Mr. Speaker, we have all seen the television images in the past few weeks showing ice conditions off Labrador and northern Newfoundland. These are the worst spring ice conditions in decades. Not only has the ice damaged or destroyed fishing vessels with many sealers left with no income, it has delayed the opening of several important fisheries.
This delay means an even longer gap than usual between the expiry of seasonal EI benefits and the resumption of employment income for fishers and plant workers in coastal communities. While income is no longer coming in, the bills have not stopped.
Bearing in mind the extraordinary conditions experienced this spring, I call upon the government to take immediate steps to extend emergency EI benefits, or take other similar measures to assist the many affected families in their time of need.