The Stephen Harper government has to start walking the talk. Greg Weston, no Conservative supporter he, must be really enjoying himself today—and so he should. In a piece at CBC.ca, Weston tells us that the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board, a federal agency created by the Harper government in 2008, is costing taxpayers millions of dollars," but achieving, he says, “pretty much nothing.” Oops!
The agency was formed for three purposes: first, to set the annual employment insurance contribution rates; secondly, to invest any surplus EI funds; and thirdly, to manage a $2-billion EI contingency fund the government promised to set up.
Sounds okay so far, right?
The first catch is, though, Weston says “in all three years the board has been in existence, the Harper government has simply capped EI rates to spare Canadian workers from potentially huge premium increases.” The second catch is the agency hasn’t invested any surplus EI funds. And, you guessed it, Weston says the government never did set up the promised $2-billion EI contingency fund. Oops, oops and double-oops.
Does this sound like a deficit-cutting government to anyone out there?
I hope Weston is wrong on this one, because he reports that the new agency “has spent over $3.3 million for new offices, computers and furniture, well-paid executives and staff, travel budgets, expense accounts, board meetings, and lots of pricey consultants.”
Thanks, Mr. Weston.
Over to you Treasury Board.