Not only are the Conservatives lying to Canadians about employment insurance reform, they're engaging a supposedly non-partisan civil service to help them do it.
Here's the screeching messaging that ConBot Pierre Poilievre's guys took to the media tonight, after the Liberals and Conservatives sat down for what was supposed to be constructive dialogue on EI reform:
A government analysis said the Liberal proposal to slash the minimum work requirement to qualify for employment insurance benefits to 360 hours across the country could exceed $4 billion a year.Wow, $4 billion! More than four times what the Liberals said! Wow, that's crazy, dammed Liberals will bankrupt us, rawrrrr!
A senior Conservative official circulated a synopsis of the cost analysis to reporters.
It said the proposed change could cost four times more than the $1 billion cited by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who has promoted the 360-hour standard as a means of easing the plight of the unemployed during the economic recession.
Except no, its a bald-faced Conservative lie. It's all nonsense.
During the meeting, Liberals said, federal officials admitted that their estimate of the number of people affected by the “360” plan includes new entrants to the work force, re-entrants and those receiving special benefits, such as maternity leave — none of whom Mr. Ignatieff's proposal is intended to cover.You see, rather than ask the civil servants to cost what the Liberals have actually proposed, the Conservatives had them cost a fantasy-land proposal with all sorts of stuff they pulled out of thin air, in order to get a vastly inflated number they could throw around say "rawrrr, Liberals bad!"
Mr. Ignatieff's intention is to cover only those unemployed workers who've paid into the EI system but haven't worked sufficient hours to qualify for jobless benefits. Based on HRSDC's own figures, that would be 9.6 per cent — or about 150,000 to 160,000 — of the current 1.6 million unemployed Canadians.
The Conservatives directed government officials to cost a proposal that is not the Liberal proposal.It's not just that the Conservatives lie. We all know they do. But they're just so fricking obvious about it. They had the public service cost a fantasyland proposal and now they're hiding behind the independence of our civil service for their political lies.
Instead of costing the Liberal proposal to include laid-off workers who have paid into the EI system but are ineligible due to a lack of hours, the Conservatives unilaterally decided to cost a proposal that would extend eligibility significantly beyond this group, more than doubling the number of potential beneficiaries.
At today's meeting of the working group, department officials confirmed that the costing of the real Liberal proposal would be approximately $6,900 per additional beneficiary, which is in line with estimates from TD Bank Economics. This validates Liberal calculations that a 360-hour proposal would cost approximately $1.0-1.5 billion.
Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre, a Conservative member of the working group, insisted the costing is accurate, produced by “an independent and non-partisan public service.”
And while they're busy artificially inflating the Liberal proposal for EI reform, we can't cost the Conservative proposal because THEY DON'T HAVE ONE.
So, in the absence of one I'm going to cost their proposal: one gazillion billion trillion quadrillion dollars. Prove me wrong, Pierre.
P.S. Who is the "senior government source" that leaked the BS report to the media. Tell me media, are you in the habit of protecting anonymous sources that flat-out lie to you and use you as pawns? Because I know that'd piss me off.
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