Letter: Wooing the bamboozled in election season

Feds celebrate having created 1.2 million net new jobs since the recession, but this has not even kept up with population growth.

To the editor:

According to Statistics Canada, Kelowna’s unemployment rate for April was sunny at 4.1 per cent, a full point lower than it was before the recession.

An inherent fault of the unemployment rate, however, is that it fails to count the “hidden unemployed” – the ones who don’t qualify for EI or whose benefits have expired, the discouraged workers who stop looking for work, the employees who are involuntarily working part-time or holding other precarious positions.

The hidden unemployed are becoming legendary, not least because of changing EI eligibility rules. In September 2014, it was reported that more than 60 per cent of unemployed Canadians fail to qualify for benefits. As for the precariat, the CBC reported earlier this month that “even in the glittering horseshoe of Southern Ontario, barely half of working adults have full-time permanent jobs, and almost all job growth now seems only to expand the insecure work, the kind that has little prospect of outstripping inflation.”

Adding to the problem that about half the employed of Kelowna are grossly underemployed, the employment rate in our city is two points lower than it was in May 2008. There are fewer people employed today than before the darkest days of the financial crisis.

That trend repeats at the national level. The government celebrates having created 1.2 million net new jobs since the recession, but this has not even kept up with population growth. Canada’s youth suffer in particular with an unemployment rate twice as high as the national average. Since the recession, there has not been a single month where the youth unemployment rate was as low or the employment rate as high as before the recession hit.

Given the upcoming election in October, it’s not surprising the Conservatives are out to woo the bamboozled. MP Ron Cannan recently announced a new project through the Youth Employment Strategy meant to help 48 youth in Kelowna gain the skills and experience they need to get jobs. MP Dan Albas has announced a new national program to help veterans increase skills training and enhance their employment opportunities.

But the witting amongst us remember that it was the Youth Employment Strategy that suffered the deepest cuts when a promised $97 million went unspent last year at Employment and Social Development Canada. We remember the promised but unspent $1.1 billion for Veterans Affairs, which was also reallocated to general revenues. Indeed, we remember the $1.8 billion that was raided from EI funds and likewise reallocated in preparation for Budget 2015. We whistle at the sheer audacity of these reckless politicians who’ve made brand new spending promises for the unemployed after balancing the budget on the backs of our struggling sons, daughters, vets, wives, husbands and neighbours.

As cheques change hands, glasses clink and voices become hilarious on the Conservative barbeque circuit this summer, we the unemployed and their justice-minded allies will be working towards the defeat of the Harper government this fall. Join us.

Dianne Varga,

Kelowna

 

Just Posted

Petition filed to supreme court on Peachtree Village

A petition was filed Wednesday by the Friends of Beach Avenue Association

Giving Tuesday will be celebrated in Vernon on Nov.28

Giving Tuesday Okanagan mobilizes to celebrate the global day of giving November 28

Lake Country plan recommends to save for emergencies

The financial plan will be presented to council Tuesday

Kelowna pot dispensary launches petition

One of the medical marijuana dispensaries being sued by the City of Kelowna is fighting back

Summerland mayor receives dead rats

Two rodents have been delivered to Peter Waterman’s doorstep

What’s happening

Find out what is going on this weekend in the Okanagan and Shuswap

Kelowna company offering calibration service cameras

Speedy Glass has been selected as one of 50 service centres

Big White has wet opening day

The resort only opened four out of 19 lifts

False killer whale ‘Chester’ dies at Vancouver Aquarium

He was found stranded near Tofino in July 2014 and only had a 10 per cent chance of making it at the time

Elves in search of their clothes

Eight costumes missing from Summerland Legion

Christmas dinner in West Kelowna

It is being held at Westbank Lions Community Centre, 2466 Main Street, West Kelowna, at 5:30 p.m.

Cougar confronts man in Clearwater

Clearwater resident Barry Joneson had a close encounter of the cougar kind

Letter: Closing pot shops not in public interest

Letter writer says the public is not being served by Kelowna, West Kelowna going after pot shops

Most Read