Liberals are calling for a national rate of 360 hours, rather an odd figure when you consider the lowest number of hours required to qualify for benefits now is 420, a rate set by Liberals. The cost of such a change would be in the range of $1.5 billion per year. Now I am in favor in some changes, as is the current government. and I won't even go into the fact that had the Liberal governments of Chretien/Martin not taken $55 billion from the E.I. fund and put it into general revenues, the money would be there for these changes.
What I would like Ignatieff or Goodale to tell me is exactly what number of unemployed did you need to demand E.I. changes, because when thousands of Canadian's were losing their jobs under your government, I don't recall you speaking of a national rate. As an example, here are some numbers from StatsCan. 258,000 jobs lost, the majority in Ontario and Quebec.
Total % Job Loss
Job loss in manufacturing across Canada between August 2002 to May 2006 totals 258,000. This totals more than one in ten jobs that have been lost to closures, layoffs or retirements.
Interesting Fact: At the time the Liberals made the changes to E.I. in 1996 , the national unemployment rate was higher (9.6%) than it is today (8%). It was also higher in 1997 ( 9.0%) and 1998 (8.5%). Rates as of July each year. Unemployment hit a peak of 10.6% in January 1997, and remained higher than today's average until May 1999. With the exception of four months, September-December 1998,, Canada had higher unemployment rates from January 1993 until May 1999 than it has today. At no time during these years did the Liberal's think the E.I. qualifying rules were unfair.