Mr. Speaker, on the other side of this House, they are talking about the federal government's bungling of regional development. I can tell you that, if the federal government bungled regional development, we would not be having an opposition day today. However, I will take the few minutes I have to talk to some of the issues raised by my colleague. First is the matter of unemployment insurance.
I was one of the Quebec spokespersons on this reform. I believed, I believe and I will always believe in this reform. This government had the backbone to carry out a reform that everyone wanted, that was indicated by all of the international organizations, starting with the OECD. The employment insurance reform will make the system fairer, will make more seasonal workers eligible for benefits, and will ensure greater stability of contributions.
We will recall that, in 1993, the Conservatives had predicted higher contributions. With our reform, we not only lowered them, but ensured their stability.
In addition, the program now has active measures to enable workers to be trained in order to quickly return to the labour market. This is what we have done.
Inappropriate remarks are also being made about the employment insurance surplus. Yes, there is a surplus at the moment. However, people always neglect to mention that, during the recession at the end of the 1980s and at the start of the 1990s, the unemployment insurance-now the employment insurance-fund was at least $5 billion in the hole.
Who looked after fixing the deficit? Who looked after paying the interest? The Government of Canada, which guaranteed Canadians continued benefits. That is what profitable Canadian federalism with a vision of security is all about.
Finally, I find it a bit odd, and I want to link up with my colleague for industry, that these people are becoming much more, in fact, overly centralizing. Now they are asking the Government of Canada to become involved in roads and highways, which are under provincial jurisdiction.