P.E.I. Premier takes aim at EI changes
P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz took aim at changes to employment insurance Friday at the premiers' meeting in Halifax.
Ghiz challenged the federal government's reasons for the changes. Ottawa has said it wants more jobs filled by Canadians, rather than bringing in foreign workers but Ghiz says here in the Maritimes, the opposite will happen.
"Lobsters are processed in fish plants that operate on a seasonal basis. If those people are forced to leave Nova Scotia and move out to Alberta or Saskatchewan to work, then we don't have anyone to fill in those seasonal positions. So what are we going to end up doing? We're going to end up bringing in more foreign workers," Ghiz said.
Ghiz told reporters the country needs an employment system that can adapt to different economies.
"(The federal government) needs to realize that not every jurisdiction in Canada is the same. On Prince Edward Island, our three largest industries are still seasonal in nature - agriculture, fisheries and tourism," Ghiz told the crowd.
"We need seasonal workers to fill those positions. We're not going to grow potatoes or catch lobster in the month of January. We need to make sure that we have the workers there and that's why the unemployment system has to be adaptable across the country based on different economies."