Madam Speaker, the government recently announced that the EI extended benefit program will continue in 21 regions across the country, yet once again Ontario is being left out in the cold.
Ontarians pay into the EI system the same as everyone else, but they do not qualify for benefits the same as everyone else. In fact, less than one-third of Ontarians qualify for EI benefits as it is and now they are being treated as second-class citizens simply because of where they live. Not only is this unfair, it is downright un-Canadian.
The people of Ontario have just as much need and just as much right to the extended EI benefits as their fellow Canadians in Newfoundland, Atlantic Canada and rural Quebec. It is high time this regional discrimination came to an end.
The Harper government needs to stop ignoring the unemployment crisis in Ontario and provide extended EI benefits to all Canadians equally.