Mr. Speaker, it is very unfortunate that only five minutes remain for a bill that is so important for workers throughout Canada and Quebec.
When the government, through the parliamentary secretary, said that people will not accept the truth, what truth was it talking about? Was it talking about its own ideological truth that fails to help workers? Eliminating the two-week waiting period has nothing to do with ideology; it has to do with necessity and need.
I very much appreciated the fact that my colleague spoke up and pointed out that David Dodge is not someone who needs money. What does David Dodge have to do with it? No one asked the unions; no one asked the food banks. Instead, they asked David Dodge.
The Conservatives are saying they conducted prebudget consultations. Who did they consult? The minister told us: they consulted heads of banks. They did not conduct any prebudget consultations with grocery store owners or the people who would receive that money.
If we were to eliminate the two-week waiting period, people would not be saving that money for a rainy day. That money would return to the economy immediately because those people need it. That money would generate GST and other taxes.
The parliamentary secretary is saying that this measure would cost $1.3 billion. He increased his estimate, since last time he said it would cost $1 billion and now he is talking about $1.3 billion. We better hurry up and vote on this bill, or soon he will put the cost at $1.6 billion.
Our researchers old us that it could cost nearly $900 million. But most of that money will come back to the government.
He says that this is inefficient. Inefficient compared to what? We think it is efficient for workers. It may not be good for their reputation. He says that this is unnecessary spending. What does he know? Has he ever been unemployed? To say that this is unnecessary spending is an insult to people who lose their jobs. These people need this money. As my colleague said, they are the ones who paid into the program, not the government.
We cannot really expect the Conservatives to change their ideology, because there will be no royal recommendation for this bill. But as my colleague said, this money does not come out of the government's budget. I want to say that again, because it is important. It is important for the unions to hear and for the workers to hear. We will refuse the royal recommendation for this bill if the government should ever decide to grant it, because it should not apply. I believe that the government should listen to us and not apply the royal recommendation.
I therefore call on all parliamentarians to do the right thing and be sensitive to workers who fall victim to the neo-liberal crisis and globalization. That is why plants are closing without notice. We must correct this injustice.
The Conservatives are saying that this measure will not fix everything. We know that. We want to put forward a whole slew of measures to make employment insurance more equitable, and I used the word equitable deliberately. This measure may be modest, but it is very important to workers who lose their jobs without notice. This is something very real we are asking for.
The Conservatives still have time to think about this and admit that they had not realized how much workers across Canada needed this, even workers in Alberta who sometimes lose their jobs. They had not realized why people lose their jobs or how great their need was. I hope the Conservatives will come to this realization tonight and agree with us tomorrow morning.