View from Labour, Feb. 13, 2009

Federal Human Resources Minister, Diane Finley, has called Canadian Workers Lazy. When asked why the government won’t increase EI Payments or make them easier to qualify for her response was “We do not want to make it lucrative for them to stay home and get paid for it”. If that is the policy of our federal Government, we can look forward to a worse situation than the 1930s in very short order. Homeless, unemployed workers who leave family at home to try to find work will only be able to drive as far as their gas lets them, abandon the vehicle and hike the rest of the way to the job that might be there. That scenario is not so far fetched. Where are jobs available in Canada or anywhere else in North America? Sound radical? It could soon be very real. How many people do you know who have had to give up an apartment or home due to lack of employment? Once you’re off EI you are no longer an unemployed statistic. As far as the Federal Government is concerned you don’t exist.
Minister Finley made her statement on January 30th, the end of a month when 169,000 Canadians including 35,000 British Columbians lost their jobs. People are losing jobs in every province. Where can we go?
Psychologists tell us that the biggest fears Canadians have is losing their jobs. Does that sound like a lazy population? The Federal Announcements of job creation need to put into quick action and be combined with extensions to EI benefits so people can hold out until the jobs are available.
The Provincial Forestry policy has thrown thousands of workers on the street before the present economic collapse. As recently as this past Fall Premier Campbell touted the Softwood Lumber Deal as good for B.C. How dump does he think we are? We have a Provincial Election coming up and one candidate has been reported in the press as endorsing Campbell’s forest policy. Check with all the candidates before you cast your ballot. Who will leave us out of work? Who will put in policies to put B.C. back to work? The Olympics will not save us. So far they haven’t even been good for Whistler or Vancouver where they’re being held. If we support our local business and industry we can ensure the security of local jobs. Waiting for an Olympic “windfall” will not work, but support from all levels of Government would be nice.