Mr. Speaker, it is very seldom that I get a chance to make a comment and ask a question of a cabinet minister during debate so I appreciate this. This is one of my first opportunities and I have been here for over two years.
Could the Minister of Human Resources Development confirm the current size of the UI fund? I know during the campaign there was a deficiency of about $3 billion. I know there is a surplus and I would like to see the amount confirmed. I anticipate it is going to grow. At what point would he consider offering tax relief to this sector by lowering premiums?
I come from the private sector and I know what employers and employees think of payroll taxes. It is a subject of concern to many Canadian taxpayers.
My final question for the minister is this. Has there been talk or consideration given of reconciling the UI fund in the future? Has consideration been given to making it into an insurance program between employer and employee that stands alone, regulated and monitored by the federal government to ensure that people get their proper benefits as opposed to co-mingling the fund into the general account and using it to apply on current revenues?