Madam Speaker, I am from Windsor which is a union town. The people of Windsor are watching the Reform Party very closely. Of course it does not have much hope there. It received about 4,500 votes in my riding in the last election. However, I heard by the grapevine that Reformers think they may have an opportunity there. Let me tell them that in the next campaign the Liberal members from Windsor will be sure to tell our citizens that the Reform Party wants to eliminate labour's only representative at the cabinet table.
I do not know why anyone should be surprised. The Reform Party stands opposed to most of the goals of organized labour.
Organized labour wants better conditions for working men and women. The Reform Party is opposed. Organized labour wants employment equity. The Reform Party is opposed. Organized labour, indeed all working men and women in Canada, want parity for men and women in the labour force. The Reform Party is opposed. Organized labour would like some form of protection during strikes, some form of anti-scab legislation. The Reform Party is opposed.
Reform just does not limit itself in its opposition to issues of specific concern to labour but issues of general concern in our society where labour has taken a lead. On the Canada Health Act and the principles of the Canada Health Act, Reform is opposed. On gun control, which Canadian labour spoke out clearly on, Reform is opposed. On Canada pension plan reform, Reform is opposed; it wants to eliminate CPP. On employment insurance reform, the Reform Party is opposed. On human rights amendments, the Reform Party is opposed. On humane and careful deficit reduction, Reform is opposed to that as well.
These guys, and most of them are guys, remain opposed to almost everything that this government has tried to do for the working people of Canada. Indeed we ought to change the name of their leader from leader of the third party to Dr. No when it comes to labour related initiatives.
I have a message for Dr. No. Working men and women in Canada are watching him. Indeed, working men and women in Windsor are watching him very closely. This motion is simply a symptom of the greater disease in the Reform Party, the disease I call the "I'm all right Jack" syndrome. What happens with this syndrome is they say: "I've got mine, I did okay and I am not responsible for anyone else". This government does not operate that way and it is just not good enough for us.
This government wants labour to have representation at the table when cabinet decisions are made and when policy initiatives are taken. It is important to this government to have someone there who has had experience in labour, who understands working men and women and who wants to do the best for them. It is important that this government has someone there particularly during this crucial period who will consult with and bring the views of labour to the table.
Who better could have been chosen but the former Minister of Labour and the present Minister of Labour? My colleague, the chief government whip, indicated some of his qualifications. One of the things he left out was that this minister's first job when we came to Canada was as a union organizer in the garment district in
Montreal. What better person could we have to speak for the working men and women of Canada at the cabinet table than this minister?
The human resources development department is one that I and others became familiar with during the last session of Parliament. I sat on that committee. It is a huge department. Frankly, it requires more than one hand at the tiller. It seems to me that when the Prime Minister took a hard look at the development of that department and how it was moving along, he was wise to single in on labour as the one area that needed special attention. As a result of that we now have this minister who has established himself well within the labour community and who is going to move forward with the kind of labour code and other initiatives that we require.
The powers of the Minister of Labour are not changing in terms of program statutes that existed prior to the human resources development act. The Minister of Labour will continue to be named in federal labour legislation, such as the Canada Labour Code, the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, the Government Employees Compensation Act and the Non-smokers' Health Act which is part of that mandate.
The human resources act requires as well that the minister make use of services and facilities within the human resources development department and that he use employees from that department. This is not a case of the government creating a new department. This is a case of the government making sure that there is someone there, someone who is dedicating his attention full time to the concerns of the working men and women of Canada.
Why would Reform oppose that? I do not know. I suppose it was Dr. No's idea.