I would like to congratulate Russell Wangersky for his column in The Telegram on March 18, titled “Cutting holes in the safety net — on purpose.”
As we approach the 75th anniversary of the “Unemployment and Social Insurance Act,” which was designed to give critical support to the unemployed, their families and Canadian communities, we find instead the system is being attacked and dismantled by the Harper government. And they are doing it by stealth.
It is deeply disturbing to watch the Tory government make such destructive, harmful changes to the EI program — one of our country’s true social safety nets.
These latest changes to EI were contained in Bill C-38 — the notorious April 2012 omnibus budget — and done without any consultation or debate with Canadians.
You have to wonder why it’s even necessary to be attacking the unemployed when you consider the former Liberal federal government took $57 billion out of that very same fund!
Maybe the reason Harper and the Tories were so secretive in the federal election of 2011 about these sweeping changes was because his government wanted to put downward pressure on the wages of all workers.
Wasn’t it just last year that we found out about plans to exploit temporary foreign workers even more by having some of them work for 15 per cent less money than other workers in their field?
Instead of trying to impoverish unemployed workers we should be seeking reforms that benefit workers and their communities. That’s the kind of Canada I want to live in and leave for my children and my grandchildren.
The Harper government should rescind all 2012 and 2013 budgeted measures related to EI and improve EI benefits for all workers, including temporary foreign workers.
president, CUPE NL