Stephen Harper and his government are blaming the wrong people for growing anger - particularly in Eastern Canada - over Employment Insurance reforms.
Unions and others are spreading misinformation about the reforms, Harper said, apparently looking for enemies to blame.
In fact, the anger is widespread, especially in areas with a lot of seasonal employment.
The Harper government has itself to blame for failing to sufficiently
explain reforms it knew would anger certain segments of the population.
Shockingly, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley admitted the government did not conduct studies to determine the impact of the reforms. So just who's poorly informed here? Why it's the minister.
Launching a crackdown on EI fraud with a heavy-handed door-to-door campaign just as reforms are being implemented has only increase
skepticism about the Harper government's attitude toward the unemployed.
This regime seems to have no qualms about rounding up honest recipients in a witch-hunt for a few bad ones.
Now on the defensive, the government insists seasonal workers will still be protected. But this sounds like a message of desperation from an
embattled group of politicians.
Some of the new reforms don't sound overly harsh at first - chronic EI recipients may be required to look up to 100 kilometres away for a job and may have to take a pay cut.
But that can be hard on low-income single parents and those who can't afford a car, for example.
Over the years, governments have made it harder for people to qualify for EI, while pilfering the program's surpluses for their own budget needs. These latest reforms are perceived as another measure putting EI out of reach for people when they need it.
If these really are good reforms, the government shouldn't have such a tough time explaining them - and its should call off the thugs who are
going door to door intimidating
- City Editor Pat Bulmer