Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker, we just cannot get a straight answer out of the minister. After denying it for weeks, the HRSDC minister finally admitted that bureaucrats are given targets for cutting people off EI. This is the same as a quota. Staff reviewing claims are given quotas and paid bonuses for rejecting EI claims. How can out-of-work Canadians expect their claims to be judged in a fair and impartial way when the Conservatives have already decided they are guilty until proven innocent?
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today seasonal workers showed up at the minister's door to tell her exactly what they think of her short-sighted cuts to EI.
When I look out at them in Ottawa here today, I do not see fraudsters and cheats. I see honest, hard-working seasonal workers who want the minister to explain why she is coming after them. I see workers from seasonal industries threatened by politically-driven Conservative cuts.
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives accept no ministerial accountability, no Senate accountability and have no respect for the unemployed. Yesterday, the minister would not even use the word “unemployed”; she called it “transitioning to another job”. She did not call them “quotas”; she called them “performance objectives”, and all this from the same minister who called the EI program “lucrative”. Playing semantic games does not answer the legitimate concerns of Canadians.
No one should leave their home in the morning wondering whether today is the day that they die at work.
But in our country, three people are killed on the job every working day. And tragically left behind are families and friends who are devastated by the loss of their loved one.
Thankfully, since 2003, they have been able to turn to Threads of Life, a national charity that is dedicated to helping Canadians who have been affected by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease.
Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP): Mr. Speaker, instead of going after unemployed Canadians, the government should be going after their unaccountable senators.
On February 1, the minister stood in this House and claimed, “Departmental employees do not have individual quotas”. Yet today, media are reporting that she cancelled those quotas.
Can she explain to the House how she can cancel something that did not exist?