Thank you, Chair.
We've been through this how many times? I know that Ms. McLeod really explained the government position fairly well.
I come from Saskatchewan, and Mr. Jean comes from Fort McMurray in Alberta. If you look at what's going on out there, you will see the opportunity that we're missing because we don't have enough people. We see this over and over again.
Here's a real-life story from a couple of years ago of an employer who went out of Saskatchewan to find employees. That employer went into parts of Ontario looking for mechanics, but the potential employees would wait until their employment insurance ran out before talking to the employer.
It comes back to trying to find a balance in the proper programs, encouraging people to go back to work when there are jobs but still supporting them when there are no jobs. That's really what this legislation is doing. To distort this or to put fear into people's eyes or ears, that all of a sudden if they apply for employment insurance it won't be there for them, or they're going to have to take a job that doesn't meet their needs or requirements.... It's been blown out of proportion by the opposition so badly.
The reality is that this is just a rebalancing of employment insurance to make it what it is: unemployment insurance. It's to make sure that when there is a job, people actually take that job, instead of sitting there for 52 weeks or 42 weeks or 36 weeks—whatever the appropriate number of weeks is, depending on where they live. It's actually there to encourage people to get back to work, because when they go back to work, they create other jobs, and that spinoff effect results in more people being hired.
As I said, we need employees in Saskatchewan. We're sitting on an unemployment rate of 4%, which basically means that everybody's employed. I know that for Mr. Jean it's much the same in Alberta. We need people; there's no question about it.
So when there's talk about a work shortage, tell me where it is, because I don't see it in Saskatchewan. In fact, it's the opposite; it's a worker shortage. We've been working with the immigration minister. We've been looking at all sorts of ideas to help solve this. The reality is that changing employment insurance is one way to help solve this. The premier of Saskatchewan has stated that himself.
This is a positive change for the country as a whole. It needs to happen, and we need to get on with it. So I suggest we move to the vote now, sir.