Foote con­demns Con­ser­va­tive EI tax hikes, de­mands fix for sys­tem

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

Ran­dom-burin-st. Ge­orge’s MP Judy Foote says the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment must im­me­di­ately ad­dress the back­log of Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance ap­pli­ca­tions.

She also wants the govern­ment to fix the ex­ces­sive wait times for ap­pli­ca­tions to be pro­cessed and im­prove ser­vice to Cana­di­ans.

“My con­stituents in Ran­dom-bur­inSt. Ge­orge’s and Cana­di­ans across the coun­try are suf­fer­ing while they wait for their ap­pli­ca­tions to be pro­cessed and are un­able to find out in­for­ma­tion on their claims.

“They have mort­gages to pay, fam­i­lies to feed and there was lit­tle hol­i­day cheer for them this past Christ­mas. The pro­cess­ing wait times have be­come ex­ces­sively slow and peo­ple are un­able to find out if they are go­ing to be able to pay their bills on time be­cause they are un­able to get through to Ser­vice Canada.”

The MP’S of­fices have re­ceived an in­flux of phone calls from con­stituents anx­ious to get their ap­pli­ca­tions pro­cessed. She claimed when con­stituents con­tact Ser­vice Canada they are fre­quently told by an au­to­mated sys­tem they can­not be con­nected to a rep­re­sen­ta­tive, to call back the next day or to check the web­site.

“Of­ten, calls are dis­con­nected af­ter con­stituents have been on hold for ex­ces­sive wait times. Clearly, the Harper govern­ment does not un­der­stand the re­al­i­ties of Cana­di­ans who have lost their jobs and the im­por­tance of the timely pro­cess­ing of ap­pli­ca­tions. As well, many ru­ral Cana­di­ans can­not check the sta­tus of their claim online be­cause they do not have ac­cess to the in­ter­net.”

Mrs. Foote was care­ful to note Ser­vice Canada em­ploy­ees were do­ing the best they could with the lim­ited re­sources they are given by the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment.

She in­sisted the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment’s mod­ern­iza­tion of the sys­tem has been a dis­mal fail­ure.

“Stephen Harper’s cut­backs to EI pro­cess­ing cen­tres and mis­man­age­ment has led to a sys­tem that is not there for Cana­di­ans when they need it most. The Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment must im­me­di­ately add suf­fi­cient re­sources to fix the back­log of ap­pli­ca­tions, im­prove pro­cess­ing times and start pro­vid­ing proper ser­vice.”

Mean­while, Mrs. Foote cited the Con­ser­va­tive de­ci­sion to raise Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance pre­mi­ums Jan. 1 could not have come at a worse time.

She said the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment raised the job killing tax in spite of the Lib­er­als’ rec­om­men­da­tion to freeze the Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance premium.

“While the Cana­dian econ­omy re­mains frag­ile and the Depart­ment of Fi­nance has cut Canada’s 2012 eco­nomic growth fore­cast by 25 per cent from last year’s pro­jec­tions, the Harper Con­ser­va­tives have ir­re­spon­si­bly hiked the EI premium by $600 mil­lion. The Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance premium is a tax on jobs that will slow eco­nomic growth, hin­der job cre­ation and make it more dif­fi­cult for fam­i­lies to make ends meet.”

Mrs. Foote sug­gested for the sec­ond straight year, the Con­ser­va­tives have reck­lessly raised the Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance premium risk­ing Canada’s eco­nomic suc­cess. She said the av­er­age worker will now have to pay al­most $100 more this year than in 2010, and many em­ploy­ers will now have to pay up to $130 more for each of their em­ploy­ees.

“With eco­nomic growth slow­ing, the last thing my con­stituents need is for the Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment to make job cre­ation and em­ploy­ment more ex­pen­sive for busi­nesses.”

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