An Open Letter to Conservative MPs in NB, Mike Allen, Keith Ashfield, Bernard Valcourt, Rob Moore, Tilley O’Neill-Gordon, Robert Goguen, John Williamson and Rodney Weston.
Your government, in the budget Omnibus Bill, has brought about major changes to the present Employment Insurance Program that will have an important impact on workers in your region.
These changes were brought about by your government, even though the federal government is not putting any monies in the E.I. program, has not consulted the two parties, workers and employers, who are the ones footing the bill and has never consulted Canadian or New Brunswick workers and their communities on these drastic changes.
As you are certainly aware, last year, there was an average of 39,854 New Brunswick workers who had access to the E.I. program because they lost their job. This translated to an average of $65.7 million dollars that helped them and their families and certainly helped the local economies where these workers were living.
In October of this year, there were more than 39,000 workers receiving E.I. in our province. As the following figures are showing, these workers are spread out throughout the province: Northeast: 11,600, Southeast: 9,500, Southwest: 8,900, Central: 5,600, Northwest: 3,900, Saint John: 6,300 and Moncton: 5,700. These workers are your neighbours and some of them probably belong to your own family.
Presently, there are thousands of voices speaking out publicly to explain the negative impacts that these changes will have on them, their family and their community. Your colleague Robert Goguen and other Members of Parliament have heard them and have stated publicly that they will speak to Diane Findley, the minister responsible for E.I. in order to convince her to make changes to the program.
We are asking you, as elected Members of Parliament for New Brunswick, to follow Mr. Goguen’s lead and speak out on behalf of the thousands of workers who have to rely on this very important program in order to avoid falling into poverty.
Jean-Claude Basque is the Provincial Coordinator of the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice, Alma Breau is spokesperson for Comité d’action sur l’assurance-emploi des travailleuses et travailleurs, and
Michel Boudreau is the President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour.