Opposition Motion—Employment Insurance

That, in the opinion of the House, the new Working While on Claim pilot project is: (a) not benefiting the vast majority of EI recipients who are able to find employment; (b) creating a disincentive to take part-time work; and (c) leaving low income Canadians worse off than before; and that the House call on the government to take steps to fix Working While on Claim immediately.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I fully support the opposition day motion put forward by the New Democratic Party. I wonder if, when addressing the mistakes that are being made to the employment insurance program, we could not just reach back to the spring and include the egregious changes that were made in Bill C-38 that will make it increasingly difficult for Canadians who are dependent on seasonal industries, whether fishing, tourism or forestry, to be able to continue in those industries? It is a real threat to their employers as well.

Chris Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree with the leader of the Green Party. The changes that were made in Bill C-38 to the provisions impacting those who are seasonally employed are absolutely outrageous.

The reason we focused on this particular part of the EI system for today’s motion is that, one, it is a stand-alone discrete item and, two, we in the NDP kind of want to give the minister the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she did not understand her own program. We want to give her the opportunity, in this one very specific way, to say, “You know what? You’re right; there is a mistake in the program design. I recognize it now and I’m prepared to fix it”. That is why we cast the motion as narrowly as we did.

The member is absolutely right. We could spend the entire rest of this Parliament talking about things that need to be fixed with Canada’s employment insurance system.