Know Not, Have Not


Puzzled Icon released under GNU License by Christophe Dioux, obtained through Wikimediacommons

In my country, Ontario is now classified as a “have-not” province. What this means is that Ontario is not generating enough revenue to cover the cost of provincial government services. To compensate for this, we have an equalization payments system  (handled by the federal government)  that helps out those provinces considered “have-not”.This wasn’t always such the case for my home province. At one time, Ontario was Canada’s economic engine. Toronto once had enough financial clout to be seriously considered a “province” of it’s own. Ontario used to have a vibrant automotive industry in Windsor. That was then. Between a domestic shift of economic power to the West, and the continued outsourcing of jobs overseas to Europe and Asia, Ontario is not the darling of Confederation it once was.

A good chunk of the blame can be laid on the last three governments of Ontario. What has gone horribly wrong is an issue of leadership. More specifically, government no longer wants to take ownership of a problem and tackle it head on, such as unemployment. This trend began with the NDP in the early 1990s, the Progressive Conservative Party that followed, and now the Liberal Party, who are currently in power but as a minority government.  Let me share with you a personal example of what I mean.

TUJA of the “The Unknown Job Applicant” suggested in a comment to one of my posts that I contact my immediate representative in government about my dissatisfaction with the employment agencies. I thought it was a great idea, so away I went to prepare to do just that.

Kathleen Wynne is the MPP for the riding I live in. I’ve talked with her a few times in person and even participated in a couple of her “Earth Day” cleanups. She’s pro-transit and pro-clean energy. She’s a very approachable and likeable person, and is the first openly-gay cabinet minister in Ontario’s history — (Seinfeldin’) not that there is anything wrong with that! Nor is it relevant.

I’ve seen her ads on the elevator wall which says to contact her if anyone had questions or problems with government services, so I jotted down her Email address and wrote her a somewhat lengthy but well-paragraphed Email outlining my unemployment situation, outlining all the things I’ve tried (and mentioned in this blog). This included my three unsuccessful associations with employment agencies. I bolded this for a reason, which will become apparent later at the end of this post.

I won’t post the full Email here — as I said here, it is somewhat lengthy — but the closing paragraph of my Email stated the following:

I get the impression I’m missing something, but I can’t seem to find it. Perhaps there is a government service that works for mature workers like me, or maybe I need a suggestion that will get me to think out of the box. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to let me know.



In simple plain English, suggest something I haven’t done on the list in my Email. Don’t ask me to network with friends, co-workers and family members. Don’t suggest I use Workopolis, Torontojobshop, or Monster. Don’t tell me to peruse the newpaper classifieds. Don’t (especially) recommend I sign up with an employment agency. I’m doing all that already.

Give. Me. Something. Fresh.

Within two hours I got a reply back, which for government is surprisingly fast. My spirits were buoyed and my hopes were raised. What a shame that feeling did not last long.

I didn’t get a response back from Ms. Wynne, but instead from the Constituency Assistant of the Office of Kathleen Wynne, and here was her reply:

Hi David, 
 
Thank you for the e-mail. I am sorry to hear you are having a difficult time obtaining employment. I would recommend you contact a very good employment agency in Don Valley West: —– and ask for an appointment with an employment counsellor.  

Thanks,

Oh, for f—udge’s sake! I wrote in my Email I’ve been to three employment agencies, and now I’m getting a suggestion to contact a fourth one? Was my Email even read? Come on!

This is precisely what I meant earlier. This is not a government that solves problems, or even listens to the concerns of constituents like myself. This is a simple “pass-the-buck” right back to where I started.

Jethro Tull. No wonder Ontario is a have-not province.

Thanks for reading

David

P.S. I did make an appointment with this employment agency for next week. I don’t have a lot of optimism this fourth one will be any different than the last three, but I am going to give it a try. I’m willing to give anything a shot to get back to work.

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2 thoughts on “Know Not, Have Not

  1. My virtual ears were burning David. 🙂

    That’s really a shame that the Constituent Assistant all but ignored the content of your email, and just suggested more of the same. Frustrating!

    Let’s hope that your pessimism about them is proven wrong, and they turn out to be just what you need to get back into the working world. Fingers crossed for you.

    -TUJA

    1. It was still good advice on your part, and I do plan to follow up on it next week. I still think the assistant’s suggestion is a wild goose chase, but I’ll gladly eat a big heaping bowl of crow if it gets me some sort of work.

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