You might remember that Prime Minister Harper in his 2008 year end speech rejected the idea of expanding Employment Insurance benefits during these tough times, claiming that was “paying people not to work“. In essence, as I said back in that blogpost, he was trying to equate EI to welfare payments, and paint people who have lost their jobs as collecting money to party, as one commentator put it.
If you have any doubt about the antagonism toward EI that the Conservatives hold, you just need to go and read the comments left by Monte Solberg, former MP of the Reform/Conservative Party, and former Conservative Cabinet Minister. when he calls EI “a government mandated pyramid scheme“, and tries to paint it as being no different then what Bernie Madoff did, a US Wall Street financier who stands accused of bilking billions of dollars from investors. Solberg then does an echo of Herbert Hoover (he was a Republican President during the Great Depression and rejected stimulus packages or other spending measures to help the economy or to help people), when he states that all it should take to get through these tough economic times is that people need to have a better work ethic and work harder.
What? All the people who are on the unemployment lines who got thrown out of work by their employer closing down plants or laying off people are there because they didn’t work hard enough, and therefore are ripping off the government by collecting EI payments? They are living high off the hog from their EI they are collecting, Monte?
This is just an echo of Harper again, where Solberg is trying to equate EI to welfare and demonizing people who need to use it as living high off the hog – another Conservative carrying over the neo-conservative views of former Ontario premier Mike Harris, who was legendary for stomping over the poor and unemployed in both words and deeds.
With all due respect Monte, you don’t know of what you speak, and I’m glad you’ve retired out of government. I do thank you though for continuing to highlight the uncaring unsympathetic demonization of those people thrown out of work that the Conservatives hold. It’s good quote material to show how much the social safety net is viewed with contempt by the Conservatives.