Mr. Speaker, I welcome this bill; I think it is a step in the right direction, but I want to go over what the minister has said. She said that she wants to treat people equally. I take that pretty seriously.
In talking about equal treatment, I will refer her to one of the reports that was put before the House. I visited every province across the country from Newfoundland to British Columbia, and I made a report on the lack of response to the new labour market. At that time, it was the self-employed. The employment insurance program as it now stands does not respond to the new reality of the labour market. More workers are classified as self-employed now. Why did she not put that in her bill? If people lose their jobs, they have no employment insurance. They cannot be part of the EI program and collect employment insurance because, as she said, they have to make a choice between family and employment and all of that.
Throughout that trip and the study that I did, I found that most of those who become self-employed are women. Businesses say that they do not need their services, but that they will take them on as self-employed workers to do the same work. Therefore, they lose all of the benefits and everything.
This bill does not treat everyone equally. The minister bragged that the Conservatives have done it and the Liberals did not, but in 1999, after the Liberals took all the cuts in EI, I made a tour across the country and that was one of the recommendations of the self-employed. They wanted to be part of the employment insurance program.