Harper not do­ing enough to help un­em­ployed

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS -

Ran­dom-Burin-St. Ge­orge’s MP Judy Foote said freez­ing Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance (EI) pre­mi­ums is a step in the right di­rec­tion.

How­ever, she in­sisted the Harper govern­ment is still not do­ing enough to en­sure peo­ple who need ac­cess to EI are able to get that as­sis­tance.

“While I am pleased the fi­nance min­is­ter has de­cided to freeze EI pre­mi­ums for the next three years, af­ter years of steadily in­creas­ing the costs work­ers and em­ploy­ers must pay into the pro­gram, I re­main con­cerned the ex­ist­ing EI pro­gram is still in­ac­ces­si­ble to thou­sands of Cana­di­ans who need it.”

Mrs. Foote has long main­tained 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.

She noted the pre­vi­ous fed­eral Lib­eral govern­ment had low­ered EI pre­mi­ums 12 years in a row, sav­ing em­ploy­ees and their em­ploy­ers $59 bil­lion.

“Un­for­tu­nately, freez­ing EI pre­mi­ums for the next three years doesn’t make up for the bil­lions of dollars in in­creases the Con­serva- tives have forced work­ers and em­ploy­ers to pay.”

The MP said the Harper govern­ment must now take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to make EI more ac­ces­si­ble to those who need the sup­port and ad­dress un­ac­cept­able wait times for pro­cess­ing EI claims.

She chided the fi­nance min­is­ter for boast­ing about fewer Cana­di­ans claim­ing EI.

“What he fails to men­tion is that changes to EI im­ple­mented by the Harper govern­ment are mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult than ever for many Cana­di­ans to re­ceive the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance they so des­per­ately need from a pro­gram into which they have con­trib­uted.”

Mrs. Foote also be­lieves the Harper govern­ment must fo­cus on fac­tors driv­ing high un­em­ploy­ment and un­der­em­ploy­ment, as well as the need for im­proved skills train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion. She said Lib­eral leader Justin Trudeau has com­mit­ted to re­vers­ing “ir­re­spon­si­ble Con­ser­va­tive changes” to Em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance (EI) when the Lib­er­als form govern­ment so Cana­di­ans are no longer forced to move from their com­mu­ni­ties in or­der to find work.

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