Sunday, March 24, 2013

Employment Insurance In The Maritimes

Ralph Surette has been around a long time. He has seen politicians come and go. And, for him, Stephen Harper cannot go fast enough:

Environmental and fishery laws, our international reputation, the integrity of Parliament, relations with the provinces, and more, have been junked; scientists have been gagged, information snuffed under a pall of non-transparency, and so forth. Virtually every week, for years now, there’s been a new outrage; they have become so routine that they’re hardly reported.

And, from the perspective of a Maritimer, Harper's "reform" of EI really means the destruction of the system:

As of now, by some calculations, only four out of 10 people who pay into the system can actually collect, thanks to its accumulated dysfunction. If so, the present changes, in my estimation, will drop that to 30 or even 20 per cent. Much has been said about having to take any job within an hour’s drive and the inspectors going around sniffing out fraud. More to the point is the closure of the regional EI offices and the demand that everything be done by computer, including being on standby as Ottawa emails twice a day on job openings “in your area.” Meanwhile, the conditions to be met (competency evaluations, attending job fairs, networking and others) are geared to big city conditions.

Canadians may have forgotten that

these changes, like everything else in the Harpersphere, were never debated. They were part of last year’s budget omnibus bill, a violation of democratic process in itself. The argument that EI is a support for seasonal industries, not unlike subsidies for the auto or oil industries, never entered the calculation.

Perhaps, Surette suggests, the prime minister believes he doesn't need the Maritimes -- just as he doesn't need Quebec -- to win the the next time around. Those regions are disposable. In fact, if he only needs 39% of the vote to win, that means the majority of Canadians are disposable.

Given those kinds of numbers, Surette writes:

The real point now, I suggest, is how much damage is yet to be done by this government before its number is finally up in a couple of years.


the salamander said...

Omni-Bot-U-Lism - A pervasive mutating bacteria thought to be closely related to rabies and clean water hydrophobia. Transmitted among ignorant incestuous political animals, via unsanitary ethics and illicit, dangerous behavior.

Symptoms are emulations of lemmings, frothing at the mouth, hidden evangelical superiority obsessions, anger expressed at nature and environment, omnipotence & delusions of grandeur.

Massive injections of reality and democracy, followed by isolation, ridicule and common sense may mediate complete breakdown and urges to drink bitumen froth or fracking fluids.

In severe cases, those infected by this self induced aberration may need to suffer banishment, for the good of the community.

Relocation to the north end of Baffin Island may help.. and all reports suggest that polar bears find experiments such as this quite tasty and useful, as the taste is deemed remarkably similar to trained seals with extremely high fat content in the head..

Owen Gray said...

Jonathan Swift would approve of your comment, salamander. And he would applaud its insight, as do I.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

It seems those urban people who seem to think that country folk should just abandon their place of residence and move to the urban centers where the jobs are. If they are so concerned about adequate year round employment in the more remote areas of the country, rather than denude the countryside of people they might consider policies that would force industries to relocate to smaller cities and towns across the country. They could begin by building an efficient fast rail network so that industries would have more options that locating along the main road corridors. Beyond that there could be tax incentives to locate in smaller communities. I would even support restricting industries locating in only a few urban areas.

Owen Gray said...

Investing in infrastructure makes people more productive, Philip. The cost of EI will go down -- if we make the kind of investments that increase productivity.

That means getting products and services to market faster and more cheaply.

Anonymous said...

Harper most certainly wants citizens off E.I. He wants them on Welfare. Welfare is a Provincial responsibility. This gives Harper all the more money, to stuff his coffers.However, E.I. will still be deducted off paychecks for Harper's benefit.

Harper's Omnibull-S-Bill, gives Red China permission to sue any Canadians, getting in China's way. China sued in BC, to take the BC mining jobs. 300 BC miners applied for the mining jobs Harper gave China.

Wonder if Harper will send his E.I. Police, to bang on the doors of those, 300 very pissed off BC miners?

Owen Gray said...

It's all about lowering wages, Anon. Lower wages mean bigger profits for companies.