Mr. Chairman, we're not talking about a minor difference, but about figures that are double the original ones quoted. Minor adjustments have doubled the figures, whereas the main component of the program comes down to two important measures, namely the 360-hour requirement and the best 12 weeks. I'm not saying that you did not do your job properly. I'm simply trying to wrap my head around the issue. I feel that we did a good job in 2004. It's easy to say today that we did a poor job in 2004. Yet, we did take our work seriously. Committee members spent several hundred hours on this task, which led to studies and produced these results.
Today, it's easy to say that all of this was done in haste in two days. If that were true, then we should have been informed at the time, when we made our recommendations based on the information supplied to us. We were never told that these figures might not be quite accurate. We were never told to take them with a grain of salt because the work was done quickly. So, we made some recommendations, a number of which were unanimously endorsed. The report's first eight recommendations were unanimous, while opinion was divided on those made on February 15.
Furthermore, people are acting as if nothing happened in the interim, when in fact several bills calling for either a full or partial reform were tabled by the opposition parties. The Bloc Québécois tabled two bills, namelyC-278 andC-269, both of which called for a complete overhaul of the program.
We cannot merely overlook the situation this morning, Mr. Chairman. Did we base on work over the past three or four years on erroneous information? If we did, then it's a very serious matter. Every time we debated one of the bills in committee, government officials were present. Each time, we used these figures. I'm very surprised to find that the figures quoted to us this morning are double the original estimates in both cases.
Having said that, we're being told that the bill is different from the recommendations. Then show me how it is different. I've looked at it and I've studied our recommendations, and they are virtually identical. When we debated the matter back then, we also examined how these recommendations might possibly interact.
I do not wish to belabour the point, but I am very surprised to hear this argument this morning.