Taking heat from the Liberals - and perhaps even some of his own MPs - for his decision last week to vote in favour of a budget motion that ensured the survival of Stephen Harper's minority Conservatives, Jack Layton explains himself in the op/ed pages of the Ottawa Citizen. The New Democratic Party, he says, is supporting the Prime Minister's legislation on employment insurance reform - not the government as a whole.
The choice before New Democrats is simple: We can direct nearly $1 billion to families in desperate need or waste $300 million on an election.
This new reform falls far short in many ways. It doesn't cut waiting periods, increase benefits or create uniform access across the country. We are under no illusions that this bill fixes the major problems in the EI system. We will continue to work for further changes to EI. In fact, we have a dozen proposed laws before the House that would improve other elements of the existing system.
But my party cannot, in good conscience, vote down legislation that is a step in the right direction.