Mr. Speaker, I want to tell my colleague across the way that if we are strongly opposed to this bill, it is not so much because of what is in it but because of what is not in it, all that there could be for people who are excluded, who will not qualify for these benefits. The bill adds between five and 20 additional weeks for people who already qualify. What does it do, though, for the 60% of people who do not qualify for even one week of employment insurance?
When people are denied eligibility, it increases the fiscal burden on the Quebec nation. They have to apply for last resort assistance, which is provided by the Government of Quebec. I heard the finance minister say in an economic update that he would take another $19 billion from the employment insurance fund by 2015, even though the government does not put anything into this fund at all any more. It is working people and their employers who contribute to it.
Rather than stealing from the unemployed like the Liberals before them—under their plan, more than $75 billion will have been taken from the fund—the Conservatives should get money from the banks and oil companies, to whom they give tax breaks. They should also eliminate the tax havens and the various measures to help rich people, who do not need them. All of the employment insurance claimants could be helped. This is the kind of assistance the unemployed need.
I look into the eyes of people who knock on my door and who say that although they worked, they did not get employment insurance when their company closed. The government refused to help their company when it was in difficulty and instead gave tax credits to profitable firms. We should always remember that tax credits apply to companies that are already making a profit.