Photo by Kevin Gallagher/ CTV.
The Montreal Gazette reports, “Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Montreal on Saturday for the latest protest against proposed reforms to federal employment insurance. …MPs from all three federal opposition parties were in attendance, as were Parti Québécois MNA Daniel Breton and former Québec solidaire candidate Manon Massé.”
CTV notes, “The protest was organized by Quebec’s coalition against employment insurance reform, which is made up of representatives from five labour unions and the two main organizations representing unemployed people.” The coalition includes the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ); the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN); the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ); the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD); the Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec (SFPQ); the Mouvement autonome et solidaire des sans-emploi (MASSE); and the Conseil national des chômeurs (CNC). The Council of Canadians and Common Causes asked its supporters in the Montreal-area to participate in this protest.
The Canadian Press adds, “The changes have sparked protests across the country, particularly in Quebec and the Maritimes, where many workers have seasonal jobs.” A CBC TV report highlights that more protests are expected in the coming weeks and months if the Harper government does not back down on these changes. In Quebec, a panel formed by the provincial goernment will be touring the province to the study the effects of the EI changes and to make recommendations.
The changes made by the Harper government to Employment Insurance, adopted in C-38 and implemented as of this January, include a requirement for unemployed workers to accept jobs with a 30-per-cent cut in salary and to travel 100 kilometres for a new job. The Harper government estimates the changes will save $12.5 million this year and $33 million next year.
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