Ignatieff/Harper: How it all went down - Macleans.ca

Ignatieff/Harper: How it all went down

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Harper How about a panel? We could appoint a panel to look into this whole Employment Insurance thing over the summer.

Ignatieff A panel? You must be joking. Only a day ago, I stood before Canadians and firmly proclaimed: “The government’s answers in this accountability report aren’t good enough. The government’s performance in Parliament isn’t good enough.” And a panel is going to change that? For weeks I’ve described as “urgent” the need to implement serious reforms to EI. On the very weekend I was confirmed as party leader, I declared in the strongest terms possible the need for “immediate” action to “protect these unemployed workers across the country who badly need help and if the government will work with me, we can get it done. If they won’t, we’ll have to have an election.” Further, I stated without even the hint of hedging that “we have to fix [EI] and we have to fix it now.” Key word: Now. Today, one of my senior MPs said some Canadians would “starve to death” without “immediate” EI reform. Starve to death! So a panel? A panel that would consult and ponder and deliberate over the summer, wasting valuable time and leaving many jobless Canadians twisting in the cruel wind of one of the great economic crises of our time? I find the very thought of it absurd, and I reject your proposal out of hand.

Harper What if we make it a blue-ribbon panel?

Ignatieff Deal.

•••

Oh, mighty blue ribbon! Be it a non-confidence crisis in a system of parliamentary democracy, the desire of hipsters to be seen drinking an out-of-fashion beer or the low self-esteem of a pig at a state fair, there appears to be no problem you cannot solve. You are the bold, fabric-based answer to the needs of  unemployed Canadians in a time of economic turmoil. Your elegant rosette serves as a satiny beacon of hope to a nation whose problems can be solved only by an esteemed panel comprising those of great eminence and many monocles! Godspeed, flappy blue ribbon. Godspeed.

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