Mr. Speaker, I have here an ad that you might find interesting. I will read it to you.
For sale: Charming Parliament with river views, located in a hard-working country populated by responsible citizens with a still partly intact international reputation. Note to buyer: some renovations are needed.
That is basically what the Conservatives are saying with Bill C-4. They are sending the message to Canadians, and to the world, that this House is now useless, since the decisions of its members are no longer subject to debate. Need I remind the government that debate and information are essential to the survival of democracy?
Let us face the facts and ask ourselves this question: what is the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy? Information, checks and balances, and meaningful representation are some of the necessary components of a democracy. I may be repeating myself, but just as we did with the three budget bills, we are opposing Bill C-4, because of both its content and the process used by the Conservatives.
Bill C-4 contains a wide range of complex measures that deserve further study, which we do not have the time to do here, because we are once again under a time allocation motion. Introducing bills of this magnitude with such a broad scope and allocating so little time to consider them undermine the work of Parliament by preventing members from thoroughly studying the bill and its implications.
We will then be criticized for voting against Bill C-4. Once again, the Conservatives are trying to keep Canadians in the dark and change a large number of laws without holding actual consultations.
When the Conservatives introduce over 70 legislative amendments in a document of 300 pages, and many of these changes have nothing to do with the budget, it is only reasonable to ask questions. At this stage, we have the obligation to ask questions. I will not dwell on the details of this bill because that would be virtually useless, given the short time allotted to us. Indeed, I wonder whether the members opposite have had time to read the bill that they are voting for as a block.
The process that is being used here is rather worrisome. For example, what about the concentration of power this bills bestows? Many provisions of this bill grant more power to the minister, who will do what he likes in any case. This is a strong trend that we have seen with the amendments to the Labour Code and with health and safety issues. The minister makes the decisions, but who is he to make those decisions alone?
Among other things, this bill will make it more complicated to refuse to work in dangerous conditions. Canadians should not have to work in conditions that pose a threat to their health. This type of decision is easy to make for a minister who works in a comfortable office. He should go work as a logger for awhile and see what kinds of hazards some Canadians face at work. Personally, I am well acquainted with those hazards.
We also see this trend at the National Research Council of Canada, where the government unilaterally eliminated the positions of many world renowned and experienced researchers. Do not worry. The Conservatives will compensate for it by appointing a stronger and more arbitrary president.
I seriously wonder how the Conservatives can run a country without science. On what information are they basing their policies, when there is no consultation, no science, no census and no debate?
Unilateralism has no place in a democracy, and Canadians are well aware of that. They know better. Let us suppose that the Conservatives truly believe that they are omniscient and that they do not need to hear the opinions of others, even experts.
What will happen once the bad guys take power? That is not just hypothetical. Imagine the situation. Canadians would find themselves in a very bad position.
Now imagine that all Canadians believed in a polluter pay principle for the Mackenzie gas project. What will they think of the fact that the Conservatives have now done a 180 on a position they themselves advocated? That is troubling.
According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, budget implementation bills from 2012 to now will cost over 67,000 Canadian jobs and shrink the GDP by .57%. Is that the kind of economic progress the government wants for this country? It is not what my constituents and I want.
Workers have the right to work in safe and healthy workplaces. People have the right to economic policies that meet their expectations. That includes a healthy environment, secure and well-paid jobs, respect for veterans, an effective fight against tax evasion, and more.
The Conservatives say that they have created a million jobs, but how many of those jobs are part-time, minimum-wage jobs? We will not fall for that. The government cannot solve all of those problems and many others with a wave of a magic wand. The House is here for another purpose: debate.
When I visit people in my riding, they ask why there are so many closure motions. I tell them that the government makes those decisions and that we always vote against closure. We always lose those votes though. We have to make use of the privilege we have of being in the House. Elected representatives have to be allowed to talk about all of the issues and bills that come up in the House.
Omnibus bills are catch-all bills that the government puts all kinds of things into and calls it a day. The opposition's votes are basically wasted because the Conservatives have a majority.
I believe that people in my riding and across Canada want to hear their members of Parliament debate bills here in the House and in committee.
When we come back to the House at the end of January, we will have to debate bills. I hope that this is the last time the government will impose closure until October 2015.