Madam Speaker, that is why the committee made 28 recommendations, one being the number of hours needed to qualify. It totally does not make sense that a person needs 910 hours to qualify for employment insurance. We have people all across the country who are working in the restaurant industry which is seasonal work. The tourists arrive in the summer and after August, when school starts, many people lose their jobs. It is not easy to find 910 hours of work. The committee recommended to the government 360 hours in order to be fair to the people.
I have said this so many times. It is not the fault of the workers. We do not have any seasonal workers; we have seasonal jobs. There is a difference between seasonal workers and seasonal jobs. I am proud of Canadians. People are not lazy. They do want to work, they do want good decent jobs and they do want to earn a living. However when an employee is told on Friday that he is not needed the following week or in two weeks time, the employee has no control over that. We have a an employment insurance system to help those people.
If we look at the study that was done we see that people are upset with the employment insurance because they do not understand why people who lose their jobs cannot qualify for EI while there is a $46 billion surplus in the fund, a fund that has a $3 billion surplus every year. This is totally unacceptable, which why our recommendations go further than the best 12 weeks that we are asking for. At this time we are asking Parliament to support the best 12 week plan because the other one does not make sense.
One would not believe how much people are hurt by the small earnings they take home. Most of the people working in seasonal jobs are working for minimal wages and when they get EI it is less than if they were on welfare. We should be ashamed for treating our workers like that, especially since they and the employers are the ones paying into it. It is not the government. It has been out of it for years and years. The money belongs to two groups, the employers and the employees and they should have some say in it. They are telling us that it should be the best 12 weeks and that the qualifying hours should go down.
We are hoping to go further than that and to bring forward changes for the employment insurance plan at a level that will be acceptable to the labour market in the country