montreal protestProposed changes to federal employment insurance for Canadians has riled people to the streets of Montreal for another time today.

“Changes to the federal insurance scheme include a requirement for regularly unemployed workers to accept a 30-per-cent cut in salary and to travel 100 kilometres for a new job.” reported the Montreal Gazette.

Though some say it wouldn’t affect that many, opponents say Canadians in general, not just seasonal or maritime workers, will be affected.

Thousands are reported to have attended – “farmers, seasonal workers, human rights activists, labour unions, representatives from the Bloc Québécois youth wing, and members of organizations for people who are unemployed.”

The march was followed by riot police but was ultimately peaceful, with no arrests reported.

Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister, has said the scheme is aimed at those committing benefit fraud, said to be at a cost to the Canadian people of hundreds of millions of dollars. In response to the backlash, the government “sweetened” benefits for parents by letting them apply for sickness benefit they were unable to before.

Some say the divide is between Western Canada, which broadly supports the government and reforms, and Eastern Canada, where these protests have been taking place.

BY: James Tennent

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