An employment insurance system that encourages the depopulation of the Atlantic provinces and parts of Quebec, Conservative Senator Diane Bellemare argues, betrays the fundamental pact of Confederation.
“The Canadian government was created by provinces that wanted to give themselves the means to develop,” Ms. Bellemare says in a book to be launched this week. “A strategy involving a ‘big move’ [of workers] goes against provinces’ desire to develop economically and socially.”
In Créer et partager la prospérité (Creating and Sharing Prosperity), Ms. Bellemare argues for giving the provinces full control over EI. While employee and employer premiums would be the same across Canada, each province would be able to set eligibility rules and decide how to split the funds collected between cash benefits for the unemployed and training programs.
Ms. Bellemare arrived in Ottawa on her own terms. She doesn’t do fundraisers. A policy wonk to the core, she embodies the purer aspects of the Senate’s raison d’être as a champion of regional interests and purveyor of sober second thought.
“When I accepted the position it was because I had a cause,” she explains. “Jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Adapted chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at