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Broderick says Harper’s EI changes ‘destroying rural communities’

CBC reports, “Islanders spoke about employment insurance Tuesday to a committee touring the region to learn about the impact of EI changes. The panel set up by the Atlantic premiers was in Tignish, an area hard-hit by unemployment. It’s also the riding of federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea.”

“Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians said (the EI changes) hurt communities. ‘These impacts are destroying rural communities’, he said. ‘In West Prince and in the Tignish area, we’re hearing there are just dozens and dozens of people heading out west.'”

In November 2013, he commented, “The people in these communities believe it is the policy of the federal government to create this situation in Prince Edward Island to shut down communities so that they will have to go serve the oil patch in Alberta and Saskatchewan.”

Broderick, the vice-chairperson of the Council of Canadians, participates in the P.E.I. Coalition for Fair EI which is calling on the federal government to scrap the changes it made to employment insurance. The coalition also wants benefits increased to 60 per cent of earnings, coverage to last 50 weeks, and qualifying hours cut to 13 weeks.

Last April, the Globe and Mail reported, “Canada’s Atlantic premiers want the Harper government to immediately suspend changes it made to employment insurance that target seasonal workers… The premiers want the EI changes suspended until they have been able to conduct a comprehensive study of their impact on the region. …No research was done by the federal government, they argue, in advance of major changes it made last May to the employment insurance system that require claimants to accept a job for which they are qualified within 100 kilometres of their home.”

Today’s CBC report notes, “The committee will be in P.E.I. for two more days before moving onto the rest of the region. It’s already been in New Brunswick.”

Further reading
Broderick calls for EI reform
Atlantic premiers unite against Harper’s attack on EI