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?