The government has been hammered from the left and the right for the proposed EI changes. Many of the comments I’ve had emailed to me by viewers of this program are of the opinion that this is a program fully funded by workers and so workers can take what they want from it.
Not quite so.
I’ll give you some straight numbers on this and then get to the story of Little Lizzie May and her pogey lifestyle.
This year, the maximum amount that any Canadian paying into the EI system will contribute is $839.97. Their employer will contribute 1.4 times that amount to a maximum of $1,175.96. If you live in Quebec the numbers are different so I’ll just focus on the rest of the country.
Now you have to earn $45,900 in a year to pay this maximum. That’s about the average Canadian income for a full time worker, perhaps a little lower but not by much. Now the government is taking aim at frequent flyers, people that go on pogey again and again. Not for short periods - say 6 weeks in between jobs, but people that work a few months and then spend months more on pogey.
Most of these people will not have paid the maximum. I mean how many Canadians earn $45,000 in six months? A few sure but not that many. But let’s say you did and then took pogey for six months.
You would have paid $839 and your employer $1,175 and then for the next six months you would collect $12,600. Is that a case of taking out what you put in or is that a case of abusing the system when you do this year in and year out.
Elizabeth May abused the system in my eyes. She said that when she needed the system she used it. She told reporters this. And she did this for several years while working as a waitress at her family’s restaurant. It was a tourist place that shut down in the fall and didn’t open until spring.
Bloggers such as Small Dead Animals picked up on this shortly after May made the statements. May used the system to pay for her activist lifestyle. She became a prominent environmental activist during the time when she admits that she was going on the dole each winter.
A young woman from a well to do Connecticut family was living off the payments made by hard working Canadians to support her lifestyle.
Here’s how the blogger Publius put it.
“So a family of rich foreign Leftists comes to Canada, starts up a business in a remote though beautiful part of the country, struggles for several years and is aided by the Canadian taxpayer. Just makes you tear right up, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to move to a lovely stretch of the Maritimes and get the government to subsidize our lifestyle choices?”
And often times that is what is happening. We are subsidizing someones lifestyle choice. The regular annual users aren’t just taking out what they are putting in. They are taking out much more which means rates for you and I and the employers that hire us must be higher to pay for those guys.
If you choose to work in a seasonal job that only runs a few months a year that’s great but no one owes you an income the other six months of the year. The guys I know who are running lawn care companies right now, can normally be found plowing snow come winter. Or they find winter work. Most don’t say that they’ve cut grass and have done their part.
These changes are for the best for everyone and should be supported by the left and the right as good for working Canadians. We should all support them unless that is you feel entitled to your entitlements.
And that’s the Byline.