No great expectations for EI working group in Ottawa

Jul 23rd, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief

PM Harper and his Parliamentary SecretaryOTTAWA. The still mysterious Employment Insurance Working Group is apparently meeting for the first time this afternoon. The rain is setting the right kind of  mood.

You may or may not recall that this group was hastily nailed together last month to avoid a Canadian federal election this summer. If it comes up with some suitable reforms to Canada’s employment insurance system, between now and September 28, it may avoid a federal election this fall too.

There are three Conservative and three Liberal appointees. The Conservatives have chosen: Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development; the irascible Pierre Poilievre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister ; and  Malcolm Brown, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Human Resources and Skills Development. The Liberals have selected: Michael Savage, MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and  Human Resources and Skills Development critic; Marlene Jennings, MP for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Lachine (and also “the first black woman from Quebec to be elected to Parliament in the history of Confederation”); and Kevin Chan, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s Director of Policy.

If these six individuals ever did manage to agree on some sensible employment insurance reforms, it could be a big step towards a more rational minority-government political culture in this old neo-Machiavellian last lumber village before the North Pole. But the smart money at D’Arcy McGee’s says don`t hold your breath. As CTV News reported earlier this week: “Expectations low as panel begins looking at EI reform.” (No wonder more and more voters don`t bother to vote?)

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