Council asking Ottawa to reverse EI changes coming to P.E.I.

Dave Stewart
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Mayor Clifford Lee presides over the regular meeting of Charlottetown city council Monday night.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee says the federal government is cooking up another “senate fiasco’’ with recent changes to the EI system.

Lee made those comments Monday night following city council’s regular public monthly meeting where council passed a resolution urging government to reverse those changes.

The resolution states that the city “publicly state its opposition to the recent changes to the EI program for the Charlottetown area’’.

Fisheries Minister Gail Shea announced changes that will see P.E.I. split into one region around Charlottetown and one region in the rest of the province, which will determine the number of hours needed to collect EI and how long recipients will be able to collect benefits.

Lee said his main concern is that the change makes it more difficult for people who live in the Charlottetown zone to apply for EI.

“The whole concept makes absolutely no sense . . . and is having a negative impact on this community. It’s going to encourage people or force people to use somebody else’s address because what’s happening is people can’t survive under the rules and if you can’t survive under the rules what do you do? You try to get around the rules,’’ Lee said.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel called the resolution evasive and ambiguous and tried to defer the motion. The deferral was deadlocked 5-5 with Lee voting to move forward.

Tweel said he wanted to come back with one that was “comprehensive, factual and all inclusive’’ and one that illustrated the concerns of urban and rural P.E.I.

Tweel also took exception to the fact Shea isn’t named in the resolution. Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney is. Tweel said he doesn’t understand how Lee can “tear down a federal minister’’ (Lee took Shea to task after the changes were announced) yet not even mention her in the resolution.

Coun. Rob Lantz voted for the resolution but still had concerns.

“My only concern was that the resolution seemed to be asking that all of the recent EI changes be overturned and I didn’t think that was right,’’ Lantz said.

“In fact, many of those changes are positive for many other people on Prince Edward Island. On the face of it the changes appear to be unfair to Charlottetown.’’

Lee said there was no sense in deferring it, that this council is elected to represent the interests of residents in the capital city.

“(Changing) a word here or a word there in our resolution is not going to change the fact that residents of this city are being negatively impacted by the recent changes announced by the Government of Canada . . . this is bad public policy.’’

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Ottawa Canada

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Recent comments

  • work locally
    March 11, 2014 - 14:48

    Hope nobody from rural PEI zone drives into Charlottetown to work or shop. You better stay out of here. If a resident of Charlottetown drove all the way out to your little stick in the woods to work seasonally for 20 weeks and you only work 12 driving into town, then there's something wrong there. If Ralph Klein could say kick out the eastern bums and creeps, then perhaps Clifford Lee can do the same to the scumbags from rural PEI who come into Charlottetown and pollute our fine streets.

  • SLIPPY
    March 11, 2014 - 10:27

    Sad, when the best plan all levels of PEI government have for the economy is to make sure EI is easy to access, no wonder the island economy is a joke.

  • townie22
    March 11, 2014 - 08:07

    oh well, by the time October rolls around we'll only have to tolerate it for 1 year, then the CPC will be gone and changes to EI, GIS, Old Age Security, etc. will be rolled back by the next Government, we've seen hard times before and Islander's can outlast another year and a half of PM Harper.

  • Islander
    March 11, 2014 - 08:06

    Someone needs to stand up to Gail Shea and her pal Harper against pitting one islander against another. The ones making comments that are on the good side of the fence need to understand what it is like for their fellow islanders on the wrong side of the fence the fence Gail has put up. How would you like to work the same hours as your neighbour and get less pay and less EI time just because you were on the Charlottetown side of the fence it pits neighbours ,friends against one another. Thanks Mr. Lee for standing up as it seems no one else has the a back bone too.

  • Who In Ottawa Would Listento Charlottetown?
    March 11, 2014 - 07:54

    Does the navel gazing council actually expect somebody to listen? Ottawa is Harper town and Charlottetown sent a charlatan to sit as an MP. Town councils directing federal policy, Lee is right changing a word here or there is not important, nobody is listening to PEI in Ottawa.

  • Whatever
    March 11, 2014 - 00:54

    This .....from 96th out of 100......unbelievable....

  • Help Gail Shea understand!
    March 10, 2014 - 21:18

    Gail Shea has divided seasonal workers in PEI into seasonal workers and stressed out seasonal workers. Its hard enough to get enough weeks of employment to qualify now so the change will be impossible in the new Ch'Town region. Voters in Gail Sheas district must have family and friends who moved to Ch'Town, where the change will cause hardship. Help Gail Shea understand!

  • Garth Staples
    March 10, 2014 - 20:57

    Rewarding people for not seeking work is a travesty.

    • Sharp Staples
      March 10, 2014 - 21:41

      Rewarding people for not seeking work is a travesty. Sucking up to Harper and his cronies , is the real travesty here mr . staples, where are all the jobs on this fair island ... I get home one week a month to see my family and the other 3 weeks i spend in the tar sands .... i check our guardian site every evening after work and most times there is a EI articles on it , you have a smart pro Harper remark to make. about people back home on EI... The wages being paid on PEI suck ... if you Garth Staples could drive 1 hour and make a living at 10 bucks an hour you are magic man.. get a seasonal job try to scape a living on pei then you can talk about EI t

    • Help Gail Shea understand!
      March 10, 2014 - 21:44

      Seeking work and finding work are 2 different things. Everyone wants to get ahead but most importantly we want to remain Islanders. Seasonal workers are needed here. Islanders should all be treated the same by our Canadian Gov't.

    • Garth Staples
      March 11, 2014 - 08:37

      I don't have to drive...I took enough money from the government when I worked there and I got my big pension to live off of. I also got PNP