Mr. Speaker, allow me to revisit a statistic my colleague has quoted to make sure it is well understood.
The 88% figure represents the number of people who have put in the hours needed to qualify and who are getting a cheque. That is like saying that out of 100% of Toyota owners, 88% took their car this morning and 12% did not. It is totally wrong to use this figure to demonstrate the effectiveness of employment insurance.
The way to do so is by determining what proportion of those without work, they are the people with no income, actually receive EI.
Earlier, my colleague mentioned those who do not pay into the plan. That in fact was part of the committee's recommendations, which Liberal members supported. The recommendation we are discussing today does not come from Bloc members or the Conservative members. All committee members agreed that the self-employed should be covered by the plan since they are not at present.
Having accumulated a surplus of $11 billion over the last three years, could the federal government not have made a political decision to put half of this amount toward improving EI, rather than use the entire amount to pay down the debt? What we would like to know is why the Liberals stubbornly refuse to introduce a reform? Is it because they have already spent all the money elsewhere?