A letter to the editor in the Toronto Star today.
PM, Liberals had chance to fix EI
Jul 10, 2009 04:30 AM
Re:No sense of urgency about
Carol Goar is right that Parliament does need to fix Employment Insurance (EI) quickly. By next year, an estimated 1.75 million Canadians will have lost their jobs. Many who paid into EI all of their working lives are now unemployed, have been denied access to benefits and are sliding into poverty.
EI reform in Ottawa, July 6
That's why New Democrats were so dismayed by the dithering Harper/Ignatieff deal in late June to strike a blue ribbon panel to study the issue. We used our first opportunity this spring to propose a vote in the House on our plan to fix EI. It passed with the support of the Liberals and Bloc. We then prepared and submitted legislation to fix EI and it passed second reading.
It could have been debated and adopted at Committee, and then passed by the whole House before the end of June. Instead, Canadians got a promise that the Conservative/Liberal panel will report this fall.
The unemployed should have been given help this summer. Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff need to explain to the many thousands of Canadians who are having difficulty paying the rent and are, in desperation, applying for welfare, why the Conservatives and Liberals callously failed to take action on EI this spring.
Jack Layton, Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada