Revenue minister responds to Monday’s ‘Day of Action’
Robert Gallant, foreground, and Roger Byers present Gardiner MacNeill, special assistant to Federal Revenue Minister Gail Shea, with cans of beans to symbolize future hardships that many Islanders will face this winter when the Employment Insurance cuts will be fully realized.
SUMMERSIDE - Getting people off employment insurance is a major priority of the federal government, says Egmont MP Gail Shea.
"Our government wants all Islanders who are looking for work to be able to find a job in their area,” the Revenue Minister said in a statement released from her Ottawa office. “If no jobs are available, EI will be there for them.”
The minister was responding to Monday’s Day of Action event staged by a group of community and labour representatives calling itself the EI Coalition. In a symbolic gesture, group members delivered cans of beans to Shea’s Summerside and Charlottetown offices to symbolize future hardships for Island workers.
The coalition claims recent Employment Insurance changes will have the strongest impact on workers in eastern Canada.
They said for workers in the Atlantic provinces, these reforms are catastrophic because their impact will be hardest on the thousands of workers in seasonal industries such as fishing, forestry, construction and tourism, including a high proportion of women. Prince Edward Island has many workers relying on employment insurance mainly during the winter months.
They said, however, P.E.I. can boast the second highest employment rates in Canada during the busy season.
Shea countered, the federal government has created many new jobs on the Island and will continue to do so and provide the training necessary to fill those positions.
“Our government is also supporting P.E.I.'s economy,” she said. “We have increased transfers to P.E.I. to an all time high and made record investments in infrastructure, including housing for seniors and the disabled. We have invested more than $60 million to support the Atlantic lobster industry and supported the agriculture, bioscience, aerospace and IT sectors. Supporting job creation in these sectors is working. Statistics Canada recently reported that almost 60,000 new jobs were created in Canada last month, with 700 of those new jobs created in P.E.I."