Extortion by the Harper Conservative government - "You can’t blame someone for saying it’s not worth the hassle to fight for what they’re owed, not after weeks or months of blather. But you can be rightfully disgusted with a government that uses its overwhelming power to essentially extort money it owes to people who are without the power to fight back effectively.
It’s holes in that safety net cut by a government that just doesn’t care who falls through."
Cutting holes in the safety net — on purpose
“For those of you who haven’t claimed EI. Don’t, it’s not worth the hassle.”
That’s a line from a social media posting on Monday, from a young man between jobs and looking to make a claim on the insurance he’s paid into for years. And it’s far from the only one.
You hear the stories every day: workers on medical leave, all the papers in order, signed sealed and delivered, who don’t wind up getting benefits until after they’ve returned to work. Others try and try to sort out claims, but can’t even get through to a human being to sort out their issues for weeks on end. Cheques that take months to arrive, while arrears pile up in rent, mortgage payments and on credit card statements.
It all looks like a lesson that the federal government has actually managed to take from business, more particularly from the actual insurance business: drag your feet long enough, put enough hurdles in the way, and a good proportion of people will get fed up and give in, even if they are legitimately owed benefits.
Make it hellish enough, and almost anyone will walk away.
It may be a pragmatic way to save a few bucks.
It’s also theft. The federal government has shown that, when there is a surplus in the EI account, it’s quite willing to take that money and apply it to the federal debt.
In other words, it is willing to take money it has no right to — benefits that, through sheer delay and blunt-force intransigence, it has stolen from its rightful owners.