Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my friend, which consists of two points.
The notion of a special committee set up over the summertime was a bit of a failed legacy. It put things on time delay more than anything else. The prospects of getting together and having some sort of agreement between his party and the Conservatives on something like EI was very unlikely, at best.
I have a question about the transfer and the creation of this independent body from government, which is employment insurance now. When the transfer was made, some $2 billion were provided. One of the concerns we raised at the time was it would not be enough money in the event of any type of recession or downturn in the economy.
The employment insurance fund had been robbed of more than $50 billion over the years, over-collecting employment insurance premiums. Then when the government created this new entity at arm's-length from government, it did not transfer more than $50 billion. It transferred a couple of billion dollars.
It did not feel like insurance at all for workers in case something were to go wrong and the government seemed to lowball what might be required to be paid out. Now we have this hodgepodge measure where we have to force the government to come back to the table with more support for the unemployed.
I come from a region that has been very hard hit for a number of years, more and more unemployed in the forestry, fishing and mining sectors. I know he is familiar with such similar circumstances. Was it right for the government to have created this body and seed it with so little money compared to what the government had extracted from it? It was so ill-prepared for any hard times down the road?