House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was justice.

Topics

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, labour rights do exist in this country and the government's approach to the current labour disputes wreaks of hypocrisy. The government wants back-to-work legislation, denying workers the right to strike, and undermining their capacity to bargain fairly.

In the case of Canada Post, it is a government agency that locked them out. How is that fair negotiation? Why is the government getting in the middle of a labour dispute, and picking winners and losers?

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, in this country, we do have the right to collectively bargain, and it is the role of Labour Canada to help facilitate this collective bargaining process.

In the case of both Air Canada and Canada Post, we have been diligently at the table providing conciliation and mediation. I have helped to provide services to both parties. We want them to reach their own deal but they have not been able to do.

We need to protect those who do not have a place at that table. That is our appropriate response as the government.

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the trouble is that when the only tool we have in our toolbox is a sledgehammer, everything starts to look like a rock. That is the problem we have with the government.

The Prime Minister said, in answer to an earlier question, that pensions had nothing to do with the back to work legislation. Nothing could be further from the truth, to coin a phrase.

The fact is that it is the pension issue that is at the heart of the negotiations in this dispute, in the Canada Post dispute, in the issue with CUPE coming up with Air Canada and with the machinists coming up at Air Canada. It is the core of the issue.

Will the Prime Minister not face up to--

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

June 16th, 2011 / 11:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Labour has just said, the government has availed itself of a number of tools to help facilitate a settlement in this matter. To this point that has not been successful.

I hope it will be successful, but the government is making it clear that it will not tolerate the two parties doing significant damage to the Canadian economy and to those who are not at the table and that we will act to protect the broader interests of Canadians.

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, everyone agrees that, without a doubt, the public interest is important. However, in the public interest, people must also have access to pensions to live on in the future. This is the issue that is at the heart of negotiations, not only those that are currently under way but also future negotiations. This is the gap that the government is creating: it is leaving people to fend for themselves without its support.

How can it tolerate this situation?

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is not taking a position on issues. Discussions are taking place between the parties but the government absolutely cannot tolerate these parties doing significant damage to the economy. Our responsibility is to act to protect the best interests of the economy and of Canadians and we will do so.

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I hope the Prime Minister is not suggesting for a moment that there is no public interest in economic security, that there is no public interest in economic justice and that there is no public interest in the fact that workers are being left to fend for themselves in a situation where even the largest of employers are saying, “We are not going to provide for a defined benefit plan any more for your pensions”.

Does the Prime Minister not understand that what is at stake here is the pensions, not only of these workers, not only of these employees, of these people, it is the pension system in the entire country.

When will the Prime Minister face up to that fact? That is the problem.

Labour Relations
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my answer is the same to both NDP leaders.

Our position has nothing to do with the interests of management or the interests of workers. It has to do with the wider interests of the Canadian economy and the Canadian population.

This strike will do significant damage to the Canadian economy at a delicate time of recovery. The government cannot tolerate that. The Canadian economy cannot tolerate that. We will act to ensure those wider interests are protected.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, a minister of the Crown has an obligation to treat taxpayers with respect and be accountable to Parliament.

The President of the Treasury Board has failed miserably on both counts, because since the Auditor General's report he has been hiding under the desk of the foreign affairs minister.

Since he cannot seem to stand up in this House and apologize for his out-of-control booty run through the backwoods of Muskoka, I will keep it simple: go to the twittersphere, 140 characters or less, hashtag, I am sorry, Canada.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do enjoy these daily rhetorical flourishes from my friend opposite.

The bottom line is that 32 public infrastructure projects were provided with government support. Every dollar is accounted for. Airports were fixed up. A community centre was built. A provincial highway was resurfaced.

The Auditor General came forward with some suggestions and observations on how the government can do a better job of being more open and transparent, and we fully accepted her good advice.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are 150-plus Conservatives sitting behind the President of the Treasury Board and I am sure all of them would love to siphon taxpayers' dollars off for their own personal pork barrel projects. However, that is why we have rules and that is why we have Treasury Board.

What message is the government sending by putting him in charge of Treasury Board: that it is open season on the taxpayers' trust? Otherwise, why would the Prime Minister put the Muskoka fox in charge of the taxpayers' henhouse?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the member opposite that there are not 150 members of Parliament standing behind the President of the Treasury Board. There are actually 165, and together they form a strong, stable, national majority Conservative government.

Border Crossings
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday my colleague nearly got an answer from the President of the Treasury Board regarding the use of money from the border infrastructure fund in his riding.

Canadians are still being forced to wait at border crossings, while the money that was supposed to be spent on relieving congestion at the border was instead used to please the friends of the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka.

How are those projects going to help reduce border delays for Canadians?

Border Crossings
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as has been reported in this House numerous times, and I am pleased to do it again, we used an existing spending authority to help expeditiously move to get these 32 public infrastructure projects undertaken.

The Auditor General has suggested that we need to be more open and that we need to be more transparent in terms of the estimates that are presented to Parliament. We have fully accepted the Auditor General's good advice.