12/19/2012 02:45 EST | Updated 02/18/2013 05:12 EST

New Brunswick Liberals want Tory members to sign letter opposing EI changes

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's Opposition Liberals are calling on members of the provincial government to sign a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to oppose changes to employment insurance.

The changes to the EI program take effect Jan. 6, and Opposition Leader Victor Boudreau says they will have a devastating impact on seasonal industries and the provincial economy.

New regulations will mean that recipients of the program will face stricter, more complex rules for keeping their benefits.

Premier David Alward says he opposes the changes and supports the united position taken by the Atlantic premiers on the matter.

Boudreau says Alward is unwilling to send a clear message to Ottawa that could be seen as speaking out against the federal Conservatives and the prime minister.

Deputy Premier Paul Robichaud says the Liberals are late to the issue by asking to send a letter now after the EI changes have been a point of discussion for six months.