To the editor,
Canadians who have lost their jobs, as well as seasonal industries, are under assault from the Conservative government.
The Conservatives have rammed through dramatic changes to the employment insurance system that force many Canadians looking for work to travel far outside their communities and accept nearly a third less pay for those jobs – or risk losing their EI benefits.
These changes penalize seasonal workers and the industries that employ them, and are an attack on the Atlantic economy, which disproportionately relies on season industries.
They will force workers out of their industries, draining away their skilled labour force.
For example, in the construction industry many workers struggle to find work as building slows during the winter months, but their specialized skills are needed to undertake the jobs that do come.
The changes also hurt Nova Scotia’s fishing, tourism, farming and other seasonal industries.
Adding insult to injury, the Conservative government is also sending unannounced “inspectors” door-to-door to visit the homes of people on EI, a shocking and unnecessary invasion of their privacy. The Tories claim this will crack down on hundreds of millions of dollars of fraud, but fail to mention that nearly every dollar is recouped each year, without resorting to these new, intrusive home inspections. These Conservatives believe less in legitimate investigation and more in deliberate intimidation of our most vulnerable and in need.
No one should be punished for the nature of their employment, yet that is exactly what the Conservatives are doing. They seem hell-bent on labelling anyone on EI as lazy and irresponsible, and assume claimants are guilty of fraud until proven innocent.
It’s time the unemployed get the respect they are due—not Conservative cuts aimed at pleasing their ideological base.
Rodger Cuzner, MP Liberal Party Human Resources & Skills Development Critic