House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rail.

Topics

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:35 p.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, the best solution is one that the two parties come to themselves.

Despite hard bargaining, these parties have been unable to come to a resolution. That is why we are taking action to ensure that the Canadian public's interest is upheld and that we are managing the economy and staying focused on that, as opposed to what the opposition wants to do.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:40 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I spent 33 years as a union negotiator and I know that this action by the Conservative government has destroyed the balance created by the good men and women of this country who crafted our labour legislation years ago. The labour legislation that we have in Canada was deliberately exported by this country to the fledgling countries of eastern Europe when they became democracies, because it was seen as a model for the world.

This kind of action undermines that model. When one party is able to turn to its masters, the government, and say, “Please intervene and take sides in this dispute”, it undermines the continuation of that balance in our labour relations in this country. Despite the protestations on the other side of the House, that is exactly what has taken place.

We have upset the balance of labour relations and we are forever now going to have our labour relations affected accordingly, particularly in the federal sphere. However, do not think the provinces are not watching what is happening here. Parties to labour relations among the police, fire and ambulance services, which are all essential services, will now be paying attention because the government has decided that it can incorporate into legislation a guideline for an arbitrator who takes one side over the other. This guideline is all about the employer, not about what is fair to the employees. We run the risk here of destroying years and years of practice, precedent and jurisprudence with what seems to be a very simple act by the other side.

It is not enough that the government has decided that it needs to take sides; it did not even let the process actually finish. In all of my years as a labour negotiator, on many occasions the parties used the strike deadline itself as the mechanism to reach a collective agreement. In my own experience, we probably got to the eleventh hour, to 11:59, on a couple of dozen occasions. It is no surprise that Canadian legislation picks midnight as the time a strike can commence, because that is the time that people are most likely to reach an agreement. They are not likely to reach an agreement three days before when they give notice, which is what happened in this case. They are most likely to reach that agreement at midnight. That is when it happens. That is when both sides look at the cards on the table and decide that it is not worth a strike. That is exactly what happens 99 times out of 100. However, the government and the minister have not allowed that process to reach its full conclusion. That is shameful. That is destroying the Canadian labour relations model that we so gleefully exported to the rest of the world as a model for it to take.

As for the notion that Air Canada is somehow special and an essential service, the minister suggested that it is bigger than GM and Chrysler and that we do not legislate them back to work. The minister forgot to tell us that GM has shrunk enormously under its watch. It has closed four plants; no wonder it is small. It is because the jobs are disappearing in this country. The government's job creation strategy is a job abandoning strategy. It did not interfere at EMD or Stelco where jobs were fleeing the country. It is shameful on the part of the government that it would abandon some workers and then step in and side with another bunch of Canadian company directors who have decided that they need this collective agreement and are willing to put spring break, whatever that means, in jeopardy. It was not the union that put it in jeopardy in the case of the pilots; it was management that put it in jeopardy. It is management that has very deliberately done that in order to provoke the government. Make no bones about it, because that is precisely what is going on.

The other notion that is missed here by the government is the notion that was spoken about by my colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan about worker resentment. These workers gave up a lot. They gave large concessions nine years ago when Air Canada was in trouble. Those workers have taken nothing since, virtually no gains.

These are very important workers. These are people who keep the planes flying, both mechanically and physically. I certainly do not want to be on a plane where those workers resent the government, where those workers are resentful of the choices that they have been forced to make. I certainly do not think any of them would do anything stupid. I also do not think it is smart of the government to be provoking the workers of this country.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

It being 10:46 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division: )

Vote #159

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

10:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to a committee of the whole. I do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of the whole.

(Bill read the second time and the House went into committee of the whole thereon, Mr. Barry Devolin in the chair)

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

March 13th, 2012 / 11 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Chair Barry Devolin

The House is in committee of the whole on Bill C-33.

I would like to begin this sitting of the committee of the whole with a short statement about the manner in which the deliberations will proceed. The rules governing debate in the committee of the whole are as follows:

No member shall speak for more than 20 minutes at a time. Speeches must be strictly relevant to the item or clause under consideration. There is no formal period for questions and comments. Members may use their time to speak or to ask questions and the responses will be counted in the time allotted to that member. Members may speak more than once. Members need not be in their own seat to be recognized.

The House will now proceed to clause by clause consideration of the bill. The hon. Minister of Labour.

(On clause 2)

The hon. Minister of Labour.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

11 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Chair, throughout this debate on legislation to avert a work stoppage, there are certain predictable objections. The first is that we are misusing our powers and imposing on the rights of collective bargaining.

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

11 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Protecting Air Service Act
Government Orders

11 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Chair, the second objection is that the problem we are trying to solve is not really all that serious.

I would like to tell my hon. colleagues, including the ones who broke into applause, that these arguments simply do not stand up.

I would like to remind my fellow members that since 1984, there have been 35 work stoppages in the air transportation industry, six of them involving Air Canada, so we already have a good idea of the damage a work stoppage can do.

Some of these work stoppages took a heavy toll on the economy and severely disrupted the lives of Canadians. Once again we are faced with the likelihood of a work stoppage at Air Canada, and once again it will take a toll on Canadians.

Our government has quoted statistics on the possible economic damage and disruption to our fragile economic recovery. The government's mandate is to maintain our economic recovery and act in the best interests of Canadians. That is what we are here for.

As I have already explained-—