Armstrong brushes off Burrill’s debate challenge

Darrell Cole
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‘If he wants to debate federal issues, run for the federal NDP nomination’

Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong

AMHERST – Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong is urging NDP MLA Gary Burrill to run for the federal nomination if he wants to debate changes to Employment Insurance.

“If Mr. Burrill wants to debate federal issues, I challenge him to show true courage and seek the federal nomination in the 2015 federal election,” Armstrong said Thursday in a news release. “That way, he’ll be forced to defend the NDP federal plan to put a price on carbon, which will disproportionately punish rural Canada by raising the price of fuel causing forestry and agriculture producers to pay higher transportation costs and everyday citizens to pay higher costs for fuel, electricity and groceries.”

Armstrong’s comments come a day after the Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MLA challenged him to a debate in the legislature.

“I challenge Scott Armstrong to a public debate on the federal changes to employment insurance,” Burrill told the legislature on Wednesday. “Any time, any place and in any forum or format.”

Burrill said his comments were directed against the EI restrictions for the seasonally unemployed and against the abolition of the board of referees system for appeals of decisions denying benefits to EI claimants.

“The new EI restrictions for the seasonally unemployed will have a very negative impact on people in seasonal work,” said Burrill. “Mr. Armstrong and I both represent many people who will find these changes very hard.”

Burrill said the board of referees always included representatives of both local business and labour. The MLA said the new Ottawa-based tribunal will deny unemployed people the right to appeal an EI claim decisions before a board knowledgeable about the local situation.

“The people of Nova Scotia deserve a strong defence of their interests on this question,” said Burrill. “For this reason I look forward to debating Mr. Armstrong about these unfortunate recent EI changes.”

Armstrong said Burrill’s speech was an “obvious attempt to distract voters on the eve of a provincial election from his NDP government’s own record.”

The MP said changes to the EI system will better connect Canadians with available jobs. By removing disincentives to work and making the system more efficient the government is working toward that goal.

“As has been stated, however, no one will be forced to take a job, if due to pay rates, distance or personal circumstances, it would put those on a claim at a financial disadvantage. For those receiving benefits in areas where there are no available jobs there will be no changes and benefits will remain available as they’ve always been,” Armstrong said.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Employment Insurance, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MLA

Geographic location: Canada, Ottawa, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • turffman
    May 24, 2013 - 08:55

    Gary I'm very happy to see you wanting to debate hapers puppet but he's not allowed to debate unless harper is there to tell him what to say Mr armstrong is just another puppet of steven harper better known in this great country as the (DICTATOR) !!!!! can hardly wait for 2015 to BOOT this ass.... from office keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bean counter
    April 12, 2013 - 12:08

    Changes to the EI system will disproportionately punish rural Canada by raising the price forestry and agriculture producers have to pay to bring in available labor and, punish everyday citizens to pay higher costs for fuel, electricity and groceries. Its true. Armstrong should have spoke out against ei changes.... he didn't........kudos to burrell.

  • Andrew
    April 12, 2013 - 11:19

    MP Armstrong's comments came a day after MLA Burrill challenged him to a debate on EI changes. It took that long for the Conservative Party spin doctor's at the PMO sent him back a script to regurgitate to the media which speaks to a completely different topic and gives no credible reason for the Regressive Conservative MP to refuse the invitation for a debate. Another fine example of bobbing and weaving to avoid accountability from our glorious federal leader and his minions. Remember, our provincial government is working on our behalf to improve Nova Scotia, not our federal "government". Our federal manager, aka The Prime Minister (IMHO, governance requires conscience - therefore, we are not currently being governed) has openly aired his disregard for Atlantic Canada. This EI policy is yet another dig at our region. MLA Burrill is merely seeking a public opportunity for the local MP to substantiate the rationale for a policy that will have detrimental effects on our region.

  • Rick Harper
    April 12, 2013 - 08:28

    Mr. Armstrong should welcome the opportunity to debate proposed changes to the E.I. system. Personally I think the federal government's new program is putting the 'wagon before the horse.' The new E.I. system would work much better had good paying jobs been created first for seasonal workers to apply. Those good jobs could have been easily accomplished by introducing renewable energy being into every home and business. Its a program that pays for itself.

  • Charlie Joseph
    April 12, 2013 - 05:19

    If you wrote like you do on these comment pages Wingman, he is doing the sane thing in ignoring you. It is my experience that only people politicians (of all parties) ignore are the ranters, cranks and mentally ill. Some people think politicians are required to waste their time on irrational whinging. Smart people don't. P.S. - Whingman would be a more appropriate name for you.

    • Anonymous
      April 12, 2013 - 13:32

      Pardon me? As a person who *is* mentally ill, I'd rather not my issues be just set aside as something that doesn't matter. Or that mentally ill isn't used as an insult.

  • chief wiggam
    April 11, 2013 - 20:21

    yeah, like harper is doing a bang-up job in federal politics. i can't wait for Justin Trudeau to clean the "reform" party out of there.

  • wingman
    April 11, 2013 - 18:40

    I don't care who runs against Armstrong I know I will vote for whomever it is. I have written two emails to Mr. Armstrong since he was elected and he has not even answered either one, so he sure as heck won't be getting my vote.

    • Skippy
      April 12, 2013 - 07:00

      Not surprisinh it's difficult to get a return call when the person who's supposed to be answering the phone is too busy running around getting her photo taken.