Federal Opposition mad about EI
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.
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.