Mr. Speaker, I want to thank people for participating in this debate today. This issue of increasing the vacation pay from two weeks to three and three weeks to four after six years with one single employer is an idea we should have been discussing a long time ago in the House of Commons. I am glad to have some support for the motion in the House of Commons from the Bloc Quebecois and the Progressive Conservative Party. I am very disappointed in the Liberal Party across the way, which did not take a stand one way or the other but talked about the need for consultation. Of course there is a need for consultation and I did a lot of consultation before I presented this motion.
I said in my remarks that I hoped the idea behind the motion would be picked up by the government and parliament itself and referred to the relevant committee. We can change the law in the fall or next spring after hearings by the relevant committee of the House of Commons. We are not against consultation. The Liberals are hiding behind a smokescreen when they talk about consultation.
Also, this is not very complicated. We would be amending the federal Canada Labour Code and providing some leadership to the provinces. I do not think any province is really going to object to this. Some of them already have moved in this direction. Saskatchewan and Quebec are two good examples of this, where there is a minimum of three weeks of holidays, moving to four weeks after a certain number of years. Other provinces like Ontario should be given a push. They should be prodded into changing their labour codes. This is a simple thing to do. It is the proper thing to do.
I am sure there is going to be some opposition from the far right in the country. Some members of the Alliance Party might object to this because they do not seem to be very interested in anything but the bottom line, but I can tell members that quality of life is extremely important. The bottom line is not as important as quality of life. We will find that when quality of life improves productivity is going to improve in this country as well. It has already happened in Europe. When we have improved productivity and a better quality of life the bottom line is going to be just fine as well.
The member for Winnipeg North Centre also mentioned the increase in economic activity when people have a longer vacation period and a shorter workday or workweek. This would also create more jobs for other people who are currently unemployed. I mentioned the example of greater economic activity in France, where people travel on vacation, stay in hotels, tour, visit restaurants and stimulate the economy because they have time to do that. Money keeps circulating throughout French society.
This is something that provides a boost to the economy. It increases the quality of life. It is a good, civil, progressive thing to do. It is going to be a productive thing to do. We would be in sync, then, with more of the developing countries of the world. This is the kind of direction in which we should be going. It applies to 1.2 million Canadians under the Canada Labour Code. It provides a good example and a good stimulus to many of the other provinces around the country. This is where we should go.
The trade union movement has done a great job of negotiating long holidays for workers right across the country, but only 30% of Canadian workers are represented by the trade union movement. We have a lot of workers who fall between the cracks. The banking industry, the financial sector industry, is the best example of that. People work long hours at relatively low pay for huge institutions that make an awful lot of money. In fact many of the banks are still making billions of dollars and have been paying very little in taxes over the sweep of the last four or five years, yet the bank teller who works in those banks pays more than her or his fair share of taxes. These people have no guarantee of anything more than a two week or three week holiday after six years. There is no union. The benefits sometimes are very shabby and the protection is not there. The least we can do is amend the Canada Labour Code to provide some of those benefits.
I once again appeal to the members across the way to pick up this idea and refer it to a parliamentary committee. If they want consultation to be more thorough, let us have our consultation. We can consult with the provinces, trade unions, employers, employees and the people of the country and come back in the fall with a report recommending changes to the Canada Labour Code that would be good for the country and good for the people of Canada. That is what parliament is supposed to do. That is what this place is supposed to do. We are supposed to stimulate debate in the House, provide and promote new ideas and, through the parliamentary committees and the House of Commons itself, change legislation for the Canadian people.