May 16, 2018 8:27 pm
Updated: May 16, 2018 8:36 pm

Calgary man moves family to Dubai for oil and gas job after 3 years of unemployment

WATCH: Wednesday, energy workers rallied in the streets to fight for Alberta jobs. While the pipeline politics continue surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, many Alberta families are making some tough choices. Some are now looking abroad for work. Bindu Suri has a reality check some are facing.

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After being without work for the past three years, a Calgary man is moving his family to the United Arab Emirates after accepting a job there.

Roseanne Cooper is packing as she prepares to take her kids to Dubai, where they’ll join her husband after his successful 25-year career in Calgary came to an end.

There’s a garage full of memories packed up and ready to move. It represents a big step, or rather a leap of faith.

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“We thought we were safe. We thought we’d have work in some form or fashion, that this would work out,” Cooper says.

“This was our awakening to say, ‘Nothing is secure, nothing is permanent and make the best of what comes your way.'”

Tony Cadrin says the chance to move overseas “was sort of like a lifeline thrown out.”

“That means I’m uprooting everything,” he says.

In Calgary, Cadrin found work with small consulting jobs, but it was only enough to cover the bills.

“There wasn’t anything extra over that three-year time. [We] just trimmed out everything that we didn’t absolutely have to have.”

READ MORE: Higher oil prices helping to lower Calgary unemployment rate: chamber of commerce

Cadrin fears the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project’s delay only further pushes away career opportunities.

“Those projects are down the road, four to five years. A lot of my generation, mid- to late-50s, none of that is going to come on in time.”

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi says he is confident many other Calgarians will opt for a lifestyle or job change without leaving the city.

Nenshi says many people have chosen to stay.

“We actually didn’t see very much of that in this economic downturn, far less than we normally would have,” Nenshi says. “When we look at previous downturns, even as recently as ’08, ’09, people actually left Calgary, net. We have only seen a teensy bit of net out-migration this time around, in fact we saw population growth every year through this decline.”

Cooper’s family says they tried to stay but now they’re looking forward to a new opportunity and adventure.

“This is a great opportunity for us to go experience another culture,” Cooper says. “For our kids to see the world, meet lots of different people. this is a special time in our lives.”

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