Canada’s National Unemployment Clock increases by one person every 35 seconds.

At lunchtime yesterday, mounted on a black van parked at Burrard and Robson streets, it ticked past 1,638,000.

“Wherever we go, the truck is a magnet for conversation,” said spokesman Thomas Stringham. “People come up and say, ‘Wow, is that the real number of unemployed people?’”

The campaign is funded through the Telecommunications Workers Union, whose 14,500 members work for Telus and Shaw Cablesystems.

Stringham said the union is concerned about a number of call-centre jobs being sent to the Philippines.

The campaign launched on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 6 and has travelled across Canada, raising awareness about jobs heading offshore.

“I don’t think anyone is remotely in support of valuable, profitable jobs leaving the country,” Stringham said.

The Keep Jobs In Canada campaign hopes to collect 10,000 signatures for a petition that will be presented to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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