To the Editor:
Working people across Saskatchewan are voicing their concern about the Harper Government’s recently-announced changes to Employment Insurance (EI). Not only have Government Members failed to provide evidence that their changes to the program are necessary, but they’ve made changes that are mean-spirited and unfair to unemployed working people.
The changes we’re seeing to EI are not based on any need; they’re simply ideological. The government seems to be under the impression that Canada is full of unemployed people that can simply move into vacant positions. Well, the truth is that for every vacant position in Canada, there are six unemployed people. This is an attempt by the Harper Conservatives to blame others for their poor performance on the job front.
Adding to the pressures that unemployed working people already face, the Government will force EI recipients to provide stringent reports on their activities. In addition to causing concerns about the costs to administer the changes to the program, the Government has drawn attention because of the mean-spirited nature of its changes. Some EI recipients could now be forced to commute over an hour, in each direction, to jobs that pay them only 70 per cent of what they earned in their fields of specialization.
Other than as an employer, the Federal Government does not contribute a single cent to the EI program, and they have absolutely no evidence to suggest that changes to it are necessary. Above all, unemployed working people want to be treated with fairness, and they aren’t getting it from the Harper Government.
The SFL represents over 98,000 working people across the province in 37 affiliated unions.
Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour.