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You're only focusing on one of the changes the opposition parties want. In addition to lowering the eligibility requirements they also want more people to be eligible to collect EI and they want to eliminate the waiting period. Those will definitely help people in this recession.

So why not offer to compromise by dumping the dumb idea?

UI and EI are classic examples of the inability of politicians to commit to the original game plan.

But I suppose that "insurance" sounds better than "politically popular give-away program".

"[A]pproximately no-one who has done research in this area thinks that reducing the eligibility requirements is a good idea."

Yeah, except the TD Bank, the CCPA and the Government of Ontario, all of whom have suggested flatten the hours of eligibility required to qualify for EI.

Also, the cost of a universal 360 hour standard has been pegged at somewhere between $500 million and $1.5 billion--even though it would add no additional cost for those already collecting benefits. Based on that alone it seems as though this must benefit some people. Right off the bat it occurs to me that those who might benefit most would be (a) people who just returned from parental leave before being laid off, (b) those who work seasonal jobs who will now be unable to find out of season work and (c) those who have picked up some contract work since entering the workforce but are now unable to find more. All of those people are, quite obviously, affected by the recession.

And even if reducing the hours needed to qualify for EI didn't help anyone, how would that make it a "dumb" idea as opposed to a simply a not very important issue either way? If it doesn't affect many people how can't be that harmful?

Did you consider any of this before writing your post?

In answer to your later question about a compromise, the NDP and the Bloc have proposed four or five other ideas for improving EI but the Liberals have only proposed addressing the eligibilty requirements, so it's unclear how exactly would be worked out, but it has been reported that the Conservatives are considering other improvements to EI.

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