One day after claiming victory for extracting employment insurance reforms from the Conservatives, New Democrats now say they've read the fine print and the government's latest bill is not the prize they had hoped.
But NDP MP Joe Comartin, whose Windsor, Ont., area riding includes many unemployed auto workers, said the government's bill – and the NDP's support – will be short lived unless the government agrees to NDP amendments.
“Unfortunately for communities like mine, the auto sector generally as well as forestry are going to be pretty extensively, if not completely excluded from being able to access the extended benefits under this bill,” he said.
Mr. Comartin said the bill applies only to people who first applied for EI in 2009, leaving out those who lost their jobs at the start of the recession.
Peggy Nash, the president of the NDP who also works for the Canadian Auto Workers, agreed the bill must be changed.
“Is it enough? Absolutely not,” she said in an interview.
When the NDP say they just read the "fine print", it means that for the past few days labour leaders and fellow supporters have been expressing concern about these EI reforms. Everybody knew what this reform was on Monday, the CAW and Canadian Labour Congress were criticizing immediately, so PLEASE with the "fine print". This is a reaction to blowback from the NDP base, as they now scramble to find something they can tolerate, a resignation that NO you can't put enough lipstick on this pig to make it attractive. It's actually a confirmation of what's been said from the beginning, this EI "reform" was never a concession, it was never the life raft that hapless supporters have tried to make meaningful.
The latest NDP stance is about trying to regain some credibility, a balancing act between fear of an election and party dignity. Lots of rumors of a "raucous" NDP caucus meeting this week, there is clearly some internal conflict. The NDP now sending signals they need more on EI tells us that there is some blowback, this crumb to make an issue disappear isn't acceptable. Let the tortured dance continue...