This is going well


Stephen Harper, June 17. I’m also pleased that the Official Opposition will work with us on the issue of employment insurance.  I indicated we were looking at some changes for the fall and I’m hopeful we’ll be able to find some common ground over the summer but I’m delighted that we will have a dialogue and hope that it will proceed in good faith and arrive at some degree of common ground.  So we will work at that in anticipation of the fall. And, you know, really in summary that is what people want in a minority parliament.  Nobody wants crises.  Nobody wants yet another election.  Nobody wants the opposition coalition to get back together.  They do want to see the parties where possible trying to find some common ground and working on the economy.  So that’s what we will be doing.  And let’s hope it all moves – continues to move in a good direction.

Canwest, tonightA federal Liberal proposal to slash the minimum work requirement to qualify for employment insurance benefits to 360 hours across the country could be four times more costly than the party has estimated, according to an analysis done by the Conservative government. A synopsis of the costing analysis — provided to reporters on Thursday by a senior government official — said the proposed change could add more than $4 billion to the annual cost of the EI program, as opposed to the $1-billion figure cited by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff when he promotes the 360-hour standard as a means of easing the plight of the unemployed during the economic recession.

Canadian Press, tonightDuring the meeting, Liberals said, federal officials admitted that their estimate of the number of people affected by the “360” plan includes new entrants to the work force, re-entrants and those receiving special benefits, such as maternity leave — none of whom Mr. Ignatieff’s proposal is intended to cover.

See previously: What exactly is the disagreement here?


This is going well

  1. From the article:

    "Colin Busby, policy analyst with the C.D. Howe Institute and co-author of new report on EI reform, agreed.

    “You really need access to those administrative figures to come up with a really good, precise estimate, which the department of human resource development has,” Mr. Busby said."

    It doesn't sound like this is an issue of precision. It doesn't sound like the quality of the data is at issue here. It sounds like the difference is due to the fundamental assumptions used in modeling costs.

    It also sounds like the Cons (I'll try to conceal my shock) are tinkering with the parameters of the Liberal proposal to inflate the costs so they can get some shouting points. I wish my expectations were higher – I should be angry and sickened at the Cons manipulating the debate like this, but it's entirely within their standard MO.

    • And where do we find the Liberal proposal?
      This is the first I heard that 'some unemployed' don't qualify for EI360!

      • Maybe you need to round out your sources, if this is the first you've heard this.

        For the record, various Cons have been claiming for months that, under the Liberal proposal, a Canadian could get their first job, work a few weeks and get a year's worth of pogey. This has been a patent lie from the beginning – all they've done here is run the math on their lie.

        Now we're going to be subjected to the gross sight of our political "leaders" promoting this lie and claiming that the Liberal proposal would cost $4B/year.

        Did you vote for these people? Is this the kind of government you want? Personally, I get p*ssed off when people lie to me.

  2. Neither party wants to be seen as cooperating because it might hurt their election prospects which depend on the appearance of offering different visions. That cynical point having been said, the Harper Conservatives do appear to be the biggest spoilers on EI reform at this stage.

  3. The Conservatives agreed to meet through the summer to address EI issues/problems and to come-up with suggestions to improve EI benefits pay-outs and or access and or fairness across the country. If they do not believe there are any problems then why agree to meet? Why not just come out and tell Canadians that EI is OK and does not need any reforms or tweaking.

    So far the Conservatives only give reasions why EI should not be changed but they are doing very little to lead the country through improvements to EI legislation that will have a positive impact on Canadians that are affected by job loss during this critical economic downturn.

    It appears the Conservatives are playing politics with the fate of currently unemployed Canadians and gambling that there will not be more unemployed in the months ahead! And everyone knows how good they are at putting their fingers on the correct impact of the economic turmoil we are in!!!

    • BoobyB, this is about ' 9.6 per cent — or about 150,000 to 160,000 — of the current 1.6 million unemployed Canadians.'
      The remaining 1.450 million unemployed will not be affected by the Dipper proposal, EI 360 that Libs are pushing.

      But, now that the can of worms is opened, and obviously the bar will not be lowered to 360,
      there seems to be a business/lay consensus forming around 560,
      which may actually affect more unemployed in the end.

  4. I'll never feel the same about blue ribbons again.

  5. "A senior Conservative official"?

    C'mon media.. you're letting him or her use you to disseminate Conservative propaganda. If he/she going to do that, the media should be refusing to accept the propaganda without the person being willing to be identified.

  6. "A senior Conservative official"?

    C'mon media.. you're letting him or her use you to disseminate Conservative propaganda. If he/she going to do that, the media should be refusing to accept/broadcast their propaganda without the "Senior Conservative official" person being willing to be identified.

  7. The analysis was produced by “an independent and non-partisan public service.”, and presented by the current Government of Canada.

    Unless you think our public service would fudge numbers for PMSH…not.

    • Of course they didn't, Wilson. Read the story.

      The Conservatives asked the public service to price a fantasy-land proposal that bears little relation to what the Liberals have actually proposed. It added a crapload of things the Liberals aren't proposing in order to get a vastly inflated number. The Conservatives constructed a false proposal, asked the civil service to cost that false proposal, and now they're pretending the cost of that false proposal is the cost of the actual Liberal proposal.

      And when BS is called, the Cons, like you here (quoting Pierre Poilievre, btw) hide behind the independence of the civil service. But it's still BS, and it sullies the reputation of our civil service.

      • So Liberals are proposing 2 Tier EI ?
        What kind of 'unemployment' makes a Canadian a second class citizen?

        This is like the Liberal Gun Registry , sold to Canadians at 1/10 the cost it actually turn out to be.

        • I have no idea what you're talking about, quite frankly. Read the linked articles. They outline quite clearly what the Liberals are proposing, and why. In a nutshell, temporarily improved access for the currently unemployed to help deal with the recession.

          Meanwhile, the Conservatives haven't proposed jack-squat.

          • ' for the currently unemployed'?
            But unemployment is supposed to increase for another year… do we have a date, like if you are unemployed on Oct 1 you're in, get laid off Oct 2 and you are s.o.l.??

            What about those who didn't have enough qualifying hours yesterday, had to go on welfare…would they qualify for EI360?

            That's the hornet's nest with 'temporary' measures, yah gotta declare a beginning and an end.
            And you piss off ALOT of people caught outside the 'temporary period', and you get a 'rush' of people into the 'temporary period'.

          • I don't believe the exact qualifying dates have been set, and I'm sure they're open to tweaking. But from day one, if you'd been bothering to actually pay attention, you'd know what the Liberals have been proposing is a temporary enrichment of the EI program to help deal with the economic crisis. A stimulus measure, if you will. Temporary, like all the stimulus in that budget the Conservatives brought in back in Janurary,

            And what rush are you talking about? We're talking about EI. Are you seriously saying a wack of people are going to suddenly quite their jobs so they can go on EI and make a fraction of their previous salary? That's pretty dumb.

      • Oh, here we have the 'second class Canadians' that would be ineligible for Dippers EI 360

        'new entrants to the work force, re-entrants and those receiving special benefits, such as maternity leave — none of whom Mr. Ignatieff's proposal is intended to cover.

        So if you got laid off from your first job, or you just returned to the workforce after a long sabatical or just got off disability or maternity leave and got laid off…you don't qualify?
        Am I reading this right?????

        • How is that different from the current law?

        • "Am I reading this right????? "

          Watch out for those bad apples masquerading as oranges.

        • New entrants/re-entrants should have to work longer to qualify but would it be fair to not reduce the qualifying conditions for sickness benefits?

          So a healthy person is laid off because of a shortage of work and qualifies for EI at 360. But someone who gets laid off because they have to undergo cancer treatment doesn't qualify under 360? And is the difference that healthy person is affected by the economic downturn but sick person is well, sick therefore "suck it up buttercup".

          And if we lower the hours required for non new entrants/re-entrants, shouldn't we also reduce the hours for new entrants? Perhaps not to 360 but…must they still work the required 910 hours that are the current requirement?

  8. "A senior Conservative official"?

    C'mon media.. you're letting him or her use you to disseminate Conservative propaganda. If he/she is going to do that, the media should be refusing to accept/broadcast their propaganda without the "Senior Conservative official" person at least being willing to be identified.

    • Are the media in the habit of granting anonymity to "senior Conservative officials" that lie to them? Because I know that would piss me off, and in my mind it would invalidate our agreement to protect the source.

      • Maybe it wasn't a senior Conservative official….

        • So the media are lying then? To what end?

          • "senior Conservative officials" that lie to them'…to what end?

            When the media doesn't source a quote, who knows BCer?
            IMO, regardless of political stripe, if the source wants to stay anonymous, then the media should not quote them nor present what the anon said in a story…no source= no news, just mischief.

          • I absolutely agree with the naming of unamed sources. And good for you guys for asking for the name.

            We are the customer and the media should cater to us if they want us to remain customers. After the whole wafergate-gate episode, you would think the media would be more cautious about anonymous sources but I guess they are running with the theory that "memories are short".

            So Mr. Wherry, do tell, who is this senior Conservative official? And if you would prefer not to mention his name, then remove your story!

  9. And they're engaging a public service that is supposed to be non-partisan and independent to play their political games, having them prepare a costing on an inflated and invented fantasy-land proposal, passing it off as supposedly representing the cost of the Liberal proposal, and then hiding behind the Independence of the civil service when BS is called, accepting no responsibility. Its disgusting.

    And of course we can't cost the Conservative proposal because they just don't have one.

    • Is this where I remind you that EI 360 is a 2007 Dipper proposal?

      • if i were keen to play along, i would still have to ask wtf that has to do with anything in BCer's post?

      • There was an NDP motion before the House which a lot of members of the opposition
        parties " said " they supported. Part of that motion included a 360 proposal. The NDP
        said they were open to amendments on any or all parts of the motion as long as it was debated.

        The NDP are not at the EI table. There is no "Dipper" proposal.

        The NDP are heading for Halifax where, the media tell us, days and days will be spent talking
        about a name change. Or, at least, that's what the media will be talking about.

        • I vote for the NewD party

          • NewD will, no doubt , be in the mix at the Old Triangle Pub.

          • Doubtful they have an affiliate in Brazil.

        • The NDP motion also involved a permanent 360-hour standard, IIRC, where the Liberals support a temporary measure to deal with the recession, which is a significant difference in both policy and costing.

          • Temporary and permanent are not as fixed in politics as they are in the dictionary.

          • all distinctions is henceforth meaningless

      • No, that would be around the corner, next to the "what does this have to do with anything?" section.

    • "And they're engaging a public service that is supposed to be non-partisan and independent"

      So your idea of a non-partisan and independent civil service is for them to slavishly follow what Libs say and to ignore the government of the day and what they want? Sounds about right coming from a Lib/lib.

      And this "non-partisan and independent" you write about. Civil servants leak things all the time to hurt the Con government, particularly during election periods. Does this compromise their non-partisan position or is it ok with you because it only the hurts Cons?

      • "So your idea of a non-partisan and independent civil service is for them to slavishly follow what Libs say and to ignore the government of the day and what they want?"

        You know better than that. The civil service don't choose whose plan to "slavishly follow" – they provided a cost analysis as requested, according to the parameters the Cons gave them. Those parameters were NOT the parameters of the Liberal plan. The Cons are abusing the credibility of the civil service to lend credibility to their misleading argument.

        • exactly. not to mention that they have also at time leaked things equally damaging to the Libs.

    • "And of course we can't cost the Conservative proposal because they just don't have one. "

      I think, to be more accurate, they don't have another proposal. The Conservatives have implemented a lot of changes throughout the year so far. They increased the number of weeks allowed taking into account this recession could last longer than anyone wants, they've increased the retraining dollars and opened that up to self employed as well as allowed self employed to access maternity benefits.

      There's more but I'm sure you all already know them because you're all avid readers. The only thing the conservatives haven't done is EI 360 so I guess that means they haven't done anything. Temporary or not, the changes that the Liberals are asking for are changes that will cause trouble.

  10. Have you got a link or two the the Liberal proposal that spells out who EI360 excludes ?
    I do do alot of reading, and honestly did not see any such article. Enlighten me TJ.

      • As usual, your claims of lies is a fabrication, one of many. Keep 'em coming, someone out there might believe you.

        • So aside from "Liar, liar!" can you articulate what you're talking about?

    • "I do do alot of reading,"

      Yeah, right.

  11. 'And of course we can't cost the Conservative proposal because they just don't have one.'
    Pointing out that Liberals don't have one of their own either,
    EI360 is a policy Dippers proposed in 2007.

    • again, so what re its origins, whether you or anyone else wants to characterize it as stealing it, endorsing it, or whatever….regardless of where it came from, they have made clear the policy alternative they want. the conservatives have, unto this point, not done the same.

    • Pointing out you're both misdirecting and inaccurate.

  12. The CONs are sticking firmly to their RB Bennett-prepared EI ideas. Soup in every pot, as long as the poor provide their own ladle. And work houses for 14 year olds who give any lip…

  13. As usual, both sides are painted into their respective corners. The Conservatives are concerned that if they give any ground at all on EI, the Liberals will take credit for it and use it as a talking point in the upcoming election. And the Liberals are concerned that the Conservatives will try to accuse them of being willing to wastefully spend billions of dollars of taxpayers' money.

    I don't see how this standoff is going to end.

    • I think that's the usual push-and-pull of politics.

      …with the exception of the Cons' lying about the cost of the Liberal plan, and distributing working documents in violation of the committee's agreement. If these two things are true, the Cons are deliberately poisoning the well to make sure nothing happens. Very Republican of them.

  14. This is what passes for political 'debate' in Canada and it's laughable. Libs think people should qualify for EI after 2 months of work and Cons are holding out for 3-4 months as far as I can tell. They are just arguing over details here and people are acting like the fate of the nation is at stake. If this was a real debate, Cons would be arguing against EI entirely and the dippers would want EI the day after you are laid off or quit and Libs would be about where they are now. Instead they all argee that EI is a wonderful program but aren't certain who qualifies, or when, to enjoy the wonderfulness.

    • Just curious, if the Cons were to argue against EI entirely, is that a position that you would argue for and support?

  15. I would be so happy if media would just make it a policy to never print or write anything from anonymous sources. That would put a stop to this kind of bs.

    Just say no, media. They have to agree to be named, or no story. Otherwise, we seem stuck in a perennial game of gossip or password, with no one taking responsibility for what they're saying.

  16. Everybody.

    Shut up, stop holding press conferences and leaking documents, and get the hell to work. Come talk to us when you're done.