Mr. Speaker, once again the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve pointed out something important, because this really something lean and mean. This is a small bill. I am repeating myself, but this has to be repeated because it cannot be shown on television. It is incredible: the first page has three clauses and the second, only one, which is the most important. The rest is made of blank pages. This government talks about saving everywhere, but the saving was not well-founded in this case. I am in favour of saving in Parliament, but such a glaring saving of ideas is too much. We were not asking for that much saving when dealing with an extremely important subject.
What does clause 4 say, since it is the most important one? It says: "For greater certainty, the Canada Labour Code does not apply to members, and members are not part of the Public Service within the meaning of the Public Service Staff Relations Act, nor part of the public service within the meaning of section 11 of the Financial Administration Act." This means that the 16,000 people working for the RCMP are not covered by the Canada Labour Code.
To replace that, the government brings forward this small, lean and mean bill comprised of four clauses. The hon. member for Calgary Northeast is right about the great probability that the government will get this small bill passed. There is a major omission: occupational health and safety. This is important for everybody, including the members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As it is, there is no indication that these people will be protected in the future since it is made very clear that they are not covered by the Canada Labour Code. They are governed by what? This legislation only. Sometimes, people in Quebec say that
collective agreements are too long, but this is not a collective agreement, it is a piece of legislation that is extraordinarily simple.
Any schoolchild in third grade who knows how to read can understand that. I am not an expert or a lawyer, but I can realize the bill says people in the RCMP are excluded. It does not say, though, what they will get to compensate. We are confronted with a legislative vacuum-maybe not a legal vacuum, because there are other statutes-but there is room for interpretation.
A more serious problem is the enormous power being given to the commissioner over his 16,000 employees. This will be almost unprecedented in Canada. He will have this power not only over trivial matters, but over very important ones too, as important as the RCMP investigation on the conduct of the former Prime Minister of Canada. That is quite something. This fact is recognized, but at the same time, Bill C-30 would set the operational context.
I do not know what judges or commissioners will be able to do when arbitration time comes, but the power of the RCMP commissioner is enormous. That is why I tend to agree with the hon. member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve when he says that after less than three years in its first mandate, this government is already spent and bankrupt.
Since the beginning of June, Liberal members are silent. If it were not for the official opposition members, I think it would be rather boring, because very few Liberals, who are the ones introducing the bills, present arguments in favour of their bills. What are we to understand? Are they so eager to go on vacation that they simply want to close this place down? Is that it? Then, listeners could well wonder what members are paid for. They may not be overpaid, but they are paid to represent their constituents in the House of Commons. What do they do? They introduce bills, say a few words and then leave.
Opposition members move motions and amendments, as we have just seen, but not one Liberal member rises to speak. Where are they? Are they out playing golf? Have they gone fishing? Where are they? We have been here since this morning and, of course, we cannot speak about the members who are absent, but the least we can say is that they are not exactly present. However, the few members who are here could at least take the floor! They keep silent. These last few months, they have honoured a code of silence. This Bill C-30 could be known at the code of silence legislation, because it is so thin. The Liberal members have stopped speaking in the House of Commons.
What is going on? I think we have here a rather serious political problem. A number of hon. members have expressed their opposition to the bill allowing Newfoundland to change its education system and the Prime Minister said that there would be a free vote. Thank God for the hon. members of the opposition. I wonder if the bill would have passed without their support.
I do not want to be impertinent, but I have noticed a connection between the series of bills recently before the House and the behaviour of the Liberal members, which have more than one person worried. I find it strange that the media have not picked up on this. Also, they do not seem to be in a hurry at the end of this session, because they are waiting for a specific bill to come back from the other place. In the meantime, they are just marking time, killing time, and not introducing any legislation. But when they introduce bills, they should argue! This is incredible!
I call upon the members across the way. They still have time, in the next two hours, to participate in the debate on this bill so that we can do our work as parliamentarians, that is, the government presents a bill, explains its advantages, and the opposition reacts, criticises and shows the bad sides of that bill.
After that, people can make their own minds. They can also change their minds and propose amendments, but now the situation is inanimate, senseless, nothing is happening. There is no debate because the only team willing to play is that of the opposition, because it takes its work seriously.
We are asking ourselves some very serious questions about the content of the bill. The first three clauses are normal and prompt no comment. The fourth one denies a number of rights which are not replaced by others and are not specified. Where will this lead? I fear an incredible backslide, the emergence of a system where one person has immense power.
There are problems within the RCMP, as shown by the incident at the Prime Minister's house and the inquiry into the case involving a former Prime Minister. I would never dare criticize members of the RCMP because I think they lack supervision and, at the same time, managers, heads of departments and commissioners have too much power.
Given that context, these people act as people will. They go every which way as we say. I ask those Liberal members who have something good to say about this bill to rise and present their arguments so that the Canadian public and the 16,000 members of the RCMP, those guardians of the law and order in our country, will accept it.
I ask them to take advantage of this forum, the Parliament which costs us something everyday and every hour. They should respect Parliament and put forward their positive arguments in support of this bill. I cannot see a single one, but I am very willing to listen.