Criminal complaint against Harper and cabinet
Date: Friday, March 09 2007
Do we have to do EVERYTHING ourselves? Even demands for accountability?
After accusing Liberals of using Employment Insurance fund as a 'partisan piggy bank', Harper Conservatives are now doing the same thing.
Ottawa (9 March 2007) - A criminal complaint has been filed against Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative cabinet for misusing the now-staggering $51-billion surplus in Canada's national Employment Insurance (EI) fund.
The surplus, which the Conservatives howled that the Liberals were abusing when they were in office, has mushroomed by $7 billion since 2004 and continues to grow at a spectacular rate - fed by ongoing worker contributions and interest gains.
Yet the Tories are behaving the same as the Liberals behaved, putting the surplus into general revenue where it can be used for anything and not specifically for the benefit of unemployed workers as the law requires.
The RCMP has confirmed that the complaint was lodged March 7 by a lawyer representing the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
Larry Kowalchuk said on behalf of the union in Regina that he took the action in response to long-standing concerns that surplus EI funds are being diverted to uses other than providing unemployment benefits.
Sheila Fraser, the federal auditor general, denounced the former Liberal government repeatedly for running EI surpluses beyond what was needed to meet payments to the unemployed, even during the most difficult economic times. Federal officials say the outside limit for this purpose would be a maximum surplus of about $15 billion.
Despite accusing Liberals of using the fund as a "partisan piggy bank," the Conservatives are now controlling a much bigger EI surplus as they embark on an unprecedented multi-billion-dollar spending spree in preparation for an election.