January 24, 1994 (35th Parliament, 1st Session)


Monte Solberg


Mr. Solberg

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has raised a couple of issues.
First, he wants to know whether unemployment insurance as it is presently constituted has been a boon or a problem in the country.
Certainly the premier of Newfoundland would suggest that as it is presently designed it has not served the interests of Newfoundlanders very well. He points to the fact that a generation of people have become dependent on unemployment insurance as it is now. That is not only an economic tragedy but a human tragedy. We must work quickly to change that so that we can save yet another generation from that type of situation.
It is very important to recognize that there is a great difference between an insurance program that puts the onus on individuals to show that they are trying to stay in the work force and setting up different benefits depending on the unemployment rate in particular areas of the country.
I point out that before regionally extended benefits we had unemployment rates in Newfoundland of around 7 per cent. Since we have regionally extended benefits they have gone up, up and up to 20 and 25 per cent. It is very important that we not ignore the lessons of history lest we be doomed to repeat them.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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