Madam Speaker, I feel the need to begin my comments by recapitulating the words of the hon. member for Essex, who shared that he would happily call himself a New Democrat to get this PMB passed, if even just for a day.
I am glad it is in the Hansard. As I shared in my question to the hon. member for Essex, the New Democratic Party has been in the Hansard on this very bill five times since 2006. I am going to take a moment to recapitulate. The first was in 2006, Bill C-390, under the always hon. Chris Charlton, and then again in 2008 as Bill C-227, introduced by the hon. Chris Charlton, and in 2013, as Bill C-201, again by Chris Charlton. When Chris Charlton retired, she handed it over to a working class hero from Hamilton, the always hon. Scott Duvall, who introduced this same bill in 2021 as Bill C-275.
I have the honour, being from Hamilton, to continue the working class values of our city and our party by introducing Bill C-222. The hon. member for Essex was in fine form, using his newly found New Democratic talking points to sell this very bill in the House. I give the hon. member for Essex the benefit of the doubt, because the hon. member for Essex was not elected in 2013 when this bill was last introduced under Bill C-201, but when it was up for vote in second reading, it was the Conservative Party with a majority that crushed this bill.
We have had 15 years of work on this bill. We have had six years where the working class people of this country could have benefited from these types of tax considerations. The hon. member is quite right when he says he wants for working class people what we have in the House as MPs when it comes to writing off some of our travel expenses. I would go one step further, and I would suggest that all MPs in the House ought to carry the same spirit by wanting for others what we ourselves have in here when it comes to dental care and pharmacare and pensions.
Here we are. The challenge we have is that the newly found New Democrat, in his New Democratic talking points, showed the disconnect that he has with the building trades because the example he gave in his answer relating to the distance, using his county of Essex, suggesting that an hour and a half travel is about 120 kilometres, tells us that he has never spoken to skilled tradespeople in southern Ontario. If he had, he would know that people from Hamilton could sit in traffic for three hours just on their way to Toronto, which is 60 kilometres away.
He is quite right that skilled tradespeople have fought for this over decades. Let us be clear. He was right when he says this is a bipartisan and non-partisan issue. This is not a win for the Conservatives who found their new working class values under their previous leader. I will remind them, though, that their previous leader from Durham, in 2014, did vote against this, as did their interim leader, as did the hon. member for Carleton. All of them voted against this. Why now?
I would put to the House that it is because the Conservative Party uses working class issues and working class people in the same way that one would use a pair of old dirty sneakers. They only bring them out when it time to cut the grass, to pretend that the grass is green on the other side, when it is clear that this bill comes up short by lengthening that distance and excluding so many people from areas like my city and Hamilton Centre.
I am going to take my time, but I am going to give credit where credit is due, which is in the organized labour of the Ontario building trades council, of the Canada's Building Trades Unions, of the Hamilton-Brantford building trades council, the people I work with, people like Pat Dillon, who for his entire career worked on this, for 20 years, and in fact was successful under their previous leader to have this implemented into darn near all the platforms.
Following in the spirit of the New Democratic Party, we saw willingness from the government side to finally give lip service to this. Why it failed to act on it until now is beyond me, but in the spirit of moving things forward to improve the material conditions of working-class people in this country, I am happy we are here. Our Parliament works better when we work together for working-class people.
To Pat Dillon, and Pat's retirement, I suspect that many members from all parties showed up to honour Pat in that moment. Let today be his victory. Let future votes on this be his victory, when hopefully we get to a place where this bill covers all the aspects that it needs to cover. Let this be the victory of Mark Ellerker, from the Hamilton-Brantford Building Trades Council, who I have had the privilege of working with since my time as a city councillor. He has always fought with the building trades, not just for organized labour but for unorganized labour too, because the notion that what is good for the manager or the salesperson in tax considerations absolutely must be a tax fairness question that is applied to all working-class people, whether it is for their travel expenses or their tools, which was a very appropriate point brought up by members on the government side. I encourage the government's side to bring these types of real considerations for working-class people into their legislation, into their throne speeches and, most importantly, into their budget.
Lastly, I want to once again thank my good friend, Stuart McLellan, from IBEW Local 105. We would have long conversations about the ability for workers to travel where they do not have to do that calculus. The truth is that not all collective agreements have within them travel expenses. The ones that do not are limited by them. They have to go out of pocket.
Let us be clear about one thing. It is not MPs, it is not entrepreneurs, it is not CEOs or big developers who create value in this country. Value in this economy is only built by working-class people. It is taken by the ultrawealthy. In this respect, when we talk about those members who are being considered in this space, and they talk about how 120 kilometres might look like an hour and a half to them, those members should sit in traffic from Hamilton to Toronto, or from Montreal to anywhere, for that matter. They should know that travel time is not just a tax expense that can be written off. It is time away from family. It is a sacrifice that has to be made as a worker in order to put food on the table and to pay the rent.
Let us get this bill right for Pat. Let us get this bill right for Mark and Stuart, and for all of the incredible working-class people across this country who truly put value in this economy and are truly building this country.
With that, to my temporary and honorary member of the New Democratic Party, I congratulate him on his private member's bill and I am happy to stand and see that be reflected in the Hansard today.