LILLEY: Crisis reveals divide over who gets paid at home

Call it an unexpected side effect of the coronavirus crisis that has gripped Canada. We are about to see a class war break out if these social distancing measures keep people out of work and without pay.

I’m not talking about the old-fashioned class wars where the workers try to seize the means of production from their rich bosses; there won’t be any factory takeovers here.

I’m talking about the bad blood that could soon develop between those private-sector workers being thrown out of work as the government shuts down all manner of businesses and public-sector workers sent home with pay.

I know there are many good civil servants at all levels but especially with the federal and provincial governments who are working hard to deliver on the promises governments have made. Those assistance plans won’t build themselves, they require dedicated staff to get the job done.

Then there are the Service Canada workers: The people who should be there helping the more than 1 million people who have applied for Employment Insurance effectively walked off the job.

The union representing the workers who help Canadians applying for E.I. or all other manner of government services simply said it wasn’t safe to open anymore.

Tell that to the local store clerk who has to keep showing up to work.

The plexiglass barriers we are seeing pop-up across the country in retail establishments are apparently not good enough for Service Canada workers who can go home and collect full pay.

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