Jim Flaherty’s ‘no bad job’ EI comment
The Harper government is trying to douse a growing political firestorm over the finance minister’s claim that “there is no bad job,” insisting Canadians on Employment Insurance will be expected to take jobs in keeping with their skill levels and in the areas where they live.
The Conservatives also contend they don’t know the long-term cost-savings of increasing Old Age Security eligibility to age 67 from 65 — despite maintaining the current system is unsustainable — but said an estimate is likely to come over the next few months.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has come under heavy fire this week for saying — as the government contemplates reforms to the EI program — that there is no such thing as a bad job.
The NDP accused Flaherty of proposing a “nanny state” in which unemployed Canadians will lose their EI benefits unless they reluctantly accept jobs for which they are overqualified or leave their home regions to find work.
The federal budget bill, which is weaving its way through the House of Commons, gives Cabinet the power to define what is considered “suitable employment” — which could affect whether a person qualifies for EI and the benefits they are paid.
A definition of what is deemed suitable employment will be announced in the coming months. Flaherty told Canadians this week: “There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job,” noting he once drove a taxi and refereed hockey.
On Tuesday, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley seemingly took a step back from those comments and tried to reassure Canadians seeking EI that they won’t be forced to take jobs outside their skill sets or regions. (Source: National Post)
Letter to the Editor:
The cartoon is both offensive and condescending to people who actually do the jobs the cartoonist depicted. Doesn’t he realize there are people who do the thankless but necessary jobs that he depicted in his cartoon as “bad jobs?” Was he ever thankful that the portable toilet he used was cleaned by someone prior to his use? Or the dead carcasses on the public road were cleared off before his car hit one? These are not “bad jobs.” These are absolutely necessary and good jobs done by someone who never got a thank you for doing their jobs. Certainly sometimes some people are stuck with jobs they don’t enjoy. But these are not “bad jobs.” They still need to be done. If people are not enjoying the jobs they are doing, at least they can do it as a transition temporarily while looking for another they would enjoy more. There is nothing wrong with working for a living, whatever the job is.
William Liang, Hamilton