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ST.JOHN’SCUPE Newfoundland and Labrador President Wayne Lucas is calling on Premier Kathy Dunderdale to send a loud and clear message to the Harper Conservatives over yesterday’s announcement regarding cuts to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Lucas says, “The provincial government appears to be sitting on the fence on this very important matter. These drastic cuts are primarily aimed at seasonally employed women and men. These workers are a vital part of the provincial economy and any cut to their income will definitely trickle down.

“These sweeping changes by the federal government show that they are out of touch with workers’ reality”, says Lucas. “They are once again catering to the Harper ideology and have entirely lost track of workers’ needs.

“There are other parts of these changes that are not getting much attention but are very significant”, Lucas says, “for example, the EI Board of Referees.” Now instead of an open and transparent process, the workers’ and business appointees will be abolished leaving only political appointments.

Lucas says, “To add insult to injury, none of these changes will go before a parliamentary committee for debate and consideration prior to introduction. And what’s even worse, the federal minister can make changes at any time at her discretion. One has to wonder why these changes weren’t debated on the doorsteps of Canadians throughout our country in the last federal election.”

“The livelihoods of thousands of families, especially those in rural parts of our province, are under attack”, says Lucas. “It is time for the Premier to cut the Harper Conservatives loose and to step up to the plate and go to bat for the workers and families of Newfoundland and Labrador.”