Thank you, Mr. McCallum. It's an important question.
I've heard of two-handed economists, and there are two-handed lawyers as well, but in this case we aren't two-handed. I think it's very clear in the context of the B.C. Health Services case, which dealt with very similar legislation produced by the B.C. government limiting the right of collective bargaining, cancelling collective agreements, and having retroactive effect. Even in that particular case, the right to negotiate salaries was maintained in the legislation. However, the Supreme Court of Canada said it was unconstitutional interference with the right to collective bargaining to limit the scope of bargaining on other issues and to cancel existing contracts.
This is exactly what this legislation is doing. It's cancelling existing contracts in many cases. It's cancelling the negotiations that have taken place, and it's not permitting negotiations to take place in the future on a very major part of collective bargaining.
In our submission, it's about as clear as you can get. As I say, there are always two-handed economists and two-handed lawyers. There are people who will say it's all right, and I presume, in all fairness and with all due respect to the government, that they have probably obtained a legal opinion to say this is constitutional. In our view--and we've looked at it very carefully and obtained several legal opinions--it is unconstitutional, period.