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NEWS: Atlantic premiers unite against Harper’s attack on EI

The Globe and Mail reports, “Canada’s Atlantic premiers want the Harper government to immediately suspend changes it made to employment insurance that target seasonal workers, arguing that the new system only increases the need for temporary foreign workers. …The premiers’ annual meeting, which was held this year at White Point Beach Resort on Nova Scotia’s south shore, ended Monday… The premiers want the EI changes suspended until they have been able to conduct a comprehensive study of their impact on the region.”

“The premiers are (also) asking the Conservative government to hand over any relevant employment insurance data so that they can conduct a comprehensive audit. 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.”

“Last year at their meeting in PEI, the premiers warned that any changes to the insurance program that focused on seasonal workers would hurt the Atlantic region that depends on seasonal industries, including agriculture, fishing, forestry and tourism. The Atlantic labour force has a higher proportion of seasonal workers than other provinces. But those warnings fell on deaf ears – and the federal government went ahead. Now, the premiers are upping the ante by calling for the suspension – and a comprehensive study.”

Energy issues were also reportedly on the agenda. A media release issued by Newfoundland & Labrador premier Kathy Dunderdale stated, “As co-lead of the Canadian Energy Strategy, I had an opportunity over the past two days to speak to my Atlantic counterparts about the importance of open cross-territorial access to transmission and transportation of energy resources. I impressed upon the premiers that as we continue to develop a strategy for all Canadians, we need to focus on energy security. …Without an effective inter-provincial transmission and transportation system in Canada we may not be able to develop projects that will ultimately benefit all Canadians.”

For more, please read:
NEWS: Tens of thousands march against Harper’s attack on EI
UPDATE: Take action against EI cuts, April 26-May 1
UPDATE: South Shore chapter protests changes to Employment Insurance
UPDATE: Protest against Harper’s attack on EI to take place in Montreal on April 27
NEWS: Harper’s changes to EI discriminatory against women