Jobs Crisis and Broken EI system

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Michelle
Jobs Crisis and Broken EI system

Toronto babblers - come out on Monday!

 

HELP WANTED: JOBS CRISIS AND BROKEN EI (TOWNHALL)

DATE: Monday, September 21, 2009
TIME: Registration 6 p.m., Start time 6:30 p.m.
PLACE: Ryerson University, 80 Gould Street (at Church), Room 204
INFO: www.goodjobsforall.ca, www.ryerson.ca/socialjustice
SPONSORS: Good Jobs for All Coalition, and Gindin Chair in Social Justice (Ryerson)

GUEST SPEAKERS:
Judy Rebick - Social Justice activist, author, professor
Gilles Paquette - Quebec Federation of Labour / Unemployed Coalition

At the end of September, the federal committee set up to examine EI is supposed to release their report. Nobody expects it to do anything for Canadians who have been laid off in this recession. We need to keep building pressure to bring real changes to the broken EI system. Come out to demand that the government fix EI now!

Michelle

This was tonight - just got back from it.  It was an excellent event.

There may be video coming - there were amazing speeches.  Judy gave this incredible opening speech, a total barn-burner.  (I'll link to it when it shows up online.) 

As it turns out, someone else spoke instead of Gilles Paquette, and he was really, really good.  He joked about how hard it was to follow Judy (and she really was a hard act to follow) but he was really funny and engaging and a great speaker.  His name was Daniel someone, wish I'd caught his last name.  (If I find out, I'll edit it into this post later.)  EDIT: Okay, I know it now - Daniel Champagne.

Then they had four people come to the front and talk about their experiences with Employment Insurance (or lack of it) and how it's affected them.  They were great speakers too, and their stories were terrible (and even more terrible because they're common - one of them reminded me of my own situation a few years ago, which I'm still recovering from financially).

If you had any doubts that the current "reforms" of EI that the Conservatives are pushing (and the NDP are backing) suck, you just have to listen to the people who spoke tonight and you'll have no doubt left.

remind remind's picture

That is a bit simplisitc  of an observation michelle.

Michelle

Here is Judy's speech.  I don't think it's simplistic at all.

remind remind's picture

It does me no good michelle, can't watch youtube, dial up sucks.

But thanks anyway.

The NDP have not supported anything as of yet that I can see, other than wanting to examine the Bill in committee, with expert witnesses, just as the Bloc does. Unlike the Liberals who just want to shove it through as is.

KeyStone

I just find it sad that EI wasn't broken before, but now it is.

Why is it that suddenly the parties all see an urgent need to fix EI.

Why was the two week wait alright three years ago, but not now?
Why were the short times, and reduced eligibility alright three years ago, but not now?

Is it because there are now more voters to benefit from such a policy?
Or is it because the people that are on EI now don't deserve to be out of work, but were hit hard by the economy, but people on EI before, could have found a job if they really wanted to?

Whichever conclusion you draw, as the sudden need, it doesn't say much about our politicians.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Are you unaware that the NDP has been pushing for improved EI access for years, KeyStone?

Bookish Agrarian

Apparently, and also unaware that people have been pusing for substantive UI/EI reform for more than a decade, not a few weeks.

And Michelle, not only is it simplistic it is dismissive and demeaning for the many workers this program will help right away.   They matter.  I spoke to the spouse of one such person this morning.  They are doing better than most from his plant as he still has some work through the union (the irony of which keeps him up at night) but they are having a very tough go with both of them laid off from the same small town manufacturing plant.  For them this money can't come fast enough.  They don't care one little bit about the macro politics involved- they just care that they will be able to keep paying their mortgage on their very moderate house and still have enough to get by on.  So please stop acting like this is some terrible thing because it doesn't do enough for others.

You know I can understand rhetorical flourishes getting away from someone - we all have that including myself, but I think in the light of second thought Judy actually has much to apologize for in the way she is dismissing the very real needs of some workers who will get some actual help while trying to make the very valid point that much more needs to be done.

Michelle

Actually, there were more unemployed/underemployed people speaking at the event than employed. 

And many of us employed people who were there are precariously employed.  Including, believe it or not, Judy, whose Chair is an appointment that rotates every few years.

My situation is also somewhat precarious.  I am on a year-to-year contract (used to be 6 months at a time) with my day job, and my rabble work is also precarious, dependent on donations, and barely more than an honourarium.  And I am still recovering, several years later, from the financial devastation I experienced after leaving university and finding no work for several months.  So I could totally relate to what the younger workers were talking about there.

But you're right, I'm lucky.  If my contract isn't renewed next year, I'll be one of the minority of working Canadians who will be eligible for EI.  Lucky me.  I can pay my crushing student debt and support my son on less than half of my income (given the weekly benefit limits), should that happen.

Ciabatta2

While I agree with their principles and their critique of these reforms, I must say I find it patronizing that the town hall organizers are telling those that may benefit from these changes that the changes "suck".  In this economy, with the levels of unemployment we have now, people are in real need - especially in smaller and rural and northern communities.

I am not saying that we should be high-fiving over these crumbs of change, but to dismiss the very real (albeit short-term and limited) benefits of these changes is telling of a lack of perspective.  This does not build their case or cause for EI reform amongst the wider public, save for telling their existing supporters what they want to hear and probably already suspected.

Ciabatta2

What Michelle is referring to is that I originally made a comment that it was liekly a bunch of employed people telling them unemployed that the changes were bad.  I removed that comment while she was making her post, because although it may have a point, I realized it may not be totally fair.

Michelle

Well, it may have a point if it were true - I would agree with you if it were a bunch of employed people telling unemployed people what to think.  But really, it wasn't that way.

Most of the town hall organizers didn't speak, so they weren't "telling the unemployed" anything.  Most of the people speaking at the event were unemployed and underemployed people who were invited by the organizers to talk about their situations.  And there was a long period of hearing from people in the audience too, many of whom were unemployed, underemployed, or precariously employed.

Tommy_Paine

 

On one hand,  I was looking forward to an election this fall, if only to let off steam at a candidates meeting, and one of the pressure valves I was going to release was about E.I.

And, I think the Toronto Town Hall was a great idea, and I hope different juristictions and groups copy this kind of format.

However, I would not like to see E.I. to become THE issue in when ever the next election arrives.

The issue is the dissapearance of good paying jobs.  This economic catastrophe has only accelorated a trend begun with Free Trade.  The purposefull elimination of good paying jobs for working women and men.

The elephant in the room with all political parties is the FACT that of the jobs most recently lost, only a fraction, at BEST, will return with any economic recovery.   And, those that return will be temporary in nature.

When you map it all out, it's an attack not just on our jobs, but on our social programs, our education, and it's an attack on the hopes and aspirations of our children.

It has been an attack on our way of life.

It's been going on for some time, but they just cranked the temperature up too many notches for us frogs to ignore.

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Hear, hear, Tommy_Paine.

Quote:
It's been going on for some time, but they just cranked the temperature up too many notches for us frogs to ignore.

Indeed - they cranked it up so high that they've burned themselves in the process, yet they're still obsessed with playing with fire.

Ciabatta2

Michelle wrote:

Well, it may have a point if it were true - I would agree with you if it were a bunch of employed people telling unemployed people what to think.  But really, it wasn't that way.

Most of the town hall organizers didn't speak, so they weren't "telling the unemployed" anything.  Most of the people speaking at the event were unemployed and underemployed people who were invited by the organizers to talk about their situations.  And there was a long period of hearing from people in the audience too, many of whom were unemployed, underemployed, or precariously employed.

Exactly, and that's why I immediately edited and deleted that remark after originally posting it.    I do believe that the concern of "the employed telling the unemployed what to think" is pertinent to this issue (that was the intended nature of my original comment).  However, my writing was not precise, and on the screen it came out as if I that comment was about this event directly, which made the comment inaccurate and therefore I deleted it.  I only brought it back up to give your reply some context, and to be honest.

remind remind's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:
However, I would not like to see E.I. to become THE issue in when ever the next election arrives.

Neither do I, especially when EI reform can, and should happen, before the next election, or it won't.

And once that is accomplished, the next election can be in part fought on:

Quote:
The issue is the dissapearance of good paying jobs.  This economic catastrophe has only accelorated a trend begun with Free Trade.  The purposefull elimination of good paying jobs for working women and men.

More people will be able to listen, as opposed to struggling in dispair and losing their houses, and life.

But I would note the actual  elephant in the room is First Nations.

Their needs are just as immediate as anyone else's, and in fact moreso.

All of us working in solidarity together can use this hiatus in capitalism's control, to make actual change.

We need to stop buying into the created divisions and create a future for us all.

 

remind remind's picture

Mods, perhaps now that the venue is over, and the call for help is not required, and this thread has gone on, the title can be changed to reflect the on gpoing discussions your town hall has created for a movement in solidarity.

 

Michelle

No worries, Ciabatta, I just wanted to clarify how it went. :)  Thanks!

remind, maybe that's a good idea.  I could move this to Labour and Consumption, and change the title.

Michelle

Quote:

Neither do I, especially when EI reform can, and should happen, before the next election, or it won't.

And once that is accomplished, the next election can be in part fought on:

I think you make a good point.  The only problem I would anticipate is that in the next election, when the NDP says that Conservatives aren't doing enough on EI, the Conservatives can say, "Hey, you voted with us on our EI reform bill!  We gave you what you wanted!"  And that's how it'll look to people who aren't political junkies like us, who don't follow every nuance of every bill that gets put forward.

On the other hand, as you and BA and others have been saying, those same non-junkies could also consider the NDP to be pointlessly triggering an election if we don't support their bill, for the same reason that they just see the bill as EI reform and the NDP voting against it.

On the third hand ;) , I doubt the NDP would be blamed for triggering the election if the Liberals were voting against it as well.  The Liberals are the ones who get the most media attention, not the NDP.  They'd be blamed for the election more than the NDP.  People expect the NDP to vote against the Conservatives.

Polunatic2

Quote:
 But I would note the actual  elephant in the room is First Nations.

Their needs are just as immediate as anyone else's, and in fact moreso.

All of us working in solidarity together can use this hiatus in capitalism's control, to make actual change.

I'm not sure I understand why the same logic about supporting Harper's EI proposal today didn't apply to the "Kelowna Accord" which effectively died with the last liberal government? Wasn't that the time to begin implementing changes that were supported by much of the elected First Nations leadership? Was that not a matter of solidarity? 

remind remind's picture

People should be formulating a concurrent movement, to publically get a push on to support the NDP and Bloc motions that are before the House, as they are all covering exactly what radiorahim indicted needed to be covered, in this thread, and so can one presume that the Town Hall speakers and hosts have that view point too. As such, it appears that most basically agree reform of EI needs to happen now.

It is my view, and others, that everyone's future would be much less precarious, should these motions get through, than it would be if an election is forced.

To see if there is the truth in this, one needs to look at the the dynamics of an election and weigh the possibilities of  the outcomes occuring, in order to find out what really needs to occur in this most serious socio-political climate.

1. Harper looks to be in the neighbourhood, of a slightly stronger minority, or keeping status quo.

This is the reality that has the most weight. The mood amongst Canadians has not changed too much, from a year ago. Except for a more hardened position that government needs to work to achieve something for Canadians in immediate need. But they still do not trust Haprer with a majority This leads to possibility number 2, should government not work and non-confidence is called, though its weight is less than point 1's.

2.  Harper gets a slightly stronger minority, and thus has more leverage to force his agenda, the opposition cannot again call immediate non-confidence, the public gave Harper another mandate. There again would be no public support for a coalition.

Should this occur, or status quo kept, there will be a melt down within the Liberal Party occuring, it is already occuring as a matter of fact. And even if there was public consensus for a coalition, there would be no unified opposition to form one, as the Liberals would be in further disarray. So...Harper could rule as if he had a majority. And nothing gets done on EI Reform and 100's of thousands more will slide into poverty and lose their homes and lives.

At that point, an ad hoc movement could occur, pushing for assistance, but how/will it occur? Harper could say "give me a majority and I will fix EI, the opposition is in disarray and government oposition is still not functioning" and a Harper majority, we would have. And if anyone thinks there will be EI reform happen, in those 4 years of a Harper majority, they would be sadly mistaken.

3. Harper gets a weak majority, if the they make no mistakes and the Liberals gain no traction, and no EI reforms will happen. Sure enough,  5 years from now the CPC would be thrown out, but what would life look like? Can we take that chance? No.

Thus we can see that any potential outcome, in the current state of political affairs, should an election happen, is not a good one for potential  EI reform, nor Canadians.

So then, we have to look at maintaining this government formation and see how it weighs in getting something done for both immediate and future needs of Canadians.

1. Immediate needs that will benefit 100's of thousands are met. And those in precarious positions, future will be safer, should this "recession" carry on further, if just this first measure passes.

2. No immediate election gives time for the Bloc and NDP Bills to proceed further and get passed, as pressure can be put, by a unified public movement, upon Liberal and Conservative MP's to support and fast track the  EI reform Bills currently before the House.

Town Halls, of the sort that started this thread, could held to make this movement grow. Radiorahim already gave the slogan, in the thread linked above, that has started circulating. If speaking out in support of the NDP and Bloc EI reform Bills started, it would force ALL political parties to put up and give Canadians what is theirs, as opposed to giving it to banks and corporations.

Unfortunately, if one was going to be partisan, one may not want to support this, because it gives time to the Liberals to get their shit together. Though of course conversly it could be also seen that it gives them time to completely emplode. But that is mitigated by time gained for them to get a new leader, that Canadians could possibly accept. Still other partisans would not want the Bloc and NDP to get the credit, so would be reluctant to support it, but those could be mitigated, if there was actual will to help to people, like they state they have.

It could be sold to the public as a 3 way opposition effort, driven by Labour, to force the Cons into EI reform. This could bring down the levels of public support for the Conservatives too, paving the way for better and less dangerous results for Canadians in the next election.

Said action, would also be selling the way a future coalition would look and work, should it be needed, if an election occurs on non-confidence later next year. And it most likely will be, as a matter of fact. The reality is the Liberals, in disarray and in the current poltical climate in Canada,  could not get a minority government and they could actually lose seats if  an election campaign went badly.  Thus we have another minority Harper government, but one that could be be brought down, and a coalition proposed, as people have viewed how co-operation between the opposition can occur..

Even if the Liberals could somehow get a minority government, should an election be called now and should the Con campaign go badly, it does not mean anything for EI reform, as the Cons could side with them against EI reforms, put forth by the Bloc and NDP. And an election would forestall any EI solidarity reform movement, nothing gets done and nobody gets helped.

As such, under any election scenario, we are faced with much, much time being wasted, and we will have 100's of thousands of more  suffering and still EI reform needs to occur.

As the most important thing is making sure the EI reform happens, it means that it must insured that the current reform Bills are passing through the House,  as such the current formation is the way to go. Immediate needs are met, and the Bills are in place and have a good shot for a go.

And even if the Liberals did not want to jump on the EI reform train, bewtween the NDP, Bloc and Labour, they would have to support them, or risk an election, when they do not want one, and could not win one. The negative messaging around their lack of support and supporting the Cons in blocking them, would not be a good PR for them. And they need all the good PR they can get.

Thus, it is  reasonable  to perceive that there would be more of a guarantee that EI reform results would occur from unified action, done in solidarity now, as opposed to  relinguishing power, and gambling on what an election could bring in the future.

Someone wanted a grand unifying issue, well here it is.

And it can be actioned in the now, instead of gambling on an election that will produce no change, at best.

 

remind remind's picture

Michelle wrote:
Quote:
Neither do I, especially when EI reform can, and should happen, before the next election, or it won't.

And once that is accomplished, the next election can be in part fought on:

I think you make a good point.  The only problem I would anticipate is that in the next election, when the NDP says that Conservatives aren't doing enough on EI, the Conservatives can say, "Hey, you voted with us on our EI reform bill!  We gave you what you wanted!"  And that's how it'll look to people who aren't political junkies like us, who don't follow every nuance of every bill that gets put forward.

No actually, it won't happen that way, as if what happens, which should happen, happens.

EI reform occurs with the NDP and Bloc Bills that are already before the House, and thus when the next election happens, it won't even be mentioned in the campaign. See my lengthy post above in respect to what should happen beyond this immediate measure.

Quote:
I doubt the NDP would be blamed for triggering the election if the Liberals were voting against it as well.  The Liberals are the ones who get the most media attention, not the NDP.  They'd be blamed for the election more than the NDP.  People expect the NDP to vote against the Conservatives.

Why would the NDP vote against it, when more can be achieved with the government in this conformation of it? We know the Cons won't reform it, and we know the Liberals will not either  unless they are cornered to do so.

As you state correctly, the Liberals will be blammed, in the public's eye, and they cannot afford to be, thus, they can be forced to support the Bills before the house now, that the Bloc and NDP have been working on for over a year.

They Liberals understand this, which is why they have offered to fast track this  immediate EI  Bill of the Cons. Their insistence at fast tracking it, needs to be blocked, and the other EI reform Bills pushed through at the same time.

It can be done with solidarity support and positive action.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

remind wrote:

It does me no good michelle, can't watch youtube, dial up sucks.

 

Ever so slight thread drift...

If you're on dialup, what you can do is install the "Video Download Helper" extension for the Firefox web browser.

You can get it from here:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3006

It's a very very small download.

Then you can download videos from youtube and watch them on your local computer instead of streaming them.    Downloading a file may take a little while on dialup but at least you'll be able to watch youtube videos.

To play the files you should use "VLC Media Player".   VLC Media Player is one of the few players that'll play "Flash" (.flv) videos.

It's also "Free Software" licensed under the GNU General Public License.

You can get it from:

http://www.videolan.org/vlc

 

remind remind's picture

Thanks radiorahim, have tried that before and it was going to be several hours for each down load. My dial up connection is 24.0kps. So I choose to forgo the pleasures of viewing youtube, and will probably do so until desire outweighs time considerations.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

24 kbps?    Wow...that IS slow ... even for dialup.   Back in my olden days of dialup I used to get connections in the 42-48 kbps range with the old 56 kbps modem.

End of thread drift ;)

Michelle

I think you should just move to Toronto, remind.  That solves that!  Okay, next problem? 

:D  (ducking and running)

Unionist

/ resumption of thread drift

I used to get 300 baud (thats bytes per second for you youngsters) on my Commodore 64 modem - so there! I couldn't even view still pictures with that!

/ real end of thread drift

Michelle wrote:
I think you should just move to Toronto, remind.

Where's that "Flag as disgusting" button when we need it!?

Michelle

We save that button for suggestions of moving to Montreal.

Oooh!  Oooooh!  Yeah, I said it.  I said it.  :D

Okay, seriously, sorry for the drift.  Couldn't resist a bit of intercity rivalry there.

remind remind's picture

ya, it is slow radio, though I take heart some days, as it is 26.4kbsp.

Now back to our most serious discussion of EI reform that some are apparently deflecting from. ;)

We need these measures to happen now, and it can be done.

Seeing as how Judy's job positiion is about to be rotated to some one else, in the near future, she could use these town hall mediums on EI reform, and other such endeavours, to launch herself a career in politics. If she even needs a job, as I doubt she is living paycheck to paycheck.

But if she did go for a political career, she could actually transform power, as opposed to just speaking and writing about it. I mean seriously, she could create a following and a movement, across Canada, especially within the young women demographics.

Of course, should she choose to become a Liberal and do so, she would be blocking her own initiatives, plus there would be a healthy amount of discrediting herself, going on too.

But easily, as either an NDP candidate, or as an Independant, she could make some serious waves in Ottawa and across Canada. National exposure would be great for a movement, as opposed to her presence just being isolated in Toronto.

 

Polunatic2

Or Rebick could help set up a website like Rabble to help empower others whose voices are regularly silenced. Oh wait, she already did that. Or she could try to help unite the NDP with the social movements to further empower progressive politics in Canada. Ooops. She tried that too and that scared the crap out of much of the party establishment. 

remind remind's picture

Sometimes things are put forward when the time is not correct, and when they are put forward and actioned at a later date they work beautifully.

Though admittedly, I am not sure what it is you are referring to that Judy did, that scared the "crap out of the party establishement". And I do not want to get bogged down with the past, it is gone, so really it is not pertinent to my position.

We have a present now, that can be actioned, and things can be done, if there is just even a small joint and conserted effort.

If you are not a feminist in BC, you would not know who Rebick is. Thus her audience threshhold is lower, if she would be continuing to work outside of the political system, in order to transform power.

It does not matter how many angels you get to dance on a pin head in Toronto, there can only be so much exposure and gains made in transforming power. One needs a national audience, and then grow that to an international audience.

Affliation with the Liberals would useless, and do much harm to said movement in Canada, outside of the centre of the universe.

Frankly Judy would be a great MP, and a big fish in the smaller NDP sea.

Ward

How do you fix EI? How about GAI?

Polunatic2

I may have misinterpreted the tone of your post #28 thinking it sounded a bit snarky. Not sure about Judy's outside of Toronto profile - I think it may be higher than suggested - maybe not with youth. Also not sure where the liberal references come in. Just don't see that in the cards. I think we can agree that Judy would make a great MP. 

remind remind's picture

If people are reluctant to support a 360hr threshhold in EI,  because of  their fear of abusors, how do you think they can support  what is basically none? as much as i would like to see GAI implimented, not enough people are suffering as of yet to push for such a thing.

Brian Topp's article linked in this thread  supports some of  my contentions here about the Liberals.

Tommy_Paine

 

Wierd as it may sound, I'd privitize E.I. and take all but a watchdog roll away from government.  

E.I. is a deffered  wage.  Have your contribution and the employer's contribution put in a bank account that's only accessable when you get laid off or lose your job-- for whatever reason.

It should be  set up so that after about ten years of continuous work, you have a years wages in it.  Then the contributions are only to account for inflation and pay raises-- assuming pay raises become  fashionable again.

I'd regulate how the banks  could invest that money, say, money from the manufacturing sector couldn't be loaned out as capital in that sector, but would have to be invested in another.  

I know there's a ton of details in this, and I don't have the answer for every potential nuance.  

But E.I. is a deffered wage, and as long as we allow the government to get their hands on OUR money, they'll steal from it, as they have done, and they'll use it as a political sword of Damocles over worker's heads, as they are doing right now.

Don't extrapolate this to say that I'm for privatizing anything else, or whatever.  It's just that  in the case of E.I., we have to liberate our money from those assholes in parliament.

remind remind's picture

Polunatic2 wrote:
I may have misinterpreted the tone of your post #28 thinking it sounded a bit snarky. Not sure about Judy's outside of Toronto profile - I think it may be higher than suggested - maybe not with youth. Also not sure where the liberal references come in. Just don't see that in the cards. I think we can agree that Judy would make a great MP.

Oh no, sorry about  not being clearer in my wording, as I was not being snarky in the least. I think Judy would be beyond a good MP, she would be a fanstic one, and believe she should jump in with both feet, it would be great for Canadians and for her transforming power movement.

Long time feminists in BC, and those who have taken women's studies know who she is, others who may be progressive do not have a clue. You mention her name and  books, all you get is blank stares.

 

remind remind's picture

Respectfully, that would be useless tommy, not eveyone gets to work 10 years in a row, they would be left out, nor should we be forcing people to stay in jobs they hate so they can at some future point collect EI if they have.

It would be much easier to pass a law stating it can't be touched by any government of the day for anything other than job loss stategies and UI collection.

Ward

How would it go over if the conservatives rolled up their sleaves said they wanted to fix ei, and introduced GAI trashed all the other social support programs and the NDP simply got to support this? 

remind remind's picture

Let's deal with plausibles

Tommy_Paine

It would be much easier to pass a law stating it can't be touched by any government of the day for anything other than job loss stategies and UI collection.

Well, we already had those laws, and what good did it do? 

Parliament is above the law.

And, you can bet the last dollar in your line of credit that the Liberals and Conservatives are allready planning to raid that fund again if it goes into surplus.

 

As for your point about forcing people to work in jobs they hate, of course such a fund would be transferable from job to job.  Certainly, an off the top of me head idea isn't going to cover all bases, and things can be adjusted by better minds than mine.  But, really, the current system isn't tollerable.

 

Let's deal with plausibles

Well, we can go back to discussing what to do with the system as it currently is.  But bear in mind that the way the system is right now isn't plausible.

 

Unionist

[url=http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2009/09/18/ei-woes/]Sister Lana Payne[/url] is the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Federation:

Quote:

I am a UI/EI junkie. Just wanted to get that out of the way. I would like to add that this proposal sets a dangerous precedent as it attacks and diminishes the principles of social insurance. Social insurance as we know is a lot different than experienced-based insurance. C-50 says an individual is entitled to extra benefits based on their experience with the EI system, how much they have collected in the past and how much they have paid in premiums. This is what the Liberals tried to do in the 1990s when they first introduced EI. At that time it was called the Intensity Rule and workers were penalized (with a lower benefit rate) for every 20 weeks of benefits they collected to a low of 50%, while everyone else got 55% of their average earnings.

Basing entitlement on past use of the EI system and how much you have paid into the system, changes the principles from social insurance to experience-rated insurance just the direction the Conservatives want. They are using the economic crisis to damage what has been a long-standing and very important program for Canadian working people.

In addition to being offended by who is left out in this EI proposal, we must also denounce the dangerous precedent that this sets.

We were successful in getting rid of that nasty Intensity Rule, but it took tremendous fightback - 11 MPs (Liberals) in Atlantic Canada lost their jobs as a result of those so-called EI reforms.

remind remind's picture

The answer is don't let them destroy it.

Rally behind the Bloc's and NDP's EI Reform Bills in this government, this is a golden opportunity.

WE know the LibCons won't do anything should they get majority power.

Unionist

remind wrote:

Rally behind the Bloc's and NDP's EI Reform Bills in this government, this is a golden opportunity.

 

What are you saying? These are money bills, which can't be enacted without government consent. The House has already passed excellent motions, like that of Chris Charlton last spring, including sweeping EI reforms. Your proposal would accomplish nothing.

 

remind remind's picture

"Your proposal would accomplish nothing."

 

Get up to speed unionist, there are at least 10 EI reform Bills on the order paper. That will die if we have an election.

madmax

OK Unionist, how about the opposition parties just stop proposing Bills, especially ones on EI. And then the Liberals can get off the hook for doing anything or attempting to do anything. 

Yes Chris Charlton got the motion passed.  So what... it needs to be fullfilled. That is the purpose of the Bill.

I am SICK of the Liberals turning away from EI and yet using it as a platform during the summer to exploit those who lost their jobs.

Bloody Hell.  

Its the Liberals who stole $46 Billion from EI, and made all the CUTS to employment insurance that Charlton is trying to improve.

The Liberals took from the employees for 13 years and people are surprised that they walked away from EI reform in June.

Then people are suprised that the Liberals accomplished NOTHING on the blue ribbon panel during the summer.

Well I disagree. I think the Liberals accomplished everything they wanted to accomplish on EI.

And somehow the CPC are expected to have accomplished something over the summer by working with the Liberals? The party that thinks the Unemployed have it too lucrative.

If the NDP gets the EI reform bill passed, and the Conservatives choose not to fund it.... so be it.  Lets go to the polls.

 

Unionist

madmax wrote:

OK Unionist, how about the opposition parties just stop proposing Bills, especially ones on EI. And then the Liberals can get off the hook for doing anything or attempting to do anything. 

Yes Chris Charlton got the motion passed.  So what... it needs to be fullfilled. That is the purpose of the Bill.

I have no clue what you're talking about.

These private members' bills are merely for show.

For example, in the 39th Parliament (2006), Pablo Rodriguez introduced Bill C-288, "An Act to ensure Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the Kyoto Protocol". It passed first, second, and third reading - and it was given royal assent. Harper and Baird said they would ignore it. Heard anything about respect for Kyoto lately? 2012 is approaching...

Or how about Denise Savoie's very worthy Bill C-303, "An Act to establish criteria and conditions in respect of funding for early learning and child care programs in order to ensure the quality, accessibility, universality and accountability of those programs, and to appoint a council to advise the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development on matters relating to early learning and child care". All the opposition parties teamed up to support it, through first reading, second reading and committee stage. Have you noticed any new national child care programs in the two years since that happened?

So, what are you suggesting the NDP will do with EI reform while Harper is still in power? Embarrass the living daylights out of him?

NorthReport

Canada's unemployment rate dropped this month

janfromthebruce

yes, Northreport - so what is your point. It just means that folks benefits ran out, and they cannot collect in other situations. It reminds me when the welfare roll decline in the Harris years - nobody bothered to find out where those people went - how they got kicked off. They were just not accounted for - which reminds me of the GDP - it's what it doesn't count that should be counted.

remind remind's picture

Again it is up to Canadfians to get active and push for the Bills to go through just like SSM's passage, and the halting of C484

madmax

Unionist wrote:
 have no clue what you're talking about.

These private members' bills are merely for show.

 

Not if these Bills wind their way through and become law. The following bills which amended CCAA could not occur and wouldnot have ever happened if the NDP hadn't gotten the Martin Liberals to move on Bill C55. And if you read these bills

one is directly related to the other, it is why these amendments had to be made. It was part of the original bills intent and necessary in order to actually do something for the Shafted Employees.

 

Quote:
2004

The federal New Democratic Party has introduced a private members bill entitled the Worker's First Bill (C-281), which would reverse existing priorities and move workers to the front of the cue, making their wages, pensions and benefits the first priority when a company goes bankrupt.

Debate on the bill, tabled by Pat Martin (NDP - Winnipeg Centre), began on Dec. 3 and will resume in February. The full text of the bill is available online <http://www.parl.gc.ca/legisinfo/index.asp?Lang=E&Chamber=N&StartList=A&E....

"It's time for Parliament to bring fairness to our bankruptcy laws," says James Clancy, president of the 337,000-member union.

"Canadian workers need and deserve the changes proposed in Bill C-281 and we're encouraging Members of Parliament to put the interests of workers first by working together to pass this very important piece of legislation."

Nationwide, 1,120 Canadians were interviewed by telephone in August for the Vector Poll. The results are considered accurate within 2.9 percentage points. NUPGE

Bill C-281

http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&Chamber=...

 

http://www.nupge.ca/news_2008/n14ap08a.htm

 

Legislation protecting wages and pensions remains stalled

 

 

'It's outrageous that after three tries, the government claims it still isn't ready to make this modest protection a reality.' - Larry Brown

Ottawa (14 April 2008) - Bill C-12, legislation to provide modest protection in bankruptcy proceedings for employees' unpaid wages and pension contributions, remains stalled, even though it received royal assent on Dec. 14, 2007.

The reason given by the Harper government for its failure to implement the bill is that regulations are not yet in place to enforce it. The government has indicated this could take another six to 12 months.

"We were ready to celebrate this small but significant victory for employees' rights, but the champagne has to go back on ice once more," says Larry Brown, secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

"Actually the legislation would hardly protect enough money for a champagne celebration, so perhaps we should say the ginger ale should go back into the fridge."

Bill C-12 is the third incarnation of legislation first introduced three years ago. It provides for payment of up to $3,000 to employees of bankrupt companies to cover unpaid wages and vacation pay.

Began as Bill C-55

 

 

First introduced as Bill C-55 and coined the Workers First Bill by the federal NDP, its passage was a concession the NDP obtained from the former Liberal government of Paul Martin in the spring of 2005 in return for the NDP's support for his minority government's budget that year.

 

In November 2005, the Martin government rushed C-55 through the parliamentary approval process. At the time the bill was known officially as An Act to establish the Wage Earner Protection Program Act, to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Although the bill received royal assent in late 2005, the Martin government promised the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce - in return for quick Senate passage - to delay proclamation until June 30, 2006 at the earliest.

The purpose of the delay was to allow the committee to receive a list of regulatory changes required by Industry Canada for implementation. As a result, the law remained in legislative limbo, enacted but not proclaimed.

Passed again as C-12

 

 

In the meantime, the Liberals were defeated in the January 2006 election and the Harper Conservatives took over. After great pressure, the Tories introduced a new version of the legislation in December 2006, known as Bill C-62.

This bill languished in the Commons for months and eventually died with the prorogation of the first Conservative session of Parliament. Finally the legislation was again passed, this time as Bill C-12.

Brown says the new delay in bringing the legislation into force reveals how little commitment the Harper government has to the rights of workers.

"It's outrageous that, after three tries, the government claims it still isn't ready to make this modest protection a reality. Contrast this with the number of issues that the government has imposed under threat of an election, if they don't get their way, and the negligent way this government treats workers' issues becomes even more transparent and offensive," Brown says.

When the legislation finally comes into effect, employees' claims for at least a portion of their unpaid wages will no longer take a back seat to claims by banks and secured creditors.

$35 million fund

 

 

The legislation creates a wage earner protection fund (with initial funding of $35 million) which will assure workers some compensation for lost wages, including vacation pay and pension contributions, when an employer goes into bankruptcy or receivership.

Employees who lose their jobs through bankruptcies will be able to apply to the government for payment equal up to the amount of wages they are owed for the six months prior to the date of the employer's bankruptcy or receivership. However, a limit will apply. The maximum benefit will be the greater of $3,000 or four times maximum weekly insurable earnings under the Employment Insurance Act, less any applicable deductions under federal or provincial law.

Compensation will not apply to workers who have been employed for three months or less, to employees occupying managerial positions or to officers, directors or any individual with a controlling interest in the debtor company.

It also makes it clear that collective agreements cannot be suspended by an insolvent employer's restructuring or bankruptcy proceedings, unless the debtor is able to reach a voluntary agreement with the bargaining agent.

Not all Private Members Bills are for show.  This bill would never have seen the light of day without the NDP and their private members bills.

Quote:

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) calls the program "a real step forward" after years of lobbying by the labour movement. It took effect earlier this month.

"Too often we saw employees suffer lost wages, benefits and even their pension savings because banks and other creditors were given priority," the CLC says. "With a new law that puts government on their side and offers the security of a guaranteed last pay cheque and pension contributions, working Canadians will be better off."

The purpose of the program is to ensure that workers get timely payment of wages and vacation benefits (up to four weeks maximum insurable earnings, or about $3,000) when employers go bankrupt. Previously, only about a quarter of workers received any payment in the case of employer bankruptcy. Waiting periods were as long as three years.

Between 10,000 and 20,000 workers make claims for unpaid wages every year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caissa

NDP are currently propping  up the Tories in the House ostensibly to help Canadian workers.

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