Q & A
The public commentary over a recent news item concerning a single mother cut off employment insurance because she doesn’t own a car says a bit too much about the society so many of us want to save from itself, doesn’t it?
Full disclosure: I was married to an employment insurance fraud investigator. He was part of a team that oversaw the denial of benefits if you quit your job. The same team attempted to track fraud through customs, to catch people collecting benefits while on vacation or working outside of the country.
The Privacy Commissioner at the time, Bruce Phillips, kiboshed the customs check, which I thought was odd since there was a very real issue of Canadians collecting benefits while vacationing or working in, for instance, la Floride.
Although, by far and away the bulk of the fraud takes place within communities where recent arrivals are taken advantage of by their more established sisters and brothers.
I was at a Koodo booth in a mall recently when a potential customer was asked for his social insurance number by his working sisters and brothers on the other side of the counter. I reminded the employees that social insurance numbers are not for businesses to inquire after, but they assured me, “Oh no, we ask for them all the time. People don’t have to give them, but we can ask for them”.
Really, telecommunications monopolies? Is this your idea of training? Instruction in semantics?
Employment insurance is and should be conditional on availability to work. It’s to tide you over until you find your next paying gig. And it’s a good, civilized, socially beneficial program, and because we pay into it when we work, we should be entitled to collect benefits from it when we don’t.
And if we get cancer and have to have chemotherapy we should be supported until we decide we feel well enough to either return to our former place of employment or find a new job. Why is one of the richest countries in the world treating itself so poorly?
But that’s just me.
I didn’t think it was a good idea to deny benefits to people who quit. That sort of rule play just puts us in the position of denying each other justice so that politicians can lay claim to saving us all money.
Denying Peter to not pay Paul so your government can further subsidize a tar sands developer doesn’t save Peter or Paul any money, Conservatives. Please pay attention and do the math that Kevin Page does in his capacity as our Parliamentary Budget Officer, not the math that Tony Clement twitters.
The Chretien government, Paul Martin, etc etc etc, did not save us money. Liberal politicians transferred to general revenue an employment insurance fund into which Canadians had paid for decades, and the Supreme Court allowed them to do it for reasons I can’t quite grasp, but whatever.
Sometimes the Supreme Court disappoints us in its rulings because its rulings are stupid and don’t make any sense and let politicians get away with misappropriating funds.
Conservative politicians then came along, and, as we all know and some of us shook our heads at, lowered the general sales tax, and blew all our general revenue on advertising for make work projects (does anybody know anybody who actually got a piece of that action?), peace and security summits and wars.
Q. Were you fired? Or did you quit.
A. I voted NDP.
Q. Did Stephen Harper blow all that money deliberately? Accidentally?
A. The Conservative Party of Canada committed electoral fraud.
Q. Defence spending?
A. Poppy perfume.
Yes, I would prefer we elect a government that cares about providing public services with our taxes, and leaves business to business. To me, the last thing we should want is our fellow citizens on our collective payroll working to meet arbitrary quotas introduced by deputy ministers, i.e. hacks appointed by politicians, the current crop of which is playing politics with people’s lives, so that they can lay claim to “reducing the deficit”.
Now, the woman in question regarding this employment insurance issue is a single mother who lives in a small place in the Maritimes. She quit a 60-hour a week job because it was too stressful.
Why are some people working a 60-hour week while other people are unemployed?
I don’t know, but it strikes me as a false sense of economy to think it’s worthwhile to have some citizens working to death while other citizens can’t make any money because they can’t find a job.
See, this is the sort of situation that I think government should tackle. A society is only as prosperous as its poorest members, after all. There’s no overall good (i.e. point, because that is the point of government, right? more good for less bad?) in some people working 60-hour weeks while others can’t find jobs.
Now, I understand that some communities do not have enough going on that they’ll ever be booming with employment opportunities for young people. I’m from Sault Ste. Marie, after all. But their decline strikes me as inevitable, and the attendant loss of investment as hard to swallow for their citizens, if the answer to unemployment by the government of the day is “move” and/or “buy a car”.
Nevertheless, that’s this government’s answer and, fair enough. This government is not so much a government as it is a bunch of people who ran for public office so they could loot the federal treasury and call other people names.
What I can’t understand is why Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat feel compelled to take the side of politicians, this particular bunch of people, who have done nothing in the way of either saving us money (and what are we saving money FOR, anyway?) OR improving public services, against their co-citizens who are making what sound to me like reasoned arguments in favour of living decent lives.
Why aren’t Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat outraged that a single mother was being asked to work a 60-hour week in Canada in 2013?
Why aren’t Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat outraged that our government depleted the treasury?
Why aren’t Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat outraged that our government is telling us to buy cars and drive to work when the world we all inhabit is experiencing a crisis brought on by climate change due to our greenhouse gas emissions?
Why aren’t Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat outraged that our government is denying Canadian citizens employment insurance benefits from a fund we pay into during a recession precipitated by financial fraud perpetrated by the very sorts of people who support this government?
Why aren’t Joe Sixpack and Sally Housecoat outraged about their government engineering a scheme called the Temporary Foreign Workers program to deny Canadian citizens employment so that their buddies in certain businesses could profit all the more by using cheap labour to dig up OUR country and sell it off to a cabal of corrupt and murderous autocrats in China?!
Really, I’m not sure why every day isn’t a flat out media assault on this government, but I guess I did vote NDP in the last election, so I would say that, wouldn’t I.
I hate to ask how our single mother cut off employment insurance voted.
Or has the Conservative Party just programmed CIMS to target non-supporters post election day, too.