Thursday, August 06, 2009

Conservatives lie on EI reform, and they lie badly

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.

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.
Wow, $4 billion! More than four times what the Liberals said! Wow, that's crazy, dammed Liberals will bankrupt us, rawrrrr!

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.

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.
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!"
The Conservatives directed government officials to cost a proposal that is not the Liberal proposal.

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.
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.
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.

More from Steve and Scott.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Gordie Canuk said...

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.

In journalistic circles there is something referred to as 'going to the dark side'. Basically it involves becoming a paid lackey for political interests. The hack journalist gets first pickings over juicy gossip and insider information, as well as some $$$ sometimes...and in return the hack becomes a shill for political interests.

Ain't freedom of the press grand.

Barcs said...

iggy is talking tough again...but come fall... do you think he will fold his position on EI completely to avoid an election that winning conditions aren't in place for? or will he just accept a national standard of more hours than any place uses now say 1200 instead of 360 to gain insurance benefits. And claim a victory cus it was a national standard that he was demanding??

The Rat said...

Jeff, you can see this is a loser, can't you? I mean, you guys whined about how those lyin' conservatives misrepresented the green shift, too. If your proposal on EI requires five minutes to describe who does and who doesn't qualify can you see how the CPC ads will crush Iggy just like they did Dion? People, and by people I mean the majority of Canadians who work for a living and aren't currently unemployed, will crap all over a turd of a policy that basically gives people an EI vacation after 9 weeks of work. If this is your election issue be prepared for a majority, just not a Liberal one.

ADHR said...

The Conservatives always do this. Although it's snarkier than I would have put it, I have a hard time disagreeing with Barcs. Really, what did Ignatieff expect? Harper's Conservatives are completely out of control, they're successfully lying to the public, and the Liberals are actually trying to work with these people.

Say what you like about the NDP -- and I know you do -- but at least the NDP and the Liberals could work together.

Morgan said...

Is there someplace where we can read the details of the Liberal EI proposal and the financial breakdown they are talking about.

That would help people make up their minds on the details rather than just reading "Ignatieff wants 360 hours of work". There must be some concrete ideas also for long time workers who lost their jobs not just the short termers.
I checked the Liberal site and there is nothing there.