Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Are there no Burger Kings? Are there no No Wal-Marts?"*

Oh, Mr. Flaherty, you've really lost touch with the common Canadian, haven't you?

I can only assume this is the reasoning behind the statements you made today regarding those receiving unemployment benefits and the seeming unwillingness to accept employment that is 'beneath them' or 'too far away'.  
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday new rule changes to define "suitable employment" and "reasonable" efforts at finding work have yet to come down, but as far as he's concerned people should be prepared to take pretty well any available job.
"I was brought up in a certain way. There is no bad job, the only bad job is not having a job," he told reporters. "I drove a taxi, I refereed hockey. You do what you have to do to make a living."
I'm sure on a six-digit government salary it is easy to adopt a boot-strap attitude, seeing as how you, Mr. Flaherty, will likely never be faced with the prospect working two or more minimum wage, part time jobs to put food on the table.  The truth is that no, it is not always a case that any job is better than no job.  

A family faced with deciding between paying daycare and paying rent because even a full-time minimum wage position doesn't always cover both, especially in cases where there is only one parent, or more than one child.  This may not have been an issue if the National Daycare Program had ever come to fruition, but I guess that $100.00 a month bribe to make us forget about it made it ALL WORTH IT.

As far as working out of town, I like how you assume that this is an option for most people.  Consider those without cars... That's right.  Some people do not own their own vehicle, or may have medical conditions that prevent them from obtaining a drivers licence.  Shocking I know.  Also, shitty and/or non-existent mass transit systems are also a thing.  Let's assume that a vehicle is readily available.  Consider the current price of gas, sitting at between 1.27 and 1.35 per Litre in Central Ontario... once again, one falls into the trap of spending a good portion of their wages on fuel, which is aggravating enough when one lives relatively close (my own commute is a decent 10-minute drive) but becomes teeth-clenchingly frustrating when one is earning minimum wage and paying (in fuel) for the privilege to do so.  Not to mention, coming back to families, commuting adds time to the workday that ends up covering the cost of.. you guessed it! DAYCARE.

I've known people who have, repeatedly, found themselves in the position of having to decide if a job is even worth taking once expenses such as fuel and daycare are considered.  Often, it's not.

As far as the lack of laborers in Alberta and Saskatchewan, well it'd be pretty awesome if everyone on EI benefits had the resources (money, transportation) or the lack of ties to their current geographical area (oh, like schools, family, support systems) combined with the skills for the jobs available out there to relocate for the sake of work.  Ideally, anyone should be able to do this if they wish.  Here's the thing.. packing up and moving across the country the size of Canada is kind of a BFD, if you read my acronym.

Jim, you make it sound like the unemployed are all simply turning their noses up at jobs deemed 'unworthy' but mostly the need to turn down employment is a simple case of logistics, as illustrated above.  Does pride play into it as well?  I'll be honest.. as someone who worked their ass off through three years of school earning a Bachelor's degree which was supposed to help me escape a life of convenience store servitude, if today I were to find myself unemployed (she says, knocking on wood), I'd be more than a little fucking hesitant to get behind a counter for 10 bucks an hour while trying to pay off the crippling amount of student debt that BA earned me.

And do you know what, Jimmy?  Canadians pay into their EI benefits.. EI is not a government handout.  It is a fund that we as workers pay into, and should be able to use to our full advantage.  If I pay for auto insurance on a brand new 2012 Lexus and someone rears ends me, the insurance company shouldn't be able to hand me an '84 Chevette and say "Well, any car is better than no car!"

Should people on EI benefits be making a concerted effort to seek employment?  Yeah, for sure.. and I am willing to bet that most of them do.  But to say that people who have found themselves without work through no fault of their own should be satisfied with any given job offered them is condescending at best, downright insulting at worst.

Some would rather die.*


*is invoking Dickens melodramatic?  Maybe a touch.  I offer no apologies.

7 comments:

  1. WONDERFUL, and fantastically written.

    Nodding head vigorously,

    Pearl

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  2. When I saw this in my local paper I was offended that they had shut the comments off. Flaherty is talking out his ass if he thinks you can support a family on minimum wage. I can't do it on what I make and I've been over my budget a gazillion times. Hydro goes up, gas goes up, groceries go up. 10.25/hour isn't going to cut it for most.

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    1. I count myself lucky to have a decent paying job, but being on a single income I still find things tight month to month, and I don't have a lot of extras or debt (other than student debt) to pay for.

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    2. Single moms, single dads who pay child support - it's like they all want to push us down to the same standard of living as third world countries.

      Anyhow, I nominated you for a blog award.

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  3. The ironic stream of mixed signals coming down from the people "oh high" these days is astoundingly mind numbing. I sit here and think to myself "How can it be possible that the same group of people who revoked the National Daycare Program, something that would have created many, many jobs, now complain about Working forces?" and on that same note " How is it that the government can be so short sighted with even it's own plans?" If you are unsure on what I mean by that last statement let me point towards the brand new all day kindergarten. Heralded by many on the hill has being an investment into our future they seem to forget that their current plans make it an investment in demise for our present.

    Not only will all day daycare cause many, many scheduling problems for the school boards and the schools themselves (Did you know that with the new system you can MANUALLY choose which days your child attends school? No? They're trying to keep that under the rug.) but it means that many people will lose their job. Crazy to think that increasing the amount of time that a child is in school will mean that people will be fired, it should be the exact opposite, but it's not. The thinking behind this is that instead of having rotational ECE and Teacher Helpers, they can just fire the Teacher Helpers, fire part time ECE's and give the Full Time Teachers and Full Time ECE's all of the work to do. It also means that many, many day care centres that survived off of the rotational days are now going to be standing there in the cold with only half or fewer of the children they once had.

    This is of course also coming from the same people who wish to increase cost of living while putting a on WAGE FREEZE. Yes let's take all of our vital people, Doctors, Teachers, Nurses, The Armed Forces! And make it just that much harder for them to survive. Here is an idea! Why not freeze your OWN wages that seem to go up every year on a schedule. Or better yet, if you're worried about people taking minimum wage jobs then give them an INCENTIVE to, push cost of living DOWN. If I could survive on only 10.25 an hour, I would happily do it, but It's just not possible.

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    1. "Why not freeze your OWN wages that seem to go up every year on a schedule. "

      Brandon, YES! I always think this.. especially when things like healthcare and education are facing cuts.. so much money could be saved by capping admin salaries.. I forget how many exactly, but I remember an audit just recently where something like.. Oh god, I don't even know how many.. admins making over six digits a year. If they capped that, can you imagine the money that could be funnelled into actual EDUCATION?

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Engaging in discussion and/or general sucking up.. that's where it's at!

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