NDP MP Alex Atamanenko was disturbed to hear that Employment Insurance recipients are being treated as if they are guilty of fraud simply because they applied for benefits under the program.
“We have seen so many dirty tricks from the Conservative government that I thought there were no surprises left,” said the MP for BC Southern Interior. “However, when I learned that there are now quotas being set to reduce eligibility by $485,000, I realized that they will stop at nothing to punish workers especially those whose employment is seasonal.”
“This government is demonizing ordinary Canadians who are struggling to get by, rather than addressing the problems within industries that rely on the availability of employees year-round. Conservative economic policy has done nothing to generate jobs in sectors that are steady, that provide a decent livelihood and that will help people stay close to communities where they live,” Atamanenko continued.
Atamanenko’s community offices have received a number of calls from EI applicants who are frustrated at not being able to navigate the complex system, who cannot talk directly to a live person and who have limited access to computers.
Reports in the media about some EI applicants receiving in-person visits from representatives of EI have increased the MP’s concern.
“Making it harder and harder to jump through the hoops is an injustice to people who have contributed to EI. Canadians count on it to help them through hard times. Having to endure house calls is absolutely degrading and I cannot fathom what possible purpose is being served by invoking such an invasion of privacy,” he stated.
Atamanenko concluded, “This crack-down is part of the strategy to divide and conquer the growing opposition to this government and its policies. Instead of taking the bait, I urge us to continue working together and focus on the goal of creating a fair society in a Canada that reflects who we truly are.”