Mr. Speaker, it was obvious that the hon. member was talking about the changes to the EI account. Although that was not clear from his statement, I will answer the question in that manner. The EI account, as the member has previously said in his comments, has been abused by the previous government to the tune of over $50 billion, which was literally taken away from workers, I would not use the word “stolen” although he hon. member did, and put into general revenue.
Consistently, employees and employers across Canada have asked for EI premiums to be lowered. They have asked for the account to be revenue neutral, and they have asked that there should be some type of cushion in place for catastrophic events that are beyond the government's control: in the advent of a recession, the downturn in the cod fishery that we experienced in the early nineties off the east coast of Canada, and those types of catastrophic events.
We can talk about putting $15 billion in the account. There has never been $15 billion in the EI account. For the first time ever there will be a legislated $2 billion cushion that will allow for those types of catastrophic events and changes in the economy in this country.
In the meantime, workers and employers will benefit, the system will be revenue neutral, and the government will not be able to reach out with its long hand and pluck money out of it. It is a much better system than ever existed before.