Sunday, May 17, 2009

Liberal's Demand E.I. Changes 7 Years To Late

So the leader of the Liberal party is again warning of an election if changes are not made to E.I. Former Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale says the Conservative government is out of touch, uncaring for those losing their jobs. Aside from the fact it was the Liberals under Jean Chretien and Paul Martin who made the changes to E.I, the ones where depending on the region you lived you required a certain amount of hours depending on your local unemployment rate.

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
Total Job Loss 258,000
-10.7% Ontario 125,000 -10.9%
Quebec 103,000 -14.9%
Unionized Employees 121,000 -16.4%
Non-Union Employees 137,000 - 8.7%
Source: Statistics Canada. Labour Force Survey Data from CANSIM AND Cat. 71F0004XCB (Not Seasonably Adjusted.)
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.


Anonymous said...

Did I read that the Chretien/Martin Liberals made those stricter changes to EI around the time the unemployment rate was around 8%?

That's the same rate as NOW - during the "world's worst recession blah blah blah.

So, what was the Liberal's rationale for the high unemployment in the 90's and early 2000's and their reason for tightening up the EI rules?

Any Hansard sleuths out there to dig up their arguments from back THEN and compare them to their blatant partisan attacks NOW?

L said...

I wondered when those strange regional rules came in, so thanks for the data. The political objective would have been to fund seasonal employment jobs to reward voters in the Maritimes, I suspect. It would be interesting to see what was said in Parliament to justify this back then! Now the Liberals want to gain votes in Ontario ridings, so blame Conservatives for being uncaring for not changing the rules fast. 700 hours is still pretty generous to qualify for a year's UI.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this blog really rocks! No gossip or complaining...just the facts.

Love it! Keep it coming. I'm telling my friends who have had it with bloggers who really just spout off or pile on subjects to the point of totally turning the reader off.

paulsstuff said...

You nailed it. Those regional qualifying rates helped secure the Maritime vote for the Liberals.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post

Anonymous said...

It's just another case of Liberal hypocrisy. This is the same gang that signed the Kyoto protocol, sat on their hands for five years, then demanded the Conservatives fix it overnight. Liberals have no shame.

Anonymous said...

If yu think the Liberals should not have put in place the current EI rates then why does Steven Harper endorse them and refuse to change them? I can only conclude that he believes the rates are reasonable. The Liberals were right all along.

paulsstuff said...

"I can only conclude that he believes the rates are reasonable. The Liberals were right all along."

Wow. You really missed the premise of my post. The PM does think the qualifying rules are fair. What you overlooked is the unemployment rate under the Liberals was higher than today when they put the changes into effect. And it was higher for much the time they were in office.

So then why today are the complaining the rules they put in are unfair? The unemplyment rate was 2% higher when the changes came in. Would that not mean the rules were unfair then?

Anonymous said...

To add to insult not a single national LMSM has brought this subject up except blame the conservatives for the liberals' problems.
Plus the liberals took the E.I funds to pay down the national debt then they have the audacity to raise the premiums.