Mr. Speaker, with regard to the royal recommendation situation as it relates to any of the bills that have come up in recent times about employment insurance benefits, I have been concerned that there has been no discussion about the obligations of the government with regard to the notional surplus of the EI.
Under the rules guiding the employment insurance plan, where there is an accumulated surplus I believe the regulations require that two years of surplus be maintained and, second, to the extent that there would be a greater surplus than that, that it would be drawn down by either a reduction of premiums or by expansion or programs or introduction of new program benefits under the EI program.
Therefore, there is this other element of the fact that there is a notional EI surplus and that the government has an obligation to manage that and to deal with it in the prescribed fashion.
It raises the question as whether or not there is a blanket royal recommendation to authorize the government to continue to deal with the notional surplus or to discharge it by form of some legislation or changes of regulations related to the EI notional surplus.
I wanted to raise those points because we have had many interventions with regard to private members' items calling for changes in the program. The element is that there are funds available in that program and accounted for by the government to the extent that they have been included in the revenues of the government, which is a requirement of the Auditor General, but I do not believe that overrides the government's obligation to properly manage the notional surplus account and to use the funds in accordance with the regulations prescribed.