Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member alluded to the stability of the system. I hope she will agree with me that the only thing that has remained stable is the revenue generated by the system for the federal government since 1996.
In 1996, the federal government stopped contributing to the EI account. All it has done since 1996 is rake in surpluses. As of 2003-04, the surplus totalled $42.5 billion. That is stability.
Meanwhile, the men and women who should have benefited from the EI system have seen their benefits decrease, and the percentage of unemployed who qualify has dropped from 42% to 39% between 1996 and 2002. In addition, benefit payments were 17% lower in 2001 than they were in 1994.
I just think that my Liberal colleague should remain within the bounds of what is fair and honest in her remarks. The only stability was in the EI account being tapped by the government for uses other than helping workers who have lost their jobs, including seasonal workers.