Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Federal Opposition Parties: Bill C-308

There's something that's been flying under most peoples radar. The federal opposition parties, the Bloc Quebecois, Liberals, and NDP, have put forward a private members bill that will change how Employment Insurance will work. The Conservatives have a bill on the floor as well that will increase the amount of payments workers and employers will pay, but the opposition parties are attacking it because it doesn't do enough for what they want.

Here's a quick take down on why it's bad:

EI needs real fix, not a pogey payday

Bill C-308 would allow for a mere 45-day work year for EI eligibility

By Kevin Gaudet, Guest Columnist

he federal Liberals are joining the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois in fighting the government again over Employment Insurance (EI).

Unfortunately, they aren’t fighting the tax hike planned for Jan. 1, the one that will take more off pay cheques and out of the pockets of employers.

Instead, they are fighting to make EI even easier to get and way more expensive for taxpayers.

Private member’s bill C-308 proposes a myriad of changes, each of which would make EI both easier to access and more generous to receive. The government claims the changes would cost taxpayers anywhere from $2.3 billion to $4 billion a year.

The biggest change proposed would reduce the number of hours worked for EI eligibility, down from 420 hours to only 360 hours. This would allow for a mere 45-day work year.

The TD Bank issued a report in 2009 that estimated this change alone would cost $1 billion. But that’s not all they’re after.

The bill would make permanent the temporary change that added five more weeks of EI benefits; making it permanent at 50 weeks. Payments meanwhile would rise from 55% of earnings to 60% of earnings.

Finally, they want to change the way insurable earnings are calculated, upping it to the average of the highest 12 weeks over the last 12 months.

The bill is silent on how this expensive change would be paid for. EI premiums collected from employees and employers last year totaled $16.9 billion. A $4 billion increase in costs to the program would require a 24% EI premium hike to pay for it. Otherwise, the money would have to come from a permanent massive drain out of general tax revenue. [SNIP]

Unfortunately the opposition party seats out number the Conservatives in parliament. So what they are trying to do is force the government to pay for something that's not really needed. Or that will cause all sorts of issues.

Employment Insurance (EI) has been one of those things that's been abused more then used. People have taken seasonal jobs then taken a pogey holiday. Which can also be extended by taking sponsored training courses. The rules for getting onto EI changed back in the early 90's making it much more difficult to qualify for.

Now what the loyal opposition *cough* want to do is make it easier and pay more. Less time working, slacker qualification rules, and more money, and longer periods allowed to collect it. This will be open to all sorts abuses.

Now the funny thing is that this story has been coasting under the radar. I went to my usual lefty source for news, The Toronto (red) Star and did a search for it. I plugged in the bill number, private members bill, employment insurance, and found exactly nothing. No information what ever.

Next stop The Globe and Mail. Same type of search, nothing, nada, zilch. Now on to the National Post. Same, same. Nothing found. I went back to the Toronto Sun and found another comment article on this bill, and finally a name of the author, Bloc MP Yves Lessard. Time to go digging again...

NOTHING!!!! There is precious little out there in our big name papers about this travesty. What are we doing here sleeping? Come on Canada, it's time to wake up and pay attention to what we are not being told.

I did do a Google search on this bill by the way. Two links I will leave for your perusal. One from a business site, and another from a Union site. Most of the relevant pages I pulled up from Google were from unions supporting this mess.

CFIB Blasts Opposition MPs on “Irresponsible” Employment Insurance Bill


Employment Insurance does need to be fixed, no question about it. There are flaws in the system, some areas of Canada can get it easier then others, and so on. More stuff for me to look into. Until then, we Canadians need to pay more attention to what our government is doing. The Opposition Parties are trying to do an end run and rule by a coalition. We stood up to them when they tried this before, we need to do so again.

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