Archived Winnipeg Labour Council Stories

Employment Insurance Should be Election Issue


Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti says that if Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to fight an election over Employment Insurance he should "bring it on." Harper said recently that he's prepared to fight an election rather than accept Opposition party demands that would make it easier for unemployed workers to receive Employment Insurance.

In response to questions from Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, Harper said "If that leader wants to go out and tell Canadians that he thinks they should pay higher payroll taxes so that people can work 45 days and then collect EI for a year, every single year in every single region of the country, well, we're ready to take him on."

Georgetti says that Harper's remarks insult Canadian workers by implying that people would sooner collect EI than work. Georgetti says also that Harper should know that most workers are not eligible to collect EI for a year.

"The reality is that more than one in three workers in Canada - especially women, youth and recent immigrants - survive by patching together part-time and temporary and contract jobs to make a living. Most fall through the cracks of the flawed EI system when they are laid off because they do not have enough hours."


Harper Misleading People

Georgetti says also that Harper is misleading people by saying improvements to EI would necessarily mean higher EI premiums for workers and their employers.

"Stephen Harper's government squandered a $57 billion EI surplus and now when it's most needed, he says the unemployed must fend for themselves. If Mr. Harper wants to fight an election on this issue, I say bring it on."


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