Editor: When it comes to MP Gail Shea’s new EI changes one thing is very clear — no brains were used in making these appalling changes.
In my 20 full years as a taxpaying Islander in the workforce, I had friends and co-workers who seasonally worked side by side with me doing the same work. They clocked in and out every day with me and took breaks with me.
Those people, as a result of the new EI change, would need only 460 hours to claim 29 weeks of EI because they are now in rural P.E.I., while I, who was less than two feet away from them doing the exact same job, would now need a jaw-dropping 1,120 hours to claim the same 29 weeks of EI because I live in the city.
If a person could find 1,120 hours of work they'd be in a full-time job and here’s my evidence to back this statement up. When I was on the Canada Packers kill floor from 2005-08, a full five-day week with no all-day kills was 60 hours minimum, and my poor neighbours, who are considered non-rural by Ottawa, have to find 1,120 hours for 29 weeks.
When I worked seasonal my EI hours were 590 hours for 26 weeks, that was a struggle and barely met. Now it is 1,120 hours for 29 weeks.
I’ve been retired since September 2012. But I see this new EI Shea thing and as a widower who only has to deal with himself I couldn't begin to wonder what I would do if I was still on EI. Can you imagine how a single parent with one or more kids, who is on EI, is going to react over this?
It is twice as hurtful that it was a born-and-bred Islander who announced the stupid changes. All I’ve got left to say is, Gail Shea, I hope Egmont is Disneyland because you lost the respect of the rest of P.E.I. What a shame indeed.