IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ on Employment Insurance Reform

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Mr. Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Liberals have an appalling on employment insurance. They took $50 billion from unemployed workers and their families when they raided the EI fund. Then they imposed massive cuts to access.

Conservative cuts of course made it even worse for those who have lost their jobs, and now less than four in ten unemployed Canadians can access benefits.

The Liberals have voted in favour of the following measure before, and they promised to bring it to government, so the question is clear: Will the Liberals create a universal eligibility of 360 hours for all Canadians across the country?

Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk (Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are in a process of Canadian consultation.

It is important that we hear from people from coast to coast to coast to reverse the mean-spirited changes implemented by the previous government that focused on the EI system helping employers, not workers, in Canada. We will change that.

Context : Supplementary Question

Mr. Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby, NDP): Mr. Speaker, reviews do not put food on the table for unemployed workers. That is the reality.

Liberals voted for 360 hours in this House and now they are opposed to that same measure. They promised to roll back all the bad Conservative measures, but now they do not seem to mind a lot of those measures too much. They promised to never ever take money from unemployed workers again, and now they are opposing a House motion that actually forces them to keep their promise.

At a time of growing unemployment and growing layoffs, why are they breaking their promises to Canadian unemployed workers?

Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk (Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to promise the House of Commons and the citizens of Canada that we made a commitment to improve employment insurance, to actually make it a modern system that meets the needs of business and workers, which was a priority that the previous government ignored in its mandate.