Monday, August 31, 2009

Conservatives hiding the facts on EI

We know the Conservatives have pretty much killed the EI reform panel. And it seems they're now spending more time trying to blame others for their unwillingness to approach the issue seriously and actually discuss reforming EI then they did actually trying to reform it.

You'll recall the Conservatives essentially blew the panel up when they prodded the independent civil service into doing a "costing" of the Liberal EI reform proposal. But rather than cost the actual Liberal proposal, the Conservatives asked them to include a slew of things the Liberal proposal didn't in order to get a vastly inflated number, an inflated number they could then use as an excuse for doing nothing on the issue, while hiding behind the civil service when challenged on the fictitious nature of their numbers.

The Liberals rightly challenged them on this and asked the parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, to do his own costing of the Liberal proposal. After all, Canadians deserve to know the real numbers. Page is working on it, but there's one little problem:

The Parliamentary Budget Officer hasn't received all the information requested of HRSDC Deputy Minister Janice Charette, which includes data, analysis and assumptions underlying the government's cost projections. The office said that, if necessary, it would produce the analysis in the next two weeks, even without the information.
Meanwhile, while the government continues to try to block a truly independent and fair costing of the Liberal EI reform proposal, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre is still sticking to the Conservatives' fictitious, fantasy land costing, using the independent civil service as a shield for his party's political gamesmanship.

The Conservatives, it seems, are concerned that if the public knows the real cost of the Liberal plan, the government's inflexibility on the issue, and the fact they've yet to even release a proposal of their own, will be quite negative. Unable to win the argument on its merits, they need to stack the deck. They need to cheat to win.

If they're confident in their positions, let's have the real numbers and then let the people decide. Stop trying to hide the truth, and to withhold the information Page needs to do an independent costing.

And Pierre and company should have the guts to stop hiding behind the independent civil service, who should not be used as partisan blockers for a weak quarterback afraid of getting sacked.

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1 comment:

Rick Barnes said...

The Cons have always liked the tactic of running out the clock. In any event, the figures will be found by Kevin Page.

We need to support his office for situations just like the one you have mentioned.

I suspect the Con numbers will be shown in error.