Jim Flaherty's philosophy of employment

While deferring to Human Resources Minister Diane Finley for further details of what the government plans to accomplish with its unexplained budget bill amendments to employment insurance, Jim Flaherty hints at new expectations for the unemployed.

“There’ll be a broader definition and people will have to engage more in the work force,” said Mr. Flaherty, who then pointed to his own résumé from his student days at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “I was brought up in a certain way. There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job. So I drove a taxi. You know, I refereed hockey. You do what you have to do to make a living.”

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney offered similar sentiments last month.

The federal government wants to reduce disincentives to work and create a “greater connection” between the EI program and the temporary foreign worker program, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told the National Post editorial board this week. “If you don’t take available work, you don’t get EI,” he said. “That’s always been a legal principle of that program.”

Under the proposed reforms, unemployed Canadians who are receiving EI would be required to accept local jobs that are currently being filled by temporary foreign workers … “Nova Scotia provincewide has 10 per cent unemployment, but the only way Christmas tree operators can function in the Annapolis Valley is to bring in Mexicans through this agricultural worker program,” Kenney told the National Post.

The budget bill includes a reference to “suitable employment,” but the definition of suitable has not yet been explained. More from the Star.