Protecting Air Service Act

An Act to provide for the continuation and resumption of air service operations

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

Lisa Raitt  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment provides for the continuation and resumption of air service operations and imposes a final arbitration selection process to resolve matters remaining in dispute between the parties.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

  • March 13, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
  • March 13, 2012 Passed That Bill C-33, An Act to provide for the continuation and resumption of air service operations, {as amended}, be concurred in at report stage [with a further amendment/with further amendments] .
  • March 13, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Committee of the Whole.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 8:45 p.m.
See context

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

moved that Bill C-33, An Act to provide for the continuation and resumption of air service operations, be read the second time and referred to a committee of the whole.

Mr. Speaker, the labour disputes between Air Canada and the two unions, the Air Canada Pilots Association and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, IAMAW, have continued for the past year. They have moved through the many stages of collective bargaining, from direct negotiations to requesting and receiving support from both myself and the labour program. This includes the appointment of conciliators and mediators at various stages.

Just last month, I was very happy to hear that Air Canada had successfully ratified collective agreements with three of its unions, which represented flight dispatchers, in-flight service and flight operations crew scheduling personnel.

Air Canada and the IAMAW bargaining unit had also reached a tentative agreement, and it seemed to be one that was strong.

At the time the union's negotiators said that the deal provided “wage and premium increases, improved benefits and secures a defined benefit pension fund for the members”.

The conciliator commissioner whom I appointed said, “The tentative agreement is reasonable and fair”, and, “Under the full circumstances, I consider that a reasonable agreement had been reached”.

However, the union membership did not agree, and on February 22, the union announced that the deal was rejected by 65.6% of its members, and they also voted 78% in favour of strike action. Talks between the IAMAW and Air Canada broke down on March 5. On March 6, the union gave notice that on March 12, it intended to exercise its legal right to strike.

For the pilots, things had seemed promising for Air Canada and the Air Canada Pilots Association. In fact, in April 2011, through direct negotiations, not utilizing the services of Labour Canada, a tentative agreement was reached. While it was rejected, negotiations did not recommence until November 2011.

As they moved through the process, I met with the parties twice in February and found that they were committed to working together to reach an agreement that was in the best interests of the airline, the employees and Canadians.

At those meetings, specifically on February 6, it was suggested, having noted how far apart the parties were and how little time was left, that the parties agree to interest-based arbitration to bring the matter to a close.

While Air Canada accepted the process, the pilots rejected the solution outright. As a result, to further facilitate their efforts, I offered them a special six-month extended mediation process with two co-mediators appointed to the file. This time they both accepted my offer and began meetings with their mediators. However, things did not progress--

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 8:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Thank you.

As I was indicating, however, things have not progressed toward a negotiated agreement between the pilots and Air Canada. Indeed, after the first meeting with the mediators, I received a notice, unfortunately, from the external mediator assigned to the file to indicate that she was resigning. She wrote this:

I should also mention to you that I am very surprised that the first session of mediation has been made public by ACPA in its entirety. It is a well known ground rule that mediation is a confidential process. Failure to observe confidentiality will not help the resolution of the dispute and will make it impossible for a mediator to function effectively as a neutral.

Air Canada tabled a final offer to the pilots union on March 8, 2012. The ACPA issued a press release stating that while Air Canada pilots would vote on this final offer from their employer, the association recommended that the pilots reject the offer and send the message to their employer to get serious about negotiations. On that same date, Air Canada advised that it intended to lock out the pilots as of March 12 as well.

I would like to be clear on this: Resorting to a work stoppage is not the norm for labour disputes in Canada. There are over 300 collective agreements negotiated in the federal jurisdiction each year and over 94% of these are settled without a work stoppage ever taking place. These agreements would not have been reached without the good faith efforts of the parties involved. It is also important that employers and the unions carefully consider maintaining the strength, viability and competitiveness of their company while continuing to work closely together to negotiate a deal, because work stoppages and labour instability can only lead to long-term impacts on the future of their company, on job prospects, on Canadians and the economy as a whole.

I have personally seen cases where this commitment at the table has provided results. As an example, the ILWU decided early in its negotiations with the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association that it did not want a work stoppage to occur. It understood that it could result in a loss of jobs for its members, and it also understood the importance of the Pacific gateway to the economic prosperity of the country. Both sides remembered throughout their negotiations that the economic health of their companies was of vital importance, and this helped the parties work together to reach two historic eight-year agreements.

When parties commit to working together co-operatively and keep the shared interests of both workers and the business as their foundation for all decisions, strong labour–management relations and lasting collective agreements are the result. The bottom line is that negotiated agreements do work.

The best and longest-lasting solution to any labour dispute occurs when the parties resolve their differences together without a strike or a lockout. However, there are cases where the parties are just too far apart to reach this compromise. These are cases where concessions on either side will be deemed just not enough because of the longstanding history of disputes, because of economic factors or for a variety of reasons that we hear today. In situations where there is no resolution in sight, where work stoppages are being proposed and the lives of Canadians and the health of the economy will be directly affected, the government must act and that is why we are proposing legislation to prevent these work stoppages.

I truly believe in the right to free collective bargaining and I would prefer in every case to see labour disputes resolved by the parties involved and not by government intervention. The federal government only intervenes in situations where the public interest is seriously threatened. This is true, for example, when the national economy could be adversely affected by the threat of a work stoppage. Unfortunately, that means we need to pass this bill to avert a work stoppage at Air Canada. Therefore, I am asking for this House to support Bill C-33, An Act to provide for the continuation and resumption of air service operations.

Last June, there was a three-day strike by Air Canada's customer sales and service agents and I am glad to say that it was quickly resolved by the parties and that the harm caused to Canadians was limited.

Also in 2011, our government introduced and passed the Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act because of the crucial economic importance of reliable mail delivery. I should mention that this legislation was supported by hon. members on the other side of the House, who also saw the potential danger to our economy of the threatened work stoppage. Again, Canadian workers and businesses, as well as citizens in general, were spared the continued hardships that an interruption in the mail could cause.

Today we are facing the prospect of work stoppages at Air Canada that would damage our economy. Once again, we have to take extraordinary measures. Just as it did last year, the spectre of a strike or a lockout at Air Canada is causing confusion and doubt where we need stability and certainty. I would ask the members in the House to ask their constituents or in fact anyone in Canada right now and they will hear what I have been hearing, that we cannot afford a work stoppage. It is that simple. The risks are too great and we have a responsibility as parliamentarians to act.

Let us talk a bit about the risks of a work stoppage. I have referred the matter of maintenance of activities to the Canada Industrial Relations Board because there is the possibility that health and safety issues could be created by a work stoppage. The CIRB will review each case independently and determine if a work stoppage would pose a threat to the safety or health of the public, and if so, it can issue orders that would compel Air Canada and the unions to continue services to the extent necessary to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public during a work stoppage.

While the CIRB is considering the case, the parties are prevented from proceeding with a strike or a lockout, but once a decision is made a work stoppage could still occur. We cannot let this happen. That is why our government is introducing this bill, to prevent a work stoppage and compel the parties to accept binding arbitration. We are not happy about bringing this legislation forward, but this measure is necessary because vital interests are at stake.

As I said before, as parliamentarians we have to take a stand on the issue. We need to take a stand for Canada's economy, Canada's businesses and for Canadian citizens.

Like other industrialized economies around the world, Canada is coming out of a difficult recession. Our government is proud of its record of sheltering Canadians from the worst effects of this downturn. We have laid the foundation for recovery. However, the economy remains fragile and we know that our country is not immune to the problems affecting greater nations. There could always be more turbulence, but our government is committed to taking the necessary actions to protect Canadians, to create jobs and to lay the foundations for long-term growth.

As of March 2012, our unemployment rate stood at 7.4%, a definite improvement over last year and considerably lower than the rate in the United States of 8.5%. More people are working now than before the recession hit. However, to maintain our progress and promote economic growth we need to be careful. We cannot afford to have labour disruptions in this major Canadian industry. A labour stoppage in this key sector of our economy would be a serious impediment to recovery and growth. A prolonged work stoppage at Air Canada could negatively affect our economy. Indeed, estimates of the overall impact of the stoppage on the Canadian economy vary, but some put it as high as $22.4 million for each week of work stopped.

Consider what this could mean to businesses. A work stoppage at Air Canada would mean the loss of sales at home and abroad. Even a short work stoppage could be costly. To give members an example, in 2005 a one-day wildcat strike involving ground crew workers at Air Canada in Toronto led to 60 flights being delayed and 19 being cancelled. That was only a single day. If we let another work stoppage happen, thousands of Canadians will be affected directly or indirectly because there is more at stake here than the issues on the bargaining table.

The employees represented by the ACPA and IAMAW want to be treated fairly. They demand respect for their rights under the Canada Labour Code, and I understand that. The code does give the parties in a dispute the right to strike or to lock out, but Canadians have rights too. Therefore, I ask my fellow members to stand up for the rights of Canadians and pass this bill.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9 p.m.
See context

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister is telling Canadians that she does not want this. She is saying to Canadians that 94% of the collective agreement is getting negotiated. That leaves 6%, and for that 6% the government will legislate the workers back to work. That is really what the minister is saying.

The minister is saying that she would like the other party to work with government and so forth. Instead of last-offer bargaining, why not give the power to the arbitrator to make the decision? Let the arbitrator do their job and take the responsibility. I think that is the least the government can do.

At the same time, if the government does not like this, then why does it say in the bill that “No order is to be made, no process is to be entered into and no proceeding is to be taken to court”?

That takes rights away from Canadians. If they do not like the law or feel there has been a misinterpretation of something, Canadians have the fundamental right to go to court. They have the right to seek justice, as the postal workers did and won their case.

Is this in the bill because the postal workers went to court and the arbitrator was thrown out of the negotiations?

The Minister of Labour is now saying that she does not like it but that she has to do it. Why is she going that far? Why do the Conservatives hate workers so much?

I will say it again—

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9 p.m.
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Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, to aid the hon. member in the facts, the number of collective agreement negotiations in 2010-11 was 302 and the number of times the federal government was asked for help was 215 times. The number of back to work bills introduced before today was zero. I believe that in and of itself speaks volumes.

With respect to the method of arbitration, a final offer selection is the appropriate measure when negotiations have been going on for this length of time with respect to both the IAMAW and the pilots, which in the case of the pilots was 18 months. In both cases, the parties had a tentative agreement on which they shook hands and agreed. We believe this is the appropriate method to bring closure, certainty and security.

On the last part of his question with respect to the clause in the bill that he quoted, the hon. member should know that this was of course challenged by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and that in January 27, 2012 the constitutionality of this clause was upheld by the court.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9 p.m.
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Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, what the minister would also know is that the appointment of the arbitrator was challenged. We know the judge's ruling in that particular case with regard to the minister's ability to appoint, without any consultation, an arbitrator. I quote:

In the case at hand, the lack of transparency inherent in the appointment process followed by the Minister, the little evidence or rationale provided by the Minister and the laconic nature of her communications raise serious questions and indicate that the Minister appears to have excluded...relevant criteria....

Is the minister not fearful that the same response will be given by the courts in this case?

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to see that the minister has put together a process that can be followed to bring some sort of conclusion to these pieces between the parties that they cannot resolve.

If there were a lockout or a strike, there would obviously be a disruption to air service that would cause harm to the Canadian economy. Has there been a work stoppage in the past? Did the government intervene? Was there a time period where economic losses were suffered?

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, indeed, there was a strike of Air Canada pilots in 1998. It was a different climate, and it was a 13-day strike. They were not ordered back to work, and as a result, there was an loss to the economy of around $100 million, and an economic loss to Air Canada of about $300 million at a different point in time. It was also a point in time when there were two national carriers, so the ability of one carrier to pick up the passengers for the other was present.

I think it is important to note that when we are talking about Air Canada with its 26,000 employees, we need to remind ourselves that by comparison General Motors Canada has 9,000 employees and Chrysler Canada has 11,000 employees. Air Canada is far greater than putting those two car companies together. It is also three and a half times larger than WestJet with a total of 330 planes.

The sheer capacity situation, if there were to be a work stoppage at Air Canada, is such that there would not be an ability in this country for the passengers to be accommodated. Indeed, it would have a distinctive effect on the economy of Canada as a whole.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:05 p.m.
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NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have an email from a Dave Laurin, who happens to be an Air Canada pilot. He says that the Air Canada Pilots Association has not freely negotiated a contract in at least 10 years. For 10 years it has not freely negotiated a contract.

He goes on to say that the employer has tried consistently to get them into some kind of industrial action or wildcat strike so that they could push the pilots into arbitration. As they have publicly stated, they are not interested in striking as they feel it would negatively impact passengers and corporations. They only want a fair contract.

Again, they are saying they want a fair contract. He goes on to say that the last offer included a 10% reduction to a retiree's pension, shame; a 25% cut to an active employee's pension, double shame; and a slight wage increase that would not even cover cost-of-living increases and would still leave them with wages that are well below what they were making in 2000, which they gave up as a concession to help the corporation.

Here we are; we have employees who have given up their wages, have made lots of concessions over the years, and the government is unilaterally forcing them to not be able to bargain.

Again, I want to ask a question. The member for Vancouver South talked about the average, ordinary workers. Do you not think these workers have already given enough concessions? Do you not think they are the average, ordinary workers in Canada?

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, indeed, the history of bargaining at Air Canada in the last two rounds since 2003 has been quite fraught with difficulties. In 2003, while under bankruptcy protection, Air Canada looked for relief from its unions. In 2009, again, there were difficulties at the table with respect to pensions.

This current round of negotiations started early and started promising. It has been 18 months, however. While I am sensitive and I appreciate the issues at the bargaining table, those are not mine. We do not pick sides at the bargaining table.

What we are doing is looking after the interests of Canadians on the whole. This is about the economy. This is about the public interest. This is about the travelling public. These things matter. It is a very large organization, and we have to ensure that any kind of shock to the economy is prevented, especially in these fragile times.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, to hear the Minister of Labour, we are redefining the word “joke”, because what she is telling us here today is a joke. If it is so essential, why does the minister not amend the legislation and make Air Canada an essential service, and then this can go to binding arbitration?

However, with the way this works, she is going to talk to the management at Air Canada and ask them how they can reach an agreement. The bad guys here are the union members.

At some point, we must be pragmatic. In 2003-04, employees made sacrifices worth $2 billion. Meanwhile, people like Milton and Brewer were earning $80 million. As for the new president, not only is his salary $2 million a year, but he will get a $5 million bonus at the end of the month.

Is the government not creating its own little game in order to be able to kill the union and to ensure that management will definitely come out ahead?

At some point, there is a constitutional right we must respect. I agree with the NDP on this issue. The right to negotiate is a constitutional right.

Why does the minister oppose negotiations? If she does not want the two sides to negotiate, what is she waiting for to declare this an essential service?

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the way the Canada Labour Code is crafted allows for the overriding Canadian public interest to be taken into consideration in exceptional circumstances. This is an exceptional circumstance.

In the Canada Labour Code, there can be a maintenance of activities, as I mentioned in my remarks, with respect to health and safety.

What matters here today is that what is happening at the bargaining table is separate and apart from what would happen to the Canadian public in the event of a work stoppage. That is what we are acting on, and that is the reason we are bringing this legislation forth this evening. It is because of the economic issues with respect to the greater work of Air Canada, how many people it employs, 26,000 employees, and a 250,000 spinoff from that, who service Air Canada. It is a significant portion of our economy, one that we need to ensure does not have a work stoppage, so we are providing a process for the parties to find their way to collective agreements that are stable and that are certain.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:10 p.m.
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NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I feel that things have been going so well that they do not want to hear me speak for 20 minutes.

I think this is déjà vu all over again. It is unfortunate that the workers have to pay the price once again. The minister says that she regrets having to do this and that she does not like being in this position.

Let me start by saying that Air Canada workers have made a lot of concessions over the past 10 years. The minister says that Air Canada was subject to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in 2003, that it still had financial problems in 2009 and that it has been asking the workers to make concessions since 2003. This is the same company that, when it had financial problems, paid $80 million to Robert Milton, the company's former president, in order to leave and move to the United States and another $5 million to the new president. The minister is siding with the employer. I am going to tell you why.

The right to unionize, to bargain and to strike is included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I received a letter from a law firm that had written to the Prime Minister. I am not going to read the entire letter, but I am going to read an excerpt that says:

The ability of workers to organize and bargain collectively with their employer in a meaningful fashion is one of the cornerstones of a free and democratic society. This right must be upheld and fostered as one of the most fundamental human rights protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and otherwise.

The right to bargain collectively has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada as a Charter protected right. Further, the right to strike has recently been recognized by the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench as a right guaranteed by the Charter as part of the freedom of association.

This reference appears not to be to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public, as required by the Code, but to interfere with lawful collective bargaining.

When the minister refers to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board and the Canada Labour Code, it is not about the economy. Protection is provided in the event of health and safety issues, not for economic considerations. Nevertheless, the minister referred the matter to the board because the right to strike is suspended while the board examines the case. She made the request in order to buy some time to pass her bill this evening. The minister says that she is not against the workers and is not taking one side or the other.

Usually, when negotiating a collective agreement, and when there is a conflict such as this and the parties must go to arbitration, you do not submit the final offer. When the final offer is submitted, the employer always wins. In the bill, the Conservatives have even indicated that the arbitrator must take into account competitors in the same category as Air Canada. Throughout the week, the minister said that Air Canada was the only one in its category.

Comparisons to the United States are inevitable. Some will compare salaries earned in Canada to those in the United States. As though it were not enough that the minister is leaving the decision to the arbitrator regarding the collective agreement, she included in the bill what she wants to come out of all this. She is tying the arbitrator's hands.

The bill goes even further: “No order is to be made, no process is to be entered into and no proceeding is to be taken in court: (a) to question the appointment of the arbitrator”. This means that if the minister decides to appoint one of her friends whom the union cannot stand, the union has no recourse. That person would likely be biased, since he or she would be on one party's side. Not only is the government taking away workers' rights, but it is taking away the fundamental right of Canadians and Quebeckers to take their case before a court of law to ensure that justice is done.

Consider the example of Canada Post. This is the same government that legislated to force workers back to work. The workers went to court to challenge the fact that the arbitrator was not bilingual. They wanted a bilingual arbitrator at the bargaining table. The judge found in favour of the workers and the arbitrator was dismissed. That is why the minister introduced a bill to take away Canadians' right to go to court.

I hope that everyone watching us here this evening understands that we simply cannot allow the government to attack a particular group, as it did in the case of Canada Post. Yes, people wanted their mail and their parcels to be delivered by Canada Post; that is only natural. But workers have rights too. The 26,000 workers at Air Canada also have rights. The pilots have rights, and so do the mechanics and baggage handlers. They all have rights. The Conservatives did not hesitate to take away a fundamental right that is included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Conservative member has some nerve, saying that it pains her to have to do this. The Prime Minister said he was divided on the issue. I will repeat what I said earlier this week: “Give me a break”. He was not divided. The Conservatives side with the large employers. They did the same thing when they gave huge tax breaks to large corporations, before slashing the services offered to Canadians and trying to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67. They have no problem attacking everyone.

My message to Canadians is this: if we allow the Conservatives to go after certain groups here and there, in the end, the Conservatives will attack everyone. We need to come together to tell this government that it is absolutely unacceptable that workers are unable to defend their rights. The Conservatives say that what they are taking away from the workers is only fair. Who has been paying the price at Air Canada for the past 10 years? Who has had no salary increases?

A woman was telling me tonight that her brother or brother-in-law has been a pilot for 12 years and has never had a pay raise, while Robert Milton, the president of the company, left with $80 million in his pocket. Come on. Where is the minister? Where is the Conservative government?

If the government is going to get involved in the bargaining, as it is doing, when there has not yet even been a strike vote—in fact, nothing has happened—and say, before the negotiations have even taken place, that the airplanes will continue to fly and there will not be a strike, what effect does it think that has? It tells the company that it can take what it wants from its employees and that the government will be there to legislate them back to work. It is unbelievable. It is unacceptable.

Who is going to pay the price of these salary freezes and cuts to pension funds later? When the government says it is doing this for the economy, that may be true in the short term. However, in the long term, when people no longer have pensions or they only have half their pensions, when people do not have a good salary to spend in the small and medium-sized businesses in their communities, it is hard on the economy.

It is shameful that the government is again interfering in bargaining and taking away from workers a fundamental right guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Our country sends soldiers to war to establish democratic rights and now the government is taking those rights away here at home. The government is even imposing a gag order in the House of Commons. We cannot even defend this bill in the House of Commons. It will be dealt with tonight. We will not even be able to talk about it tomorrow. The government is making a fundamental mistake with long-term consequences.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that there is a right to bargain. The parties should bargain, but not hold Canadians or the Canadian economy hostage. I know the member defends his union bosses, but what about defending our fragile economy and ensuring that unnecessary economic losses do not happen?

What about protecting innocent Canadians who get stranded when they are travelling abroad? What about protecting the losses to other parties involved beyond the union and the employer? This sets a process that people can use to bring this situation to a satisfactory conclusion. It is not a question of just bargaining, not settling and not being able to settle. This provides for a process to take place. Why does the member not defend innocent Canadians and those who are affected by the unions and by the employer?

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:20 p.m.
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NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the difference is that I believe that workers are Canadians too. The Conservative government does not believe that the workers are Canadian. They are Canadians with rights.

The member was talking about me defending my bosses in the union. What about the Conservative government giving big tax breaks to large corporations, their friends? The banks in this country have paid $20 billion of profit and paid themselves $11 billion in bonuses, yet the Conservatives would not give the taxpayers a break. The Conservatives borrowed money and put our country in a deficit to give tax breaks to people who paid themselves bonuses, just as the president of Air Canada paid himself $80 million and took off with it. The last one we just saw took $5 million.

You are looking after your big bosses, the big corporations, and that is what the Conservative government--

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 9:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I respect my colleague's time as a union negotiator and his time within organized labour. I know that he has brought many collective agreements to successful conclusions for both management and union.

Through the course of this debate, it has been mentioned by members on the government side time and time again that offers had been brought back to the union and the union voted them down. That would justify coming forward with this back to work legislation. In doing so, Conservatives imply that there is no legitimacy in the vote of the membership. They are not showing any respect for the democratic right of those members to vote down a contract. I would like the member's comments on that position by the government.