House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, those who were chanting Peter on this side, we were speaking of the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore. Although, we do appreciate the minister's decision not to appeal the decision, and we support it wholeheartedly.

During question period, the member for Toronto Centre was kind enough to read a quotation by Premier Dunderdale, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. Unfortunately, he called her “he” in his quotation. I would like to give him an opportunity to correct the record. Premier Dunderdale is actually a women. He may want to correct it in the blues, but perhaps he would want to correct it in the House as well.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the opposition House leader already tweeted on this subject, which is a thoroughly nice thing of him to do.

I also appreciate the point from the member for St. John's East. I know Premier Dunderdale extremely well. We had a wonderful meeting not too long ago. In fact, we spent the regatta together on August 1. If I inadvertently referred to the premier as “he” when I should have referred to her as “she”, of course I apologize.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I am not sure if any of those are actual points of orders, but I am sure the House appreciates the clarifications.

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the consideration of Government Business No. 12, I move:

That the debate be not further adjourned.

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. As has been done in the past, members should try to keep questions or comments to about a minute and the responses to a similar length of time.

Once again, we will try to give preference to members of the opposition, although government members will be recognized in the rotation.

The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is the second time today we are debating an attack on democracy.

There has been a shutdown of the investigation into the F-35 hearings, as well as the refugee abuse bill earlier this morning. It is the 23rd time since being elected to a majority that the government has used this abusive tactic in Parliament, a tactic that it used to say was contemptuous of Parliament and against the democratic values of the House.

The government has to justify using this brutal tool against democracy and against the interests of Canadians.

Because I suggest that the minister may not be moved by my own words, I will repeat the words of the Prime Minister when he believed in the powers and supremacy of this place to actually have debate. He stated:

We have closure today precisely because there is no deadline and there are no plans. Instead of having deadlines, plans and goals, we must insist on moving forward because the government is simply increasingly embarrassed by the state of the debate and it needs to move on.

No more than 10 hours after negotiations began, the minister and the government indicated clearly that they would be introducing back-to-work legislation thereby siding with one side of the table.

I cannot understand how the minister and the government do not realize that they poisoned the well of negotiations between employers and employees and have now poisoned the well of the democratic values of this place to have a fair and free debate by invoking closure and shutting down debate in the House for the 23rd time in just over a year.

Where are the principles that Conservative members used to have for the supremacy of Parliament?

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, first, I do not think the hon. member meant to say that we had introduced the motion 10 hours after negotiations began. I think he meant 10 hours after the work stoppage began. Negotiations have been ongoing in this matter for many months, with many hours of help from Labour Canada. That is the point.

During all of this time the parties have not been able to conclude an agreement. They have not been able to even agree to a process that they can voluntarily submit to. Now we have a strike that affects the national economy and we need to act because a prolonged strike has a great effect on the prosperity of our country.

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

May 29th, 2012 / 3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that a Conservative majority government does not support democracy within this chamber. We can talk about time allocation records dealing with issues like the Canadian Wheat Board, the pooled pension, copyright bill, gun registry, financial system reviews act, back-to-work legislation for CP Rail today, Canada Post in the past and Air Canada not once but twice. The minister in particular has introduced more time allocations and back-to-work legislation than any minister prior to her.

To what degree does the minister believe that she has any credibility whatsoever when it comes to the issue of having a fair bargaining process? If we talk to the workers, whether of CP, Air Canada or Canada Post, there is great disappointment that the Conservative government does not believe in the free bargaining process.

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is the opinion of the member and it is completely incorrect. We truly believe in free collective bargaining. It is a very important part of the Canada Labour Code. That is why we put so much work and effort into trying to help the parties before they actually get to an impasse. Indeed, labour officials, my deputy minister and I, in my role as Minister of Labour, worked many hours with the parties to try to get them to their own deal or to get them to a process. Instead, we have a work stoppage, which is affecting the national economy and the Canadian public interest.

I understand the member has talked to workers. We as well have a greater audience and a greater universe we must talk to and consider. That is the Canadian public in general and it is being affected as well, in industries and in businesses, with possibilities of lay-offs coming in industries that are not CP Rail. That is why it is important to move it forward quickly today.

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, it seems strange for me hear the words “we believe in free collective bargaining” from the minister. If the Conservatives believed in free collective bargaining, they would allow that bargaining process to play out. Even before the workers had been on strike for more than a few days, the minister announced that there would be an intervention as soon as the House opened. That took away any incentive from the employer to bargain.

My question for the minister is very simple. Did the minister meet with the employer and tell it that its demands to take away employees' pensions and take more money out of their pocket was contrary to the fact that it made millions and millions of dollars in profits last year?

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is where the opposition does not understand the role of government. The role of government is to be the third party to help the parties to a deal. We are not on one side of the deal or on the other side of the deal. I do not give explanations of management or labour to the other side. I am there to help them talk to each other. When they do not talk to each other and we end up with a strike that affects the national economy or the greater public interests, that when we indicated, which we did last Wednesday, that there would not be a prolonged strike and that we would move in this fashion.

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, having had an opportunity to read the legislation, it is completely different than past back-to-work legislation that we have seen in this chamber. We have seen it far more prescriptive and almost offensive.

I would appreciate if the minister would explain the shift in the approach of the back-to-work legislation, where this one certainly would not put the same parameters around as did the past two pieces of back-to-work legislation. It allows allow more flexibility with the arbitrator.

Could she explain the rationale as to why she followed this path at this time?

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this legislation clearly would not predetermine any issue. That is still in dispute between the parties, to be a fair and balanced approach in interest-based arbitration. I will also point out that it is very similar, if not identical, to the legislation that was tabled in the House in 2009 with respect to CN Rail. It very much is, and was, the approach that we take with respect to the private companies associated with the railways.

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just heard the Minister of Labour say that the government was not on either side of the negotiations, but that it acted as a third party that intervened when the talks broke off or, it seems, when they were interrupted. It is funny, but this afternoon I really feel like I completely understand the position of the Canadian Pacific workers because in this very House, where there are two parties that should be able to discuss this new bill, the government tells us point-blank after just a few minutes that it will impose closure on us, the hon. members of this House, and that we will have a limited time to discuss an approach as significant as the one the government has now used repeatedly. The same thing happened with Air Canada and with Canada Post.

Is this how the government intends to conduct negotiations in Canada's public and private sectors from now on?

Motion that debate be not further adjourned
Continuation and Resumption of Rail Service Operations Legislation
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak for other matters with respect to time allocation, but I can speak to this specific case.

In this case, we are on day seven of a work stoppage, a strike. We know from past precedents, from 60 years of history, that if the work stoppage is prolonged, rail strikes have dire and serious effects on the national economy.

We have given space at the table for the two parties to negotiate with the help of our labour officials, mediators and ourselves within the ministry. Unfortunately, they have not come to a deal within that timeframe.

We are looking at a situation in which companies are reporting to ministers of transport, agriculture, industry and natural resources that it is getting very tight for people who rely upon CP Rail for the transit of their goods and receipt of their materials. For the greater good of the economy, we feel that when the negotiations have stopped and the work stoppage continues, we really do need to make sure that CP Rail gets working on Thursday.