To the editor:
I’m impressed that the federal government has relented and dialed back changes to the EI program having to do with part-time work calculations.
But in my opinion, the government has not gone far enough.
I think it also needs to dial back the examination of a worker’s claim history.
There are two problems with that examination. First, why should claim history affect the benefits of workers when the workers have no control over the labour market and the availability of jobs?
Second, research shows that the vast majority of unemployed workers are actively seeking work, do accept job offers, and often accept much lower wages than previously earned.
So, why do we have this punishing rule change about claim history and lower wages?
One rather conservative local newspaper once answered that question by saying the new Canada desires a permanent underclass to provide an endless supply of cheap labour for the corporate elite.
It seems like a reasonable answer to me.
I also think the government needs to repay the $55 billion it raided from the EI fund.
When you understand that $15 billion is what’s wanted in the fund for the rainy days of a recession, you begin to understand what a whopping amount $55 billion was.
If the fund were repaid, we would have plenty to loosen eligibility requirements for claimants and to extend the duration of claims.
Some of the money could also be used for some much needed job creation.
In addition, if the government rolled back even part of the $52 billion per year in corporate tax cuts it authorized across the years and funded job creation, Canadian workers and their families might get out of the hole the financiers dug for them back in 2008.
Lastly, there are the changes to the temporary foreign worker program and the labour market thinking that the government needs to reverse.
At a time when there are six to 10 unemployed workers for every job vacancy in this country, what is the government thinking to allow employers to pay TFWs up to 15 per cent less than Canadian workers?
What was the government thinking when in expanding the range of occupations for which employers do not have to hire and/or train Canadians before turning to lower paid foreign workers?
Oh, I know. The new Canada desires a permanent underclass to provide an endless supply of cheap labour for the corporate elite.