Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Monte's response to Keddy's unemployment comment

Best response of anyone out there... we miss you on the Hill Monte!
Keddy's EI attack aimed at layabouts
27th November 2009, 8:47am

Nova Scotia MP Gerald Keddy has already been tried, convicted, publicly flailed and Tasered for his "no-good bastards" remarks, but I believe Gerald Keddy has been treated unfairly.

One TV network, let's call them the CBC, decided Keddy could only be directing his "bastards" remarks at homeless people who had physical and mental disabilities, and on that wobbly assumption they interviewed street people, all of whom were mystified that someone would say such unkind things about them.

The problem with the CBC assumption is Keddy is a very nice guy who would never say such things about people who struggle with disabilities. I know Keddy well enough to say he is probably more generous towards those truly in need than many of his critics

It never occurred to this otherwise excellent reporter that in talking about people who sit around on the streets of Halifax, Keddy may have been talking about the perfectly healthy people who turn down work at places like his Christmas tree farm so they can milk employment insurance like a cow and, ahem, sit around.

When I was minister of immigration I was stunned by the fact that even though the unemployment rate was over 10% in Prince Edward Island, fish plants there had to bring in Russian workers because they couldn't find local workers.

It seems EI paid enough that, in a very narrow sense, it was completely rational that unemployed Islanders would refuse to do those very tough and dirty jobs.

That said, if a person turns down a job to accept employment insurance then by definition that person is ripping off the system because EI is only supposed to be for people who sincerely seek -- but can't find -- work.

When people rip off employment insurance and draw benefits they're not entitled to, then EI premiums are forced to be higher than they would be otherwise. That in turn means businesses can't afford to hire as many workers as they would if premiums were lower.

Small businesses must raise their wages to attract workers away from EI, which means overall they won't be able to hire as many people as they would have liked.

In other words, when it is too easy to get benefits or when it is easy to rip off the EI system, those who do play by the rules pay the bill for those who bend the rules, and all kinds of people end up needlessly unemployed.

Keddy may have rudely misrepresented the parentage of those who refuse to take jobs on Christmas tree farms, but if you believe it is wrong to cause unemployment and to take money you're not entitled to then Gerald Keddy is absolutely justified in his anger.

The truth is, few programs are more necessary than a properly designed employment insurance program and no program is more destructive than an EI program that is so improperly designed it discourages people from taking available jobs.

I'm sad to say that is the type of EI program we have today.

-- Solberg is a former Conservative MP


  • At Fri Nov 27, 01:17:00 p.m. EST, Blogger Bec said…

    When I heard this allegation (so shoddily reported on btw)I knew exactly what would turn out to be the facts.
    I lived there for enough time to experience the mindset of the EI mentality. It is a culture of laziness and is severely,ingrained.

    I also have a S-i-L from PEI that speaks regularly as Keddy did, about the issue.
    He dearly loves his Province, misses it, vacations in it but will not apologise for it or enable those that do.
    In a strange way, perhaps that is exactly what needs to occur. Peers calling out peers to find their own Canadian success story or be quiet. For him, there certainly has been a trickling effect.

    The other thing that I would like to see us go back to, is the system where an individual had to document their employment attempts. There must be a way that it could be done with checks and balances without top heavy bureaucracy?

  • At Fri Nov 27, 02:39:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now you are able to report via telephone and internet, so what is stopping anyone from being anywhere, and reporting that they are actively looking for work.

  • At Sat Nov 28, 01:14:00 a.m. EST, Blogger CK said…

    So the stereotypes continue.

    I was out of work for over 5 months last year. Not because of lack of skill, or experience or education. Certainly not because I wanted to 'get rich' off of EI. If anything, when I was out of work, things were pretty tight around here. My husband almost made himself sick from all the overtime to he pulled to keep us afloat.

    We were both grateful for my being able to receive EI. We probably would have been much worse off if I didn't receive.

    Part of the problem is age discrimination on the part of employers (I'm over 40). A lot of industries want them young in designer clothing.

    I got very luck at the end of 5 months to have been at the right place at the right time to get a government job I love. A gov't job that doesn't care about age, wardrobe, disability or race. I am grateful everyday I have this job.

    Many are not so lucky. Don't put us all in the same category. I have never known anyone getting rich off EI, much less me.

    Attitudes from employers themselves need to change, especially during recession, they're looking for that 'perfect' employee, and I do mean perfect in a superficial way.

    Anonymous: Now you are able to report via telephone and internet, so what is stopping anyone from being anywhere, and reporting that they are actively looking for work.

    Actually, one can be summoned at any time and they expected a log of everywhere you applied. I saved every email I sent and received, including follow-up, every job application through job search sites, interviews, call backs, etc. Yes, it can be followed up.

  • At Sat Nov 28, 01:20:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    While I agree that people should be working there is a limit to what constitutes a livable wage and a long enough term of employment to collect when laid off(it is 10% un-employment)
    EI itself is a scam, a private insurer could custom make your insurance so that it does cover your expenses when you find yourself laid off, EI does not anywhere outside the east coast where the cost of living is cheap.
    What EI pays I make in a week, how do you stretch that into a month of bills?
    Enough of socialism already, would we care if they sat around if we were not paying them?
    Privatize the insurance.

  • At Sat Nov 28, 02:56:00 p.m. EST, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    CK, I would never DARE to lump everyone into the same category. A family member of mine has been hit hard by this recession, and needs EI. Plus people like yourself, who are actively seeking work, it's for people like you that I support a strong EI system... one that pays even higher benefits and for longer even.

    But ONLY for those who really need it! I've seen many who just work the system, my mom was a WSIB caseworker for years, you should hear the stories she tells of freeloaders who are working the system (entire families), contrasted with the heartbreaking stories of folks who really just needed help, but for one reason or another simply fell through the cracks.

    Glad to hear that EI helped you out, and glad to hear you had a positive outcome in the end. That's what EI's supposed to be all about!

  • At Mon Nov 30, 07:14:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Would I be dismissed as an “Ivory Tower”* type for wanting to know more about who and where these people are, what fraction of all EI users they represent, and so on. I've known the odd unemployed person in my life, but I have not known one to hang out on the street corner.

    I have no doubt that such people exist. But I suspect they comprise a small minority of actual EI recipients. I'd rather not make policy on the basis of unexamined stereotypes used to manipulate public opinion for political purposes.


    I'm referring to the second last paragraph of the first section of this article:

  • At Tue Dec 01, 10:16:00 a.m. EST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bec & CK: There seems to be a discrepancy between yourselves on whether or not an EI claimant needs to be documenting their attempts at finding work.

    Must they or not?

    Mike Wisniewski


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