Mr. Speaker, I am actually not very pleased to have to stand again and speak to an issue of this nature, dealing with a motion to cut the time we can spend debating the issue of whether we should support the back to work legislation which the Conservatives have sponsored.
I listened to the Minister of Labour's speech. She said that there is more at stake than what is at the bargaining table.That statement is very true. What is at stake with the legislation and the particular approach the Conservatives have taken?
First, when we talk about process in the House, we have a motion that is dedicated to eliminating any discussion on this issue. That is one thing that is very clear. We have some very significant issues with that.
The Conservatives are basing their argument on the principle that this work stoppage, this labour issue, is going to affect the national economy very seriously. We have heard other things from the member for Simcoe--Grey. She said that the work stoppage and disruptions could cost Air Canada $22 million a week. Carried over a year, that figure would be about $1 billion. Out of a $1.5 trillion Canadian economy, it does not appear to be as large a figure. If there was a two or three week labour stoppage, we would be dealing with an impact on the economy of less than $100 million, according to the figures supplied in the speech that was just given.
We are dealing with legislation that is ostensibly put forward for one reason only, to stop the labour dispute because it affects the economy, yet the figures that have been given are laughable.
I also heard concern about not being able to get vaccinations into northern and remote parts of the country. Anyone who lives in a remote part of our country realizes that Air Canada is not the provider of transportation services there. A strike would have to include First Air, Canadian North, and many other sub-carriers which carry people all over the country. They are not part of Air Canada. The remote regions of our country are not going to be impacted tremendously by this labour dispute. That is just not going to happen.
As for the issue of major Canadian transportation across the country, there is another airline that does that very well: WestJet. It does not have executive seats. Maybe that is one thing the Conservative Party is worried about. I walk past many government members on the way back to economy class on Air Canada when I go across the country. I would put that as a very serious consideration.
The bill has more at stake than what is at the bargaining table. Since it got its majority, the government has been dedicated to crushing labour. It identifies organized labour as a prime opposition to its continued hold over the country. The government is taking very firm action right at the beginning to make sure it separates what it considers to be its problem from its legitimate place in Canadian society, with legitimate rights of collective bargaining. This is what is going on here. It is another step. Perhaps it is not as dramatic as the postal work stoppage that we had to deal with in June, but it is one which is clearly along the same lines.
Let us talk about what the Conservative government has not done for the aviation industry to help these companies so that they can afford to pay the workers a decent wage. One is that the government views the industry as a cash cow.
If we look at what the U.S. government charges its airport facilities for rent versus what the Canadian government does with our airports, we would see a remarkable difference. On the one hand the government says it does not want to get involved in a labour dispute, but on the other hand it collects money from the very airline it is supporting. That has made the airline less competitive in the world. Many Canadians cross the border to get flights from the United States. We see that loss of passenger services.
All these things add up to airlines that cannot compete as well. It is not about the cost of wages. Many other factors enter into why our airlines are having trouble today.
Is it the number of passengers on the flights? No. Actually the number of passenger seats that are filled is higher than it has been for a long time. In other words, domestic flights are fuller than they have been in a very long time, so the aviation industry is actually healthy when it comes to that.
It is not healthy in the extra charges, the security charges. What we have to pay for security in Canada, a country where security is not--