Column was "unintelligible and insulting", says reader
Column was ďunintelligible and insultingĒ, says reader
I know that this is way longer than the recommended letter to the editor, but I found the guest column so scary, this is exactly the route Greece took 40 years ago, and look at them now. So, I had to make a detailed response. I realize that people who agree with me wonít change their minds, and that people who donít agree with me wonít change theirs.
In response to the Guest editorial (June 19) I find the whole column unintelligible and insulting. Statements like ďunder our current ideologically driven federal governmentĒ are oxymoronís, all governments are ideologically driven, I just happen to like the Conservative ideology better than the NDPís. Obviously the writer prefers the kind of government that leads to Greeceís problems. To say the idea of the safety net is being eroded, by abstract economic theories and social conservative values, is just plain wrong. It is not an abstract idea that hardworking people should not have to pay for people who regularly take advantage of EI. Iím not talking about people who are out of work through no fault of their own, as the situation doesnít change for them. It is not socially conservative, it is fiscally conservative. The new rule doesnít punish the innocent and vulnerable, it just takes us a tiny bit closer to the true intent of ďInsuranceĒ. If your house burns down 12 times through no fault of your own, your insurance is changed. If you lose your job 12 times in 12 years, then maybe you should be proactive. To say that the new rules donít address the realities of why people work in the first place is silly, most people work to earn enough money to live, that is the reality. If you canít make enough money to live, then you need to move. The comment that the rule forces people to move across Canada is hardly accurate, an hourís drive is hardly across Canada. The comment ďWhy do people in charge think they have a right Ö. to say what happens to usĒ is just plain childish, we vote them in as a part of democracy. Did the writer complain when they first decided to bring in EI, did he/she complain when they raised EI rates so that those of us who never use it, pay more for those who use it every year. All of this is what happens to us, itís the governments job.
I used to work seasonally, for 12 years, and only once did I collect EI. I felt it was choice I had made to work seasonally, and nobody else should pay for my time off. When 1986 came along, and there were no more jobs, I collected EI for 3 months until I found work. I grew up in rural Alberta, where there were only low paying jobs, or jobs in the oil patch that required travel. The population of rural Alberta has plummeted because for the most part, we feel we should pay our own way. That is the way it is, I could still be living in my small town, of course I would have to collect welfare as there are no jobs that arenít at least 25 minutes away. Forcing people to commute up to an hour for a job just reflects the reality of modern Canada.
I also found it incredibly insulting that the writer feels that hard work is an anomaly in becoming successful. I work a minimum 50 hour week, and have worked 400 hour months, I feel I am successful. Most of the successful people I know planned to become successful, they didnít need birth or connections. When I worked seasonally, I could see no future for me in the seasonal job, I liked it, and had advanced, but everyone I worked with was divorced. So I then continued working seasonally while going to university. I chose a career that paid well, and I worked hard. If you donít plan, you donít succeed. When I was laid off during the great recession, and there were no jobs in my own field, I started my own business. Iím the only employee, and I have to work hard, but it was that or go on EI, and whine about others success. To say that the EI program gives us hope, and is all that keeps us from being feudal serfs , slaves laboring away is such a silly statement, I donít know how to respond. You canít quit your job and get EI, so how does it stop you from laboring away? What does ďwithout that hope all other rules mean nothingĒ mean. Does it mean that we need to repeal all the laws, and let people be raped in the streets if we change EI? If you donít like your job, look for another, people who like their jobs often have to move to find one that suits them, or accept lesser pay for a job you enjoy more, Iíve done both. But isnít happiness what we all want. As you said, there has to be more to work, than just being able to consume. I find that most people who people who are unhappy with their jobs, are unhappy, because they have no control. I find often this is the case with people who work for a union, in an indoor job. Working hard, doesnít lead to promotion or pay raises, only seniority does. Watching people slack off when you work hard, and see them suffer no consequence is one of the biggest causes of frustration I know of. Which sort of brings us back to people who would rather sit and collect EI, than drive a half hour for a job. Again, Iím not talking about people who have lost their jobs unexpectedly, this is exactly what EI is for, what it was never intended to be, was a way to allow people to work only 10-40 weeks a year, every year. I knew people who earned over $100,000 in 6 months, and collected EI for the remaining 6 months, and then complained when they had to pay part of it back. I tried to explain that EI was to tide you over in an emergency, and that if you made $100,000 when you got hired back, the emergency was over, so you should pay some back. He wanted to know why he didnít just receive less in the first place, so he wouldnít have to pay some back. I explained again that the government assumed, that this was an unplanned emergency, and that he needed all the money he could get to tide him over until he found a job. But once he found a high paying job, he could afford to pay part of it back. He didnít understand me, and it was like we were talking a different language. I suspect there will always be a language barrier between those of us who see Employment Insurance as insurance, as it was originally intended, and those he see it as way to shape the culture, so that people can continue to live in rural areas, or to encourage a generation of people to see the government as their mother, who will always be there for them. Unfortunately, the more motherly you are the quicker you go broke, and can supply nothing, just look at Greece.
- Bob Wilson, Calgary