Mr. Speaker, this is an historic evening. The government was successful in passing Bill C-38, an important piece of legislation for the Canadian economy, creating jobs and long-term prosperity for the country.
The member opposite accuses the government of reckless meddling in the Air Canada negotiations. With all due respect, if the hon. member had been paying attention during the debates over Air Canada, he would know that we went over the long process of conciliation and mediation that we went through with Air Canada in great detail.
We conscientiously and methodically followed the steps set out in the Canada Labour Code. This took time and effort. We exhausted all other avenues before we considered pre-emptive legislation to avert a work stoppage.
There was nothing reckless about our decision to bring forward Bill C-33. As we said many times, it was a last resort. We moved forward because putting forward this legislation meant protecting Canadian jobs and protecting Canadian citizens.
In the debates over Bill C-33, we presented this to the House with our projection of how costly a work stoppage at Air Canada would be, not just to the companies and unions but also to our economy.
We talked about the impact upon the travelling public, especially to families who depend upon Air Canada and do not have access to alternative carriers. We reminded the House that many Canadians were not parties to this labour dispute and that they would not have any way of affecting the outcome but would suffer the consequences of a work stoppage.
When we used this legislation to prevent a work stoppage at Air Canada, I know we did the right thing for Canadians by ensuring we were protecting air services, protecting jobs and protecting the Canadian economy.
Given all the risks associated with this situation, it would have been reckless not to bring forward Bill C-33.