Monday, January 26, 2009

What I need in this budget

In the last 12 month period I have lost two jobs. The first position was one which I held for 7 years. After 2006, with a Conservative government, EcoAction funding was slashed. I lost two co-workers immediately, Over the course of the next two years funding continually dwindled to the point that I was notified I would also have to go in order for the organization to stay belly up. To avoid lay-off I managed to get another job and avoided having to apply for Employment Insurance. Failure on the Conservatives part to be truthful and actually do something to head of the worst of the recession resulted in a second job loss.

After 6 weeks I finally was approved for EI for only 20 weeks. A coworker with less hours than I and after only working 6 months received 30 weeks. Make sense? Not to me. After 8 years of paying EI I get diddly squat after 6 weeks of surviving on my own. EI covers my rent and student loans only. Yet I hear Harper is extending benefits to self employed women, a group who don't even qualify. Buying votes again, I see.

I know I will be recalled back to my previous job in March/April but the problem is that the EI program will not get me that far. All gains I have made since graduating will be wiped at that point. I will have exhausted my savings and may have to default on student loans.

What I expect to see from the government is that they treat the program as it should be, not as if it is being administered by Manulife Insurance. I paid in, so pay out. Give me the max coverage or from here on in stop deducting it from payroll. I'll bank it myself. Give an actual 55% of wages and do not cap it. Get rid of the waiting period and stop clawing back money should someone unfortunately luck into a part time service job. I don't want free money, I want to get from point A to point B without losing everything I have. I paid premiums for a reason. Its the least I am owed after the mess the current government has allowed to happen. I don't care about tax cuts because currently I and other unemployed people have NO INCOME!

I expect nothing from the current government, a continuation of what they haven't been doing is no surprise. My expectations fall squarely on Michael Ignatieff. He's talked a great deal about what he wants in the budget but hasn't said exactly what he will do if it doesn't contain what he wants. I expect Mr. Ignatieff to vote it down and go to an election or a coalition. I expect nothing else. This, to me, is a test of his leadership and whether I can support him as a leader of the Liberal Party. This time my party leader's choice will definitely affect my life immediately.

I hope I am not let down but I'm not holding my breath. Recommend this Post