Joy LANGAN

LANGAN, Joy

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Mission--Coquitlam (British Columbia)
Birth Date
January 23, 1943
Deceased Date
July 30, 2009
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_Langan
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=f589a667-2e1e-4106-aa66-50b7ee358ea8&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
composer, copywriter, director, journalist

Parliamentary Career

November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
NDP
  Mission--Coquitlam (British Columbia)
  • Deputy Whip of the N.D.P. (January 22, 1990 - January 1, 1994)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 110)


March 26, 1993

Ms. Joy Langan (Mission -Coquitlam):

Madam Speaker, members of the government from the Prime Minister on down have made much of their policy of zero tolerance for sexual abuse and sexual assault. Far too often, however, their words do not match their actions.

In an article in today's Ottawa Citizen Transport Canada is reported to be considering granting one year's leave so that a convicted child molester can serve his sentence and then return to his job. What kind of zero tolerance message is that?

Zero tolerance means that those convicted of violence against women, no matter if the woman is 13 or 30, must not be allowed to take advantage of work place policies such as leave of absence. That a convicted abuser could see his job held open for him is unacceptable. What is needed from this government is action, not more pious rhetoric.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SEXUAL ABUSE
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March 24, 1993

Ms. Langan:

My colleague has said "political fraud'' and I think that probably is a good way of putting it. It is absolutely unjust, unfair and unqualified harassment of the Canadian unemployed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   POINT OF ORDER
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March 24, 1993

Ms. Langan:

Madam Speaker, the question that comes from the hon. member is an indication of the lack of understanding of what this bill does to women in particular in this country.

"Is it fair for women who have to 'man'." The word nowadays is "staff" a cash register in a department store or other work place. Is it fair that she has to work and put her children in child care? That is if she can get child care. If she cannot, she will be cut off unemployment insurance if she has to quit her job unless she can prove in the regulations that were tabled in this House the other day and out of a document that came from the department that she has tried to get her spouse to take care of the child, that she has gone to her employer and asked for a change of shift, that she has asked the employer for the ability to have work sharing or that she has asked her boss for unpaid leave. If she has not done all of those things and asked for unpaid leave, then she is not eligible for unemployment insurance.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   POINT OF ORDER
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March 24, 1993

Ms. Joy Langan (Mission -Coquitlam):

Madam Speaker, I was in the process of quoting remarks made by Judy Rebick from the NAC in appearing before the committee on Bill C-113. I was outlining the costs she saw under this bill: "There will be an additional 200 appeal workers and estimates are that it will be more than that because of the increase that happened when the penalties were placed. There was a huge increase in appeals, from a few a week to constant every day appeals. We are now going to have even more under this new legislation because people are being thrown off UI altogether.

How much money is really being saved? Very little. We do not believe this is a deficit reduction, member. We believe it is a political attack on unemployed people, on women and an attempt to bring our UI system into harmony with the American UI system".

I would like to introduce something into my remarks and read it into the record for the benefit of those unemployment help centres across the country that are advocacy centres and for those who just might be watching and want to know what their rights are under this bill. I would like to read into the record a few instructions that are proposed in a booklet called "For a Just Cause". It is a UI handbook produced for workers by workers. It is printed by the Public Service Alliance of Canada and it is from UI workers whose wages, I might add, were frozen at zero for the next two years by this bill.

March 24. 1993

Those UI workers are very concerned about what the impact of this bill is going to be on those Canadians who are facing unemployment. In particular, I want to address my remarks to the just cause for quitting a job section and being fired for cause.

The question in the booklet is: "What are just causes for quitting a job?" The response, and I again point out this is from unemployment insurance workers who are the front line workers: "Just cause is defined in the UI act as having no reasonable alternative to immediately leaving the employment. You will not be disqualified from UI benefits if you have just cause for quitting your job: you quit because of a hostile attitude toward you created by your employer or supervisor; you quit because your employer is breaking the law, for example, you were not being paid and you reported the employer to the provincial or territorial authorities; you quit because your employer is harassing you for your union activities; you quit because your boss forced you to quit or be fired, forced early retirement or buy-out package.

Just cause is not limited to these reasons. For example, just cause might exist if: you quit because you had been working away from home for a long time and it is causing family problems; you quit because you were working away from home and had to return because of an illness in the family. However you may be disentitled for not being available for work".

There is an example listed.

"Suppose, before the changes to UI, you were being sexually harassed at work. You did not tell the person harassing you to stop; you did not go to the union steward or to the employer. You just wanted to get out of there so you quit. You probably would not have shown just cause and you would have been disqualified for seven to twelve weeks because you did not do everything possible to avoid quitting. The changes to UI mean that you will not receive UI benefits at all because you did not do everything possible to avoid quitting".

Government Orders

In other words, as a woman who is being sexually harassed you must confront your harasser and your employer before you are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

The question then becomes: What does misconduct mean? Misconduct means you have been fired from your job because you have done something improper or unacceptable for an employee to do. It can be either criminal or non-criminal.

That brings me to another matter that is under discussion or that would draw a nice analysis between this bill and the justice system in Canada. What is the difference between a UI claimant in Canada and an accused criminal in Canada? Under the criminal justice system the onus of proof is on the system. For a UI claimant the onus of proof is on the claimant.

Under the criminal justice system the person is innocent until proven guilty. Under the unemployment insurance system the claimant is guilty until proven innocent.

Under the criminal justice system criminal justice is guided by laws that must be changed by statute. It is a rigorous process. UI is guided by directives that can be changed by the commission at any time and that can be interpreted loosely or severely.

Under the criminal justice system all witnesses are treated equally before the law. Under UI, employers have more power through the separation slip and through the approach recommended by the UI directives than does the claimant.

Under the criminal justice system decisions are made first by police for information gathering, then by the Crown attorney's decision to proceed with charges and then by judges and/or juries. Under the UI system the UI agent is a police officer, lawyer and judge usually with the responsibility for making the decision all alone.

I could go on. There is a whole page full of these analogies but I think I have made my point on that.

March 24, 1993

Government Orders

I would like to suggest to all those people who are interested in UI and who want to know what their rights are under this act that they should contact their local Public Service Alliance of Canada office or the office of their member of Parliament to ask for the document "For a Just Cause".

I would like to say that the minister in committee told an anecdote about workers in his riding and I have a short anecdote too to close my remarks. A young man was out on the town in his home town. This is an anecdote by the way that was told to me in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He went across the line to have a few drinks on his motorcycle. He came back to town and had a bit of an accident on his motorcycle. He fell off his bike, injured his eye and had to miss some work. Let us say that man's boss had penalized him and fired him for not attending work because he had had an accident that the boss may have felt was self-inflicted. Would that young man have been eligible for unemployment insurance? The group of people who were discussing this, among them people who work in UI offices, said: "No, absolutely not".

What happened to that young man who was from New Brunswick who would not have been eligible for UI? That young man got two weeks at the Prime Minister's summer home for his troubles.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   POINT OF ORDER
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March 24, 1993

Ms. Langan:

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Were he allowed to be present the hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca would have voted with his party.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   POINT OF ORDER
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