Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff, you were so happy to ?dodge the bullet? of a summer election that you badly ?dropped the ball? on extending a helping hand to Canadian workers who have suddenly found themselves unemployed, many for the first time in their working lives, in our current economic catastrophe. Those workers don?t need a technically tweaked EI programme in September, they need a helping hand for themselves and their families NOW!
Currently, employed Canadian workers will applaud that ?helping hand? because it is embedded in the human genome. Eons before recorded history we shared the result of our hunting/gathering efforts with our fellow villagers because we knew that, on the day that we came back empty-handed, our family would not go hungry.
Now don?t get all panicky looking for that dropped ball. Many of us have been thinking it over and have some suggestions:
- suspend EI regulations dealing with qualifying and benefit periods and the level of benefits until end-June 2010;
- retroactive for claims filed after 090101, the benefit period will equal the qualifying period, i.e. the number of weeks worked before becoming unemployed to a maximum of 60;
- so that pogey doesn?t exceed pay, benefit payments will equal ?cost of family living? in the claimant?s area of residence plus the costs of actively seeking employment (I?m certain that the diligent public servants in HRSDC who have developed the ?Market Basket Measure? can quickly provide accurate cost data for a weekly payment appropriate to families with one through five-or-more members.).
Please note that the design of this temporary ?helping hand? is just as beautifully simple, and well-rounded(!), as that ball you two dropped on Wednesday including that the benefit payments are ?equal? no matter where you are living in Canada. Moreover, when the acknowledged intelligence of our MPs is applied to getting this ?helping hand? into force.