On Friday, Gerald Caplan reminded Globe and Mail readers of the deeply rooted hypocrisy at the core of the Harper government. -- hypocrisy which has been on display since newly elected David Emerson crossed the floor and entered the Harper cabinet:
A Postmedia News analysis reveals that 35 of the 141 Conservative candidates who lost at the polls received jobs in places such as the Prime Minister’s Office, Health Canada, ministers’ offices or on boards and agencies.” Mr. Harper (who as opposition leader couldn’t condemn patronage appointments fervently enough), explained through a spokesperson that “each one of the candidates identified … was qualified for their position and earned their job based on merit.” Who might have thought otherwise?
Of course, these appointments are being made as the Harperites are "reforming" EI. -- for which the majority of Canadians are ineligible:
Of course we need to be realistic here. There are, after all, only so many ambassadorships and Senate seats available for the jobless in Canada, who number at least 1.4 million souls. It’s true there’s something called Employment Insurance, but only 40 per cent of the jobless actually get EI – when they finally get it at all. Because the government slashed staff at Service Canada, workers have waited for months for their meagre benefits, especially over Christmas. And when it finally comes, this lucky minority gets a max of 55 per cent of their average earnings. That means over 850,000 of those who lose their jobs get exactly nothing.
As the failed candidates garner six figure salaries, Caplan points to a distinct trend:
This is the third time the Harper government has forced workers to work for less. Recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program has permitted employers to pay migrant workers up to 15 per cent less than regular workers. And in the process of ending last year’s labour dispute at Canada Post, the government took an extra kick at the workers by imposing a wage increase which was actually lower than the Crown corporation’s offer. For those who envy the cushy job of a postal worker, make sure you too demand the lush $48,000 that letter carriers, postal clerks and mail handlers all make.
You would think that this government couldn't live with the cognitive dissonance between its make work program for failed candidates and its obvious shafting of ordinary folks. But in Harperland, it's standard operating procedure. The prime directive is: austerity for thee, but not for me..