Question Period: Why is the Minister Taking New Powers, Reducing Tribunal Access for Employment Insurance?

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  

Mr. Speaker, hiding changes in the budget to avoid accountability is simply wrong. Another hidden change: cutting employment insurance and gutting the appeals tribunal. Instead of separate tribunals with dedicated staff, we now have one big tribunal with a fraction of the staff. Asking 70 staff to review over 30,000 appeals is not going to make the system efficient. It will grind it to a halt and the government knows it.

Why is the minister using these underhanded tactics to cut services for Canadians?

Ms. Kellie Leitch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, CPC):  

Mr. Speaker, we are combining several appeal tribunals and boards at HRSDC into one organizational structure. This means a simple, more efficient, single window for Canadians to access appeals and the appeals process, something Canadians are looking for. The expertise of individual boards and tribunals will be maintained.

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  

Mr. Speaker, fewer Canadians than ever can access EI under the Conservatives. The government should hang its head in shame, but it gets worse. Now the minister is giving herself exclusive powers to force unemployed professionals to take unskilled jobs or pushing unemployed fishers to take construction jobs. The minister gives no explanation or justification but barrels ahead with these sweeping changes.

Why does the minister think she should have the power to decide what is suitable employment for anyone?