24 February 2009

Encouraging Western Alienation

While the auto industry has received the largest share of attention from our federal politicians, it's the two westernmost provinces which have taken the greatest hit in terms of increased unemployment - as registered by EI rolls, that is.

You are also "unemployed," though not officially, if you don't qualify for EI or have given up in despair and stopped looking for work.
The number of British Columbians receiving Employment Insurance benefits in December 2008 was up 33.2 percent from the same month a year earlier.

The gain was the largest in Canada, with Alberta (30.3 percent) and Ontario (29.6 percent) close behind, according to figures released by Statistics Canada today.

Across Canada the average increase was 16.6 percent.

Of course, men disproportionately bolstered those numbers (21.7 percent more of them were on EI than the previous year), given that far more men are employed in situations which qualify them to collect EI if ever they need it. The number of women on EI increased by only 8.6 percent.
Of Canadian cities, Victoria had the fourth largest gain, with 49.1 percent more people receiving EI than a year earlier.

Once again "the West" has been paid little attention by the federal government. Sure, the HarperCons are taking care, somewhat, of their own backyard.

But British Columbia? We're nowhere on the radar. Except when times are booming and British Columbians' tax dollars flow to bulging federal coffers.

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