© TC MEDIA/Eric McCarthy
Egmonty MP Bobby Morrissey on the wharf at Northport.
One immediate need is hiring more Service Canada personnel which Liberal government is committed to doing
ALBERTON – The new Member of Parliament for Egmont says he is impressed that the first throne speech of the new Liberal government referenced changing the Employment Insurance program to make it more socially responsible.
"I was pleased to be there as an MP hearing about that because, often, EI was something that was swept under the rug; it was something that people didn't talk about," Bobby Morrissey said in a year-end interview.
He's expecting further mention of EI changes in the spring budget.
"We do have a seasonal economy; we do have a very well-trained seasonal workforce, and we need an insurance program that allows them to maintain a livelihood when they are between their normal jobs; that we don't look at it as people who are lazy and want to use the system to avoid work," Morrissey commented.
"That's a priority of mine going forward, to make sure our government fulfills its election commitments on the EI file," he said.
He said the changes made by the former Conservative government, including the clawback provisions, made it difficult for employers to find part-time help.
EI was something that was swept under the rug; it was something that people didn't talk about. Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont
Besides impacting both the employer and the employee, he said, it took revenue out of the local economy.
"We have a seasonal economy. It's just the nature of where we are," he stressed.
Morrissey acknowledged that one of the biggest demands on his constituency office over the past two months has been constituents with frustrations about difficulties and delays in getting their EI claims started.
He believes improvements are coming but, in saying so, he shared his own frustrations.
"Federal politics is not provincial," he said. "It moves a lot slower; decision-making - and I am going to be candid - can be frustratingly slow."
The solution, he suggested, involves hiring more Service Canada personnel, and he said, the Liberal government is committed to doing so.