When you have a back and forth partisan debate, what should be key within that debate, what gives you a sense of the legitimacy of the competing arguments, independent analysis. On that score, we've had a slew non-"left wing" organizations weigh in, namely CD Howe, Conference Board of Canada, telling us substantive EI reform is essential during an economic downturn. We also have the TD Bank, according to Harper, one of the beacons for the world economy, arguing essentially the same point as Ignatieff the "absurd":
The federal government could accomplish the double aim of improving the equity of the system and increasing coverage rates by reducing the regional discrepancy in eligibility criteria and benefit duration. More specifically, we urge the government to immediately ease the VER (and extend benefit duration accordingly) in regions with unemployment rates of less than 10% from the current 560-700 hours to the lower floor of 560 hours. For all other regions, criteria would be unchanged. This measure would cost approximately $500 million per year.
Alternatively, the government could standardize the criteria for all EI contributors at 420 hours, which is the current minimum, or even reduce the bar for all, to 360
The federal government could opt to standardize the VER on a
Pretty much verbatum Liberal proposal, and it speaks to the fact that Ignatieff didn't pull these ideas out of thin air, they're rooted in sound thinking.
What's truly "absurd", the way in which Harper catergorizes well founded reforms in such a dismissive manner. It's for that reason, the Liberals should call Harper's "bluff" (according to the press), because when the dust settles, Harper will find himself isolated, with virtually no non-partisan support for his stubborn refusals.