The member is right to cry. He will cry much harder still in the next election when the unemployed realize that they were shamelessly abandoned. The NDP has turned its back on the unemployed. Today, to ease its conscience, it is presenting a minor motion to restore a small advantage to a limited group of people, something which, however, the government has almost agreed to already. It has been improved and today the NDP is easing its conscience.
Madam Speaker, do you know why it has done this? Because in the halls of this Parliament, people are saying that the NDP abandoned the unemployed in the deal it struck with the government. Now, we have the Liberal government and its left, NDP, wing. That is who we are dealing with.
The NDP abandoned the workers for its own political benefit. This is unacceptable.
I thought I had seen everything, that the government was the only one capable of such injustice toward the unemployed. We see today that the NDP is joining forces with the government not only in order to keep it in power, but also in terms of how it treats those who lose their jobs.
During the throne speech debate, we, the leaders of the political parties, had a discussion, and we came to an agreement. Everyone agreed to have the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities redo the work in order to improve the EI program. As a result, it issued the 28 recommendations. Even the NDP voted in favour of them, as did a number of Liberal and Conservative members. Everyone agreed to help the unemployed. Everyone said that it made no sense and that something had to be done. Now that the report has been released, I get the feeling that the Bloc Québécois is the only one still in favour of these 28 recommendations.
The NDP member who is proposing the motion bases the benefits on the best 12 weeks. If the committee's resolution were taken in full, that is to say, if benefits were calculated on the basis of the best 12 weeks of income, 470,000 unemployed people in Canada would be helped. That is a lot of people. It would cost $320 million, or about one-quarter of the surpluses not of 2002, 2003 and 2004, but just 2005. In other words, one-quarter of the money that the government will save once again on the backs of poor people, of the money stolen from the unemployed, would be paid back to help 470,000 unemployed people.
Well, the NDP proposes more than that. It has decided that this will be in areas where the unemployment rate is more than 10%. Can anyone tell me what is the matter with the NDP? How can they advocate for people who have no work and no voice, vote in favour of motions and amendments to help the unemployed, always talk the same talk, and then introduce a motion in the House which is one of the committee's 28 recommendations that the NDP has been careful to water down by applying it only to areas where the unemployment rate is 10% or more? In doing this, the NDP proves that it has chosen to abandon the unemployed not only at the time of its historic agreement to keep the government in power but also by cutting back the demands of unemployed groups, of the Sans-chemise movement, of people fighting to recover their rights and their money. It is unworthy of a party that calls itself social democratic to take the same path as this government.
I knew that the NDP did not want an election and was absolutely intent on keeping this government in power—a government literally crushed by scandal—but not to the point of turning its back on many of its supporters, on people who count on us, who need our support, who need spokespersons here in Parliament. I never thought the NDP would sink so low.
I do not know whether it is the euphoria of power that has turned the heads of the NDP members. Maybe they are not accustomed to moving in the corridors of power or numbering among those people who have decided to keep this government in office.
Maybe it went to their heads. In any case, it has made them forget their principles and it is quite sad.
The committee of MPs asked for a salary calculation over a 12-week period everywhere. A Liberal senator made a report and she asked for the same thing, a calculation based on the best 12 weeks. The Liberals say they will use the best 14 weeks in areas where the unemployment rate is 10% or greater. The NDP say they are fighting for the unemployed and asking for the best 12 weeks in areas where the unemployment rate is 10% or greater.
We are not going to play this game. W cannot sacrifice the rights of one group of people, like the unemployed, to play politics and try to show that no, we have not completely forgotten them. When the NDP made its deal with the government and the Prime Minister bought that party's vote for $4.5 billion, can anyone listening tell me why the NDP did not put on the table, as a condition for keeping this scandal-ridden government in power, an overhaul of the employment insurance system? As long as it was for sale, it could have at least gotten fair market value, in other words, the price of justice for those who lose their employment.
No, the NDP thinks it conducted a great negotiation, made major gains, and did extraordinary things. It is part of the development of this country, but it has abandoned the unemployed. You have abandoned the unemployed and that is unacceptable.
The unemployed and the jobless coalitions will remember. All those who believed you, and believed the Prime Minister and the ministers, during the last election campaigns when promises and commitments were made, those who were told that, yes, something was going to be done to correct the injustice done to them, all those people who believed the government, have been deceived. All those who believed the NDP have also. They have obvious confirmation of it.
I will indicate in closing that we will be supporting the motion. We cannot help but be in agreement with any improvement, no matter how small. I will return to the example I gave at the beginning, since it seems not to have been understood. The government has cleared out everything in the house and now the NDP is offering to return the cutlery. Are we going to say no to that? No, we are not, but we would like to see the unemployed get back everything that belongs to them, everything that has been stolen from them.
There was no possibility of the Bloc Québécois voting in favour of this government's budget without the express condition we set before, during and after the budget. We are going to vote against this budget right up to the end, because it does not contain any EI reform. The unemployed and the Sans-chemise have a voice here in the person of the Bloc members, and we will not sell out our support for any political advantage, no matter what it is.
We believe in the unemployed, we believe in justice, and we will stand firm. Either one believes in justice, or one claims to believe in it and then does what the NDP did, prostrates oneself before the government in order to be up close and personal with power. But the honeymoon will soon be over.