POLITICS

Ghiz and Dexter ask feds to tread lightly on EI

05/16/2012 07:51 EDT | Updated 07/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Robert Ghiz and Nova Scotia's Premier Daryl Dexter are both asking the federal government to tread lightly when it comes to changing Employment Insurance rules.

A bill before the House of Commons has changed the definition of unsuitable work EI recipients are allowed to refuse, including work with lower pay or work in a different field.

This shift concerns Dexter.

"The question is – do the changes that are being proposed particularly in a high unemployment area – are they being made solely for the purposes of disenfranchising or are they (making) an honest attempt to try to inspire people to take jobs that are available?"

Ghiz told the Globe and Mail he agrees that future labour shortages need to be addressed, but he also wants to make sure regional circumstances are considered.

The plans to make the changes are causing plenty of heated debate in the House of Commons as well.

The federal government has said too many unemployed Canadians are passing up jobs.

The bill hit a nerve Tuesday in the House of Commons with Malpeque MP Wayne Easter.

He had this question for Gail Shea, PEI's federal cabinet minister.

"The cabinet does not understand seasonal workers and their needs. How can this minister stand in her place and allow Parliament to be passed over, Islanders to be blindsided, and all decisions on employment insurance to be made by the Prime Minister?" Easter asked.

Wayne Easter said Gail Shea should stand up for Islanders to ensure they have the opportunity to search for work in their field and in their region of residence.