Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question and his support for this bill. We are pleased that the Liberals are supporting this initiative. The fact that they are in opposition must be doing them some good and we hope this continues for years to come. I would also like to thank the NDP.
This bill simply aims to extend the qualifying period if a strike or lockout lasts more than 52 weeks. In such cases, workers are not entitled to employment insurance, even though they have paid into the system for years. This measure will provide fairness and equality for those who have paid into the employment insurance fund for many years.
A distinction must be made between a strike and a lockout. A lockout occurs when a company decides to close its doors, thereby preventing its workers from coming to work. It is a strange situation. A strike is altogether different. In both cases, workers should be paid EI benefits when the conflict is over.