By Stephanie Drummond
Feb. 27, 2014
Island MPs and the Island NDP leader are not happy about recent changes to employment insurance.
The changes were announced last week by Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, Egmont MP, and will see the Island put into two regions, Charlottetown area and everywhere else.
Under the new changes Charlottetown area residents need more hours to draw EI, with less weeks of payment. Everywhere else on P.E.I. needs less hours to draw, and will receive more weeks of payment.
Liberal Wayne Easter, MP for Malpeque, said it is not a good decision.
“Absolutely stupid decision, an absolute lack of leadership. Supposed to provide policies to enhance the Island as a whole.”
Easter said this new system creates an unfair advantage for some.
“It creates a number of winners and a number of losers. Shea is just looking out for her own interest.”
Easter said Shea is only thinking of her riding.
“Instead of taking from one and giving to another, we need to back up and look at change. We need to reinstate the pilot program from two years ago.”
Liberal Sean Casey, MP for Charlottetown, said in an email he agrees with Easter.
“It divides Islanders and creates a situation where one individual working in a seasonal industry will qualify for EI, while another individual working at the same job will not qualify for no other reason that under the new rules he lives in a town requiring more hours of qualification.”
Casey said he also agrees Shea’s interests are vested.
“It seems to be changed for the electoral benefit of the person who made the change, Minister Shea. The people of P.E.I. see through this ruse, and will respond in kind.”
Island NDP leader Mike Redmond said he is also opposed to the changes.
“We are all rural in my mind. We depend on the EI system, and it’s unfair to those in Charlottetown area.”
Redmond said he also thinks the move is a hidden agenda.
“Gail Shea knows her seat is gone.”