Helping Families in Need Act (Bill C-44)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Newton—North Delta for her presentation. It is the first chance I have had to speak to the bill and I am looking forward to voting for it. I am looking forward to seeing it go from second reading to committee.

There are aspects of the bill that I think we need to pay some attention to, in committee, amending it to make sure it applies appropriately to children who are critically ill and children who are missing and to further refine those circumstances.

However, I take the points of the hon. member for Newton—North Delta on the chiseling away of EI benefit rights. I am particularly concerned about what we did in Bill C-38, with taking seasonal workers and placing them in a circumstance where they are almost treated as if they were recidivists in a criminal justice system instead of workers in Canada who happen to be in industries that require of them that they are not working year round.

I wonder if my hon. friend has any comments on that.

Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her very thoughtful comment and question.

All of us, right across Canada, know the impact of the EI changes. As I said, we are hearing about them here. Particularly hard-struck are seasonal workers.

Whether it is on the west coast, whether we are talking about agricultural workers in the Niagara Peninsula, whether we are talking about seasonal workers in the north or on the west coast, I will say that those groups of workers are beginning to feel as if they have done something terribly wrong, simply because their particular area of work is seasonal due to climate. It is not something they control. We live in a country that has a huge geography, and the workers are being punished because their employment is seasonal.