Editor: Most of us would be quite surprised to know that 46 per cent of all Islanders live within the urban Employment Insurance zone that is proposed. How could it be and why should it be that a resident of Mayfield on Route 13 is treated differently from a resident of Rusticoville on Route 6 when they live within hollering distance? How is it just that an Islander from Alexandra should be treated differently from an Islander from Tea Hill just because they live on either side of a line imposed by some faceless bureaucrats.
How was this artificial line arrived at? Some big wig in Ottawa drew a sweeping red line around Charlottetown and said it must have more employment opportunities than the rest of the Island and so EI must be made less generous there and more difficult to get. Make it so.
Were existing lines of demarcation between municipalities, counties, federal ridings, or provincial ridings adequate? Could they create a new line on their own? Apparently not. By default they latched onto Statistics Canadaâ€™s Census Agglomeration Map for Charlottetown.
Islanders are used to lines â€” lines of demarcation, lines of separation, real lines, intangible lines, imaginary lines, lines between races, faiths, creeds, points or origin, wealth, class, poverty, place of birth and place of death, lines not to be crossed. Most of these lines have come to be seen as signs of ignorance, fear, intolerance and stupidity, cast off and cast away by knowledge, understanding, compassion and hope for a better Island and a better life.
When it comes to fairness in the EI system, the only line that should be considered is the shoreline.