Blaming unemployment on the poor won’t wash

Blaming unemployment on the poor won't wash I remember the reason that was used to start the Foreign Worker Program. It was "because of the aging population of workers." Within two years, that became "because locals don't want to work" and now as I read

I remember the reason that was used to start the Foreign Worker Program. It was “because of the aging population of workers.” Within two years, that became “because locals don’t want to work” and now as I read the online comments relating to the story featuring Rick Karp of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce (the Yukon News, April 26) I see that once again the disadvantaged are being blamed for the alleged employee shortage by some of the misguided.

I am a mature Canadian, educated and experienced in the workforce, but I have been forced to use a job experience program through Social Services because I have not been able to secure employment myself.

I have an excellent work record and present well to the public. Interviews seem to go well but I never hear back. Among numerous others, I recently applied for a job at the Canadian Tire garden centre. I have previous garden centre experiences and garden myself, but as I left I realized they hadn’t even asked for my references. I never heard back.

I went back to Social Services to ask for another “job experience” because I need a job!

These work experience programs are paid for by the government and it often comes down to free labour for the employer. I know locals of all ages who are struggling just to survive. The Yukon government also pays the tuition of many people who go through Yukon College as I did, but don’t hire them for the jobs they are educated for.

People want to work. People need to work, not just for money but for their well-being! How sad that there are still so many people who believe that we are all equal with equal opportunities and that it is just a matter of “getting off our ass and going to work!” Anyone who has participated in the game StarPower has learned that this is not the truth. We do not live in an equal opportunity society. That is reality.

Idle No More is a movement that has become increasingly necessary for the well-being of all and I hope that it continues to increase in size and momentum. This grassroots movement is a long-overdue revolt against political power that holds itself above the very laws created to protect citizens against abuses by, and of, this power.

People who dare to speak up and challenge the status quo risk further discrimination and abuse, but we must start using our voices in unity to push back at self-serving government, corporations and companies. If we don’t use our collective force to hold powers accountable for criminal behaviour and blatant disregard of law we can resign ourselves to perpetuating the illusion of equality, human rights, and justice that the Canadian and Yukon governments are so adept at. Come on, people, our political system is more than broken. It’s completely rotten.

Just another unemployed Yukon citizen.

Judith Desjardins

Whitehorse