Saturday, April 21, 2012

Federal Aid for Victim's Families'

Yesterday, Stephen Harper announced the new Federal aide program for the families of victims of homicide and disappearance. It is a start but in my opinion no way near where it should be. The program  will help families for a period of 35 weeks who have lost a child under the age of 18 to either homicide or  a disappearance. The person applying must have an income of  over $6,500.00 per year which would entitle them to  receive $350.00 per week and be assured that their job  awaits them at the end of the period.

Firstly,  the government  has forgotten all those who have been victims of homicide or who have disappeared who are over the age of 18. Also the government has not taken into consideration that 35 week is hardly enough to get over the loss, deal with the police and crown. Nor will any court proceeding be held during this period.

I had proposed to government officials a few years ago that a program under the  compassionate leave program with the E.I. act include families of those murdered or of disappearance. It would have included all  and not just victims under 18 years old. Also, my idea would have give have possibly given  more income to the families based on 55% of their salary for a period of one year providing that they would have been contributing to employment insurance benefits.  Don't forget, here in Quebec our labour standards allow someone to be absent from their job for up to a  year without  pay. They also would of had job protection. I felt that the program through E.I. would of complemented our Quebec program.

What  Harper does not understand  is that  families still have to pay bills, feed and take care of  the rest of the family members and live through the grief, post traumatic stress, court and eventual return to work.

Imagine a family where the father is the only bread winner. His regular  earnings are $80.000. 00 a  year and now faces this terrible trauma in his family's  life. He is unable to go to work and decides to stay home. He is not going to be able to survive on $350.00 a week. This is where  many employers will allow the employee to go on a absence management program. With that, and company insurance benefits accompanied by a doctor's certificate would be far more beneficial to the worker than any government run program.

It is only those families who do not have company benefits  that will  use the government program. For me,  the government is  not giving up alot. It is not everyday thank goodness that  someone under 18 is murdered or disappears.

I feel that Harper  has no choice but to finally step up  to the plate and help victims.He has Pierre- Hugues Boisvenu  as a Senator and I am sure that Pierre- Hugues has educated Harper regarding victim's rights.

All this being said  however, does not influence  how I will vote in the next eventual federal election. Harper still has a long way to go before convincing me of his worth.

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