Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-316. I have really enjoyed the robust debate we have had in the House. We have good speakers in favour and against the bill, and this is what Canadians of the House, to have motions put forward, to have good debate and, in the end, for members to vote the way they feel is right.
To start on a positive note, I applaud the member for attempting to reform the act. There are a lot of changes that need to be made to the EI system in Canada. We on this side of the House have mentioned it a number of times. The government and private members will bring forward their own ideas about how we might amend the Employment Insurance Act and a number of other acts.
Unfortunately, after reading the bill, which is quite short, the act needs to be reformed in different ways and perhaps slightly more meaningful reforms, not the ones being forwarded by the member for Cariboo—Prince George.
However, I do applaud the member for Cariboo—Prince George for pointing out the problem that pregnant women have in terms of accessing EI. My colleague mentioned that earlier today and that is perhaps a reform that the government or a private member might want to bring forward in terms of how to ensure that women are not excluded from this very valuable social safety net that has been in Canada forever.
Again, I applaud the member for bringing up those ideas for change and I encourage him to bring those forward and perhaps steer his efforts in this direction.
While I am thinking about private members' bills and other bills that are coming up in the House, I think about whether a bill will be good for our community. If it were put in place, would our communities be better places in which to live? That is not only Canada as a whole but also individual communities.
My mind goes immediately to my constituency of Burnaby—Douglas but also drifts back to the community in which I grew up just outside Wolfville in rural Nova Scotia. The communities have quite different circumstances. Burnaby is a land of opportunity. It is the best managed municipality in Canada. We have industry, universities, all kinds of ample opportunity and all kinds of jobs can be attained there.
However, where I grew up in rural Nova Scotia there is not so much the same kind of opportunities. In fact, that is why I moved. My mind goes back to the point when I was growing up in rural Nova Scotia and starting to make my way, the opportunities I had and the people I hung out with, my friends and colleagues.
I grew up in quite a poor area of rural Nova Scotia where individuals went on one of two paths. One path was where they made their way along, usually with some kind of family support, and they socialized with people who were good influences. On the other hand, there were people who went slightly down the wrong path. When I go back to Nova Scotia to visit, we talk about people who went down one path or the other path.
I will get back to this when I have my second five minutes to talk about whether these kinds of acts good for the community. In the second half of my speech, which I am sure all members will be keen to hear, I will allude to how I was on unemployment insurance in Nova Scotia. I looked for work, could not find it and eventually I got on what was then UI, which I was able to transfer out to Vancouver.
The valuable part of being on EI was the job retraining. What really changed my life was being able to access a very small amount of employment insurance. However, employers at that point could top up people's EI and train them. That really started me down the right path. I look forward to explaining more about that in a couple of weeks.