more, or better, care of their children with those two hours than anywhere else. This is not only self-serving but is, in fact, downright insulting to other Canadians.

Or maybe, we are just a bunch of lazy louts… for 2 hours a week.


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