It seems that the Conservatives are really not interested in co-operating on EI reform with the Liberals. I thought that the Liberals and Conservatives were in effect operating a type of secret coalition but it seems I was wrong. The Conservatives were just playing their usual tricks to keep themselves in power. The EI bipartisan panel has already achieved its purpose of avoiding a summer election. Now perhaps the Conservatives are ready to dare the Liberals to bring them down. The Liberals are not improving significantly in the polls so Harper probably thinks that Ignatieff will cave in again.
Liberals seek independent review of EI proposal as reform panel stalls
(CP) – 18 hours ago
OTTAWA — A bipartisan panel on Employment Insurance reform, set up in June to avert a summer federal election, appears to have ground to a stalemate.
The Conservative and Liberal teams wrapped up their last scheduled meeting without agreeing to a further timetable, and without - say Liberals - any firm proposals from the government side.
A Liberal plan to create a national EI eligibility standard of 360 hours was shot down as an expensive non-starter by Tory MPs on the panel.
Now the Liberals are asking Kevin Page, Parliament's independent budget officer, to do his own cost analysis of their plan.
They dispute Tory claims it will cost upwards of $4 billion a year, saying the price tag is closer to $1 billion.
The creation of the EI panel was the modest price Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff extracted from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in June in return for continued Liberal support of the minority government.
The Liberals also forced the Tories to provide them with an opportunity to defeat the government in September when Parliament returns - and the panel's apparent lack of progress sets up one more friction point between Harper's government and the official Opposition.
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