Fed­eral Op­po­si­tion mad about EI

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Sher­brooke

New Demo­crat MPS Pier­reLuc Dusseault (Sher­brooke), Jean Rousseau (Comp­ton– Stanstead), Pierre Ja­cob ( Brome-Mis­sisquoi), as well as the Mou­ve­ment des chômeurs et chômeuses de l’estrie and the Fédéra­tion des tra­vailleurs du Québec (FTQ), slammed rad­i­cal changes to the EI pro­gram by the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment at a press con­fer­ence, last Fri­day, sparsely at­tended by the me­dia who were all at the Court cov­er­ing the sy­ringe mad­man fi­nally ar­rested the day be­fore.

As re­ported, the Harper Con­ser­va­tives re­cently an­nounced that some un­em­ployed will now have to ac­cept any job lo­cated less than an hour from their home, even if the wages of­fered are less than 30% of their pre­vi­ous job, or else their ben­e­fits will be can­celled.

“There’s no rea­son for this kind of dis­crim­i­na­tion against Canada’s un­em­ployed,” said Dusseault, the Baby of the House as tra­di­tion­ally the youngest mem­ber of the House of Com­mons is named; he is a tad over twenty. “This pro­gram must re­main ac­ces­si­ble to those who need it. Sea­sonal work­ers, nu­mer­ous in Que­bec and Estrie, will be par­tic­u­larly disad­van­taged be­cause they don’t have con­trol over the length of their em­ploy­ment.”

“This ges­ture be­trays a mis­trust, or even ha­tred to­wards work­ers who lose their jobs,” added local MP Jean Rousseau. “I strongly op­pose it.”

MP Pierre Ja­cob, whose rid­ing’s econ­omy de­pends on tourism, an­tic­i­pates se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions on sea­sonal work­ers. “Th­ese

new changes to EI will pe­nal­ize sea­sonal work­ers to the detri­ment of tourism, which is an im­por­tant eco­nomic sec­tor and cor­re­sponds to the so­cio-eco­nomic re­al­ity of our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

The Mou­ve­ment des chômeurs et chômeuses de l’Estrie also con­demns the Con­ser­va­tives’ dis­grace­ful ges­ture. “This fear cam­paign says a lot about the ar­ro­gance of the cur­rent govern­ment,” said Denis Poudrier. “Al­ready, many work­ers who lost their jobs aren’t el­i­gi­ble for EI. Th­ese changes will make it even more com­pli­cated for job seek­ers.”

Sim­i­lar con­cerns come from the

Fédéra­tion des tra­vailleurs du Québec (FTQ). “The em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance fund is paid for by work­ers and em­ploy­ers. The govern­ment should keep its nose out of it. The Con­ser­va­tives are act­ing like it’s their money, like the Lib­er­als did in the past. We must fight th­ese new mea­sures that pe­nal­ize work­ers,” con­cluded Marc Belle­mare. Mr. Belle­mare ad­mit­ted un­der ques­tion­ing from this news­pa­per that sta­tis­tics on un­em­ploy­ment are un­re­li­able as they in­volved an­swer­ing ques­tions in a sur­vey. If some­one an­swers that they worked only one hour in a week, they are counted as work­ing.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

United in their con­dem­na­tion of the Con­ser­va­tive’s changes to the EI Pro­gram were (l. to r.) Denis Poudrier, Marc Belle­mare, NDP MPs Pierre-Luc Dusseault, Pierre Ja­cob and Jean Rousseau.

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