New Brunswick — A fish processing company based out of New Brunswick had some harsh words to say about government handouts. No, not those ones—or those ones—or these, either. Specifically, they’re talking about the ones that ensure people who lose their jobs don’t immediately become homeless.
Employment insurance a program for people who who were laid off through no fault of their own, who earn a portion of their income for a period of several weeks while they look for another job. The company targeted this as the reason people don’t want to work for them.
“It boggles my mind that people would rather take 55% of their previous earnings when we’re willing to pay them 56% of what they were making,” said the company’s vice-president, Johnathan Trout. “Frankly, I smell something fishy, and that’s not just because I haven’t been able to smell literally anything else since I started working here.”
The company argued that, by keeping wages low, they are doing their part to keep the economy chugging along.
“We know that if we paid people more, then they would only make more money off of EI when we inevitably lay them off,” Trout said. “That would give them even more reason not to take low-wage jobs in the future.”
“A good business is like a family,” Trout continued, waxing poetic. “So, to take this analogy further, if a child’s parents suddenly dies, why shouldn’t they immediately want to do chores for their neighbours in exchange for room and board? That’s just basic survival techniques, and that’s what these programs are de-incentivizing. ”
Some have argued that this dismissal of social programs is hypocritical, since the company has taken millions in government subsidies in exchange for new infrastructure and jobs, which the company has consistently failed to deliver.
“Nonsense. Because of these funds we actually have jobs,” Trout said, smugly. “We have the right to this money because we actually pay into it with our tax dollars.”
There was an awkward pause.
“Well, I don’t, but the company does…I think.”
Premier Blaine Higgs echoed these statements later that day.
“With the recent layoffs from Irving Oil, McCain, and even within the government, there are more people on EI than ever before,” he said. “With these local businesses failing, I think it’s our citizens’ civic duty to stimulate the local economy — by taking jobs at McDonald’s, Subway and Tim Hortons.”