Madam Speaker, I am tabling a petition today that was signed by dozens of people from Saskatchewan.
The petitioners point out that they have paid into EI all of their working lives, but now that they need the safety net they themselves built, it is no longer there for them.
They therefore call for a comprehensive overhaul of the employment insurance system. Specifically, they call for a standardized 360 hours to qualify, an increased benefit period of at least 50 weeks, the elimination of the two-week waiting period, benefits at 60% of normal earnings based on the best 12 weeks and a bigger investment in training and retraining.
The petitioners are keenly aware that successive Liberal and Conservative governments diverted $54 billion of worker and employer contributions to EI and used that money to pay down the debt and deficit rather than used it to provide help for the involuntarily unemployed during economic downturns. That misappropriation only heightens the moral obligation for the government to restore the integrity of the EI system.
To that end, they call upon the government to respect the will of Parliament and act immediately on the comprehensive NDP motion that was passed in the House of Commons to restore the integrity of the employment insurance system.