Mr. Speaker, I commend the work done on this extremely important issue by my hon. colleague as well as colleagues from other parties, such as the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst. We had started working together on this even before he became a member of this House.
The hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques just touched on something that must pain the members opposite. During the past five years in particular, Quebec has been paying more than it has been receiving. This had started earlier.
That is also related to development. Under the PQ government, Quebec has developed, particularly in the high tech sector. It was therefore better equipped to face the new economy and the competition that comes with it. Quebec has paid the price for that.
I think that the hon. member opposite is finding himself in a pickle. He knows that we are right. Despite the so-called free vote guidelines in the government party, he is nonetheless expected not to support a unanimous proposal passed during this Parliament.
The hon. member should listen to what his constituents have to say. They would tell him that with the contributions from the employees, the employers and especially the small and medium businesses, the plan should have been enhanced. Changes are needed, but people should not be forced to live in insecurity.
The unemployment insurance plan, which has been misnamed the employment insurance plan, should give a chance to workers who have no job security. It should give them some security between jobs. It should support workers who never had the opportunity to pile up money the way rich people do.
This is not a social program, but an economic one. Countries who understand that have maintained over the years a high quality plan, even when they had to bring in reforms.
The hon. member should learn more about unemployment insurance. Reading about the purpose of such a plan would prevent him from making remarks he could live to regret. I think a real unemployment insurance plan should be just that, an insurance plan, an essential part of any economic policy that provides opportunities to everybody, not just the privileged.