Hon. A. C. Abbott (Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Small Business)):
Mr. Speaker, as is frequently the case, the hon. member is in error. Three hundred and fifty women have not been disqualified. A number of cases are being examined in accordance with the law, by virtue of the remittance by the Minister of Employment and Immigration of the question to our department.
By the end of April we expect to have a final answer on this problem. This is not an easy question which can be resolved on an emotional basis; it is one on which we, as a department, have to follow the law and render our decision in accordance with the law. Each case is being analysed on its own merits and we will be giving a decision on each case. But I can assure the hon. member that it is not a discriminatory policy; it is a matter of our being obliged to follow such matters as whether the women in question were fishing on their husbands' boats, whether they were actually fishing, or whether the squid had been delivered to them on shore for drying.
All these are matters we are taking up. I met with the representatives of these women on Friday, and I can assure the hon. member that we are very sensitive to the problem and we will be making an equitable and fair decision.
March 26, 1979
Oral Questions HEALTH AND WELFARE
Topic: ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic: CHANGES TO UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE ACT AFFECTING WOMEN