Saturday, June 13, 2009

Diane Finley Flip Flops on EI

If you require further proof that the Conservatives are flying by the seat of their pants, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley recently made one statement regarding reform to EI, while Stephen Harper completely contradicted it.

Diane's husband, Doug Finley, is in Harper's inner circle, so you'd think communications would be better than this.

Mind you Diane was the one who sent out an email during the Parliamentary crisis, calling Gilles Duceppe a 'citizen of France', that had three spelling errors; so if she can't even use Spellchecker I doubt she'd understand any memo sent by the PMO, even if her husband did draft it.

EI changes 'far from a done deal'
National Bureau,
Sun Media
June 12, 2009

OTTAWA — A senior government minister appeared to flip-flop yesterday on whether the Conservatives plan to reform employment insurance.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said EI changes were far from a done deal and would depend on the state of the economy.

“We will examine the economy, and if there is a need to do more, we will look at the options,” she said. “If we need to act, we will.”

But those comments seemed to contradict those of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said Thursday EI reforms would be on the agenda after Parliament’s summer break.

“The EI system is not perfect. We are looking at more improvements for the fall,” Harper said.

Yesterday, Finley said the government’s EI plan is currently addressing the needs of the recession.

A few hours later, however, the minister contradicted herself, telling the House of Commons the prime minister was right and there would be reforms in the fall.

“The prime minister said (Thursday) there would changes to ameliorate the system and respond to the needs of the unemployed,” she told MPs. (after saying that EI was already addressing those needs)

Dimitri Soudas, the prime minister’s press secretary, said the minister wasn’t being inconsistent. The government is studying the possibility of reforms, he said.

“We do expect more job losses over the next little while, and therefore, ministers and cabinet are considering options for further improvements to the EI system sometime in the fall,” he said.

Opposition parties attacked the Conservatives for waiting for job losses to mount before fixing EI.

Bloc Quebecois MP Christiane Gagnon said unemployed workers don’t have time to wait. She called for a complete revamp of the EI system. “The government acknowledges there are problems with employment insurance, why don’t they fix them now?” she asked.

Liberal finance critic John McCallum said reforms in the fall are better than nothing, but EI changes should be made before the summer break, when more Canadians are likely to be laid off.

“There is so much unemployment already ... so why wait?” McCallum said. “Perhaps, the government isn’t serious, perhaps it doesn’t want to make any changes?”

The NDP noted not one Conservative MP voted in favour of a New Democrat reform bill earlier this week. The Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois supported the legislation, which would have extended EI benefits and expanded access.


No comments:

Post a Comment