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The Council of Canadians is working with the Canadian Labour Congress and Common Causes to support lobby days and demonstrations against the Harper government’s cutbacks to Employment Insurance and other key programs and public services.

Numerous activities will be taking place during a Week of Action this coming April 26 to May 1. The growing list of actions can be read at www.commoncauses.ca in the ‘Upcoming Events’ section of this web page. Information is also being posted to the Common Causes Facebook page.

On April 26-27, there will be lobbies and gatherings at the offices of several Members of Parliament serving on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, which is responsible for reviewing EI issues. Those MPs are Diane Finley (Simcoe, ON), Ed Komarnicki (Weyburn, SK), Devinder Shory (Calgary, AB), Phil McColeman (Brantford, ON), Kellie Leitch (Alliston, ON), and Brad Butt (Mississauga, ON). To help support these actions, see the contacts noted for each of those cities under the ‘Upcoming Events’ listing on the Common Causes website.

These activities will coincide with a major Employment Insurance event organized in downtown Montreal by a large coalition in Quebec. If you are in the Montreal-area and can participate in this rally, more details about it are available here. It has been noted that 60,000 people or more may participate in this march.

The Council of Canadians is working to highlight that the changes to the Employment Insurance Act that were adopted in C-38, the Harper government’s first omnibus budget implementation bill, will have serious and negative consequences in every part of the country. These changes include a measure requiring EI recipients to accept jobs that provide 70 per cent of their previous pay packets, and also to accept work that requires a one-hour (100-kilometre) daily commute. The rules will also now mean that EI recipients will have to keep detailed logs of their searches that may be scrutinized.

The Council of Canadians helped launched Common Causes, an assembly of social movements dedicated to defending democracy, the environment, and human rights, in January 2013.

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Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson is a political activist and writer. He has worked in solidarity with revolutionary Nicaragua, advocated for the rights of prisoners in jails and federal prisons, taken part in civil...