Ignatieff threatens election if EI reforms not in place by summer

TORONTO - Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is repeating his threat of forcing an election if reforms to Employment Insurance are not made before the summer.

TORONTO - Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is repeating his threat of forcing an election if reforms to Employment Insurance are not made before the summer.

Ignatieff said Thursday he cannot continue to make Parliament work if substantive reforms aren't made to the federal program by the time it rises in June.

"My party wants to get Mr. Harper to make some constructive changes on EI before this summer," Ignatieff said in a dinner speech to a union.

"And I'm telling you straight and I'm telling you clear: I cannot continue to make Parliament work unless we get substantive EI reform before this Parliament rises in June."

Ignatieff's comments came a day after Harper shot down his suggestion for a 360 hour minimum threshold to qualify for EI benefits.

He also fired back at Conservative attack ads that depict him as a long-absent political opportunist.

In a speech late Thursday, Ignatieff condemned the ads as "wrong" and "offensive" when the country is grappling with its worst economic crisis in generations.

He says the ruling Conservatives launched a personal attack because they want to divert attention from record job losses and declining public opinion polls.

Ignatieff also took aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper, saying he dismisses those who live and work outside the country as "somehow less Canadian."

He says whenever Harper is in a jam, he retreats to the politics of division, pitting one group against another.

Ignatieff says while he's spent many years abroad - like many other citizens - he's still Canadian.

 
 
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