The proposed changes to rules governing employment insurance — specifically, the bit where EI can be denied if the applicant refuses employment in a job for no good reason — allows plenty of opportunity for rhetorically silliness. As the New Democrat MP for Charlesbourg–Haute-St-Charles demonstrated yesterday, in Question Period:
The Conservatives want to make major changes to the Canadian social safety net and they want to do it quickly and behind closed doors. The minster even said that she wants the bill to pass before she defines suitable employment. I will give the minister another chance.
Can she give this House the new definition of suitable employment?
Hon. Ted Menzies (Minister of State (Finance), CPC): Mr. Speaker, I think I defined one suitable job, but I do want to clarify that the 32,500 people looking for work were actually in Newfoundland, as was the mining company that was looking for the 1,500 people.
Another example I will give is that Nova Scotia’s recent shipbuilding contract will create over 15,000 jobs over the next 30 years and the provincial government is already talking about importing workers.
At this point there are 45,000 Nova Scotians looking for work.
Does the House want some more examples?
Mrs. Anne-Marie Day (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, NDP): Mr. Speaker, with this philosophy, psychologists and teachers will be sent to work in the mines. The budget implementation bill—
The Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt, but there is too much noise in the House. Order, please.
It’s a very big example of rhetorical silliness. I mean, I doubt very much if a mining company is going to hire a psychologist, or a teacher, to go digging, mainly because they don’t have the requisite skills for that sort of honest work.