May 8, 1974 (29th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Lincoln MacCauley Alexander

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lincoln M. Alexander (Hamilton West):

Mr. Speaker, I rise under the provisions of Standing Order 43 to seek the unanimous consent of the House to move a motion of urgent and pressing necessity. It is based on the fact that some 29,000 people, about 60 per cent of the claimants in the Metro Toronto area, as well as some 1,500 claimants in the Ottawa area and 472 in Hamilton, did not pick up their cheques which were available at emergency offices set up during the postal strike, all of which seriously questions the effectiveness and intent of the Unemployment Insurance Act as presently drafted to deal with possible abuse and misuse.
I move, seconded by the hon. member for St. John's East (Mr. McGrath):
That this House instruct the Minister of Manpower and Immigration forthwith to give reasons in detail why he has not instituted a full inquiry under the Inquiries Act calling for an attendance at all the said emergency offices in order to investigate all circumstances surrounding the non-acquisition of benefit cheques by claimants, with specific instructions to report back outlining conclusions and recommendations, and further to give reason why no inquiry under the said act has been instituted in order to determine:
(a) whether fears about abuse and misuse under the Unemployment Insurance Act are justified;
(b) whether there are disincentives to work built into the present Unemployment Insurance Act and, if so, what can be done to remove or reduce them;
(c) whether the Unemployment Insurance Act is an insurance plan in reality, a welfare plan, or a combination of both to which contributions are simply a new kind of tax;
(d) the relationship between high unemployment insurance benefits, high job vacancy rates and high unemployment.

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