Changing EI criteria for all

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Is federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea waving the white flag on her government’s ill-conceived changes to Employment Insurance?

Her Feb. 20 surprise announcement in P.E.I. that the calculation criteria for workers in “more remote” parts of P.E.I. appears to be a tacit acknowledgement that the changes are negatively affecting communities.

And if this isn’t just a cynical ploy to buy votes by the fisheries minister — as many political observers have already noted — then we look forward to this change being rolled out into every community across the country.

While CUPE supports more assistance for unemployed — especially those who are unemployed in areas of high unemployment, seasonal workers and those who are long-term unemployed in areas with no jobs — it seems patently unfair to announce changes for rural P.E.I. only.

While we agree that administrative zones have their place in the EI system, all of P.E.I. is a rural region and should remain one zone. 

These arbitrary boundaries that have been established make no sense.

We have very small communities that are considered urban but the city of Summerside (which just happens to be Minister Shea’s riding) is considered rural.

Shea’s “changes” mean increased access to EI in the minister’s own riding, at the expense of P.E.I. residents outside her riding in places like Charlottetown.

We would also remind voters that back in April 2012, Gail Shea and all of her cabinet colleagues supported Bill C38 — the notorious Omnibus Budget — that contained these egregious changes in the first place.

The federal government needs to scrap their changes to the EI system and enact the more reasonable recommendations brought forward by labour in our submission to the EI panel.

Lori MacKay

president, CUPE Prince Edward Island

Daniel Légère

president, CUPE New Brunswick

Danny Cavanagh

president, CUPE Nova Scotia                                                                                    

Wayne Lucas

president, CUPE Newfoundland Labrador    

Geographic location: P.E.I., Summerside, Labrador

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  • Cashin Delaney
    February 27, 2014 - 08:25

    Egregious is a word you have to go looking for, and I can come up with a short list of more appropriate ones to use. The problem I have with it, is that the original meaning comes from the Latin root for herd. It's archaic meaning, which makes it a "squirmy word", is actually quite opposite from today's common definition. It used to mean outstandingly good - nowadays, it means outstandingly bad. It reflects the idea that long ago, before closed shop unions, it was good to be outstanding... You are UNION LEADERS, not poets, and surely you must be direct, and not elusive with YOUR HERD when making your word heard? The word refers to sheep in old Italy. The goats that run the Unions, and the sheep within it can do better, and deserve better than to have the wool pulled over their eyes by the Feds. But could the union support that by speaking plainly and lose the thesaurus? This ain't no better than Lana Payne coming in with the high heat with her hate-on for Harper. Light, light, light - please! I keep getting the feeling that the Unions are like that skinny guy with the puffy coat who mouths off to big guys and then finds his closest buddy before the fight starts and clings into him shouting "HOLD ME BACK" Get smarter, get tougher, or get out of the fire!!

    • Mark
      February 27, 2014 - 08:50

      Huh?

    • Fred
      February 27, 2014 - 09:54

      Take it easy buddy, politics is like wrestling, you loke stupid if you out commenting on WWE like it matters. its a show buddy, lighten up