Jennifer McKenzie, Leader of the NBNDP today welcomed the announcement by the Liberal government that it will provide temporary and partial relief to the thousands of New Brunswickers caught by the so called “black hole” in Employment Insurance benefits.
In responding to the announced income assistance from now until the start of seasonal work in June, McKenzie says, “This is just a temporary fix. What we really need is for the federal government to return the EI program to its intended purpose as they promised in the last federal election. The Trudeau government has been too slow to reform an EI program that was gutted by the Harper Conservatives. In particular Ms McKenzie said, “The announcement today will not do anything for pregnant women from Restigouche County down to Albert County and across New Brunswick who work in seasonal and other industries and can’t get enough weeks work to qualify for maternity leave benefits.”
The announcement is just temporary and does not provide a permanent fix as was proposed by the federal NDP in the last election. Once the two years of funding has run dry, it is unlikely that the Liberals will fix the underlying problems in EI Fund as they rely on the surplus in the Fund for other programs. It will not become a priority for them until the next time their political survival depends upon it. They are simply throwing New Brunswick workers a proverbial bone.
“Today’s announcement is in no small part because of the brave work of the Comittee for Action on Employment Insurance and they must be commended for the work they have done to insure the provincial and federal government responded to the needs of these workers.”