Madam Speaker, it is hard to follow up with the reference to Donald Trump in this chamber. I will leave it at that.
I would like to refer to Bill C-377 and Bill C-525. The Conservatives often attached names to their bills. Basically these were known as bills to create two straw men. It was really an attempt to create an issue that had not existed and they sought a solution to a problem that did not exist. I say that because unions and corporations are barred from political donations.
Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien brought this to the House, and it was something that I and my colleagues supported. It has been a good way going forward, and has been replicated by provincial NDP governments to ensure ordinary voters and citizens have as much of an impact on the voting process as larger and medium-sized corporations, big unions, and small unions do.
Another good change I saw was the limitations put on some of the lobbying activity that took place related to those donations. I often saw, through TPP grants, a former program, the government of the day, either the Conservatives or the Liberals, would have large grant donations go to companies under the TPP program. Those companies then would spend hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to the party. That was a bad practice.
Another bad practice was related to the funds that members of Parliament were allowed to keep in secrecy, different from the riding association. In the past a number of different MPs were able to accumulate funds independently. That has changed as well.
Those contributions, be it political, union, or corporate donations, are gone. Those were good, credible movements made by former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. I give him credit for that because this is a better place and more reflective of the people.
With regard to the tone we heard from union bosses, this is nothing more than passive aggressive attacks on their institutions and Canadians who are democratically elected to their positions through their membership, and membership reviews. In fact, if the union collectively bargains for an agreement and the membership turns it down, it could then remove the leadership for the collective bargaining.
Sometimes it is done voluntarily, when the leadership recognizes it has missed the point from the workers. Most recently, we saw this take place in Ontario with public servants of correctional facilities. An agreement was turned down, and the message to the union negotiators, including the executive, was that greater accountability was needed and not enough was being done to win their support.
There are processes in place for accountability. Union members can get annual reports.
I would like to talk a little about some big union bosses, Rob from CUPE Local 82 and Dino from UNIFOR Local 444. We had a skate and donate program. CUPE Local 82 members took Family Day off and volunteered to help raise money for a local women's shelter and our downtown mission. I was fortunate to get two children's bicycles from UNIFOR Local 444. There were no complaints whatsoever. There were non-union, union, and other people from the not-for-profit sector there. We tripled our donations for those organizations and food banks. We also brought in triple the amount of food.
Big union bosses contribute so much on a regular basis to social justice causes; everything from refugees to a number of different programs, including food banks. They hold press conferences. Local 200 donates to eight children's groups. This is in the Windsor Star. It is in the public. All the members from local 200 are Ford workers. They have had a struggle with this economy. It is because of their quality of work, that we have not lost more jobs. We have seen the failed practices of Liberal governments in the past and the former Conservative government with respect to the auto industry, which shrank from number two in the world in assembly to number eight.
Despite that, we have investment taking place because the members of the unions are good workers and they run a series of health and safety programs to ensure injury reduction in the workplace. Unions have bargained for those rights to increase the productivity of the workers. Because of that, without any government investment at all, Fiat has invested in the Windsor Chrysler assembly plant. It is now hiring 1,000 workers to increase production for the new minivan now known as the Pacifica.
Despite the economic conditions, this plant is the number one manufacturing facility since World War II. It has been operating now for over 10 years on three shifts, and has been making money for the company, rescuing it at different times. As well, the unions have been donating money on a regular basis. Members know this because it has been in the paper. Local 200 has given to the autism society of Windsor and Essex, the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association, the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Child Abuse Prevention Portal, Computers for Kids, Childhood Leukemia Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association, Griefworks children's program, Jumpstart, and the Sunshine Foundation Dreams for Kids.
This is not only published in the Windsor Star, but it also is also publicized in the general media through TV and radio. Therefore, union members know exactly what is taking place because they are tuned in. We have had long-standing representation from their executives, but they have had to win their workers over. That is done mostly through the confidence in their collective bargaining agreement and through their actions in the public.
There are hundreds of thousands of dollars locally in my community, and I am proud to say I have a union town. The hypocrisy about this is when we talk about secret votes. Let us set the record straight. Unions are not allowed secret votes, but it is okay for members of Parliament to have a secret vote to elect a Speaker. There is no problem with that. We have the Board of Internal Economy committee. We hunker down behind closed doors and nothing goes public, and that is okay. We have different rules.
When I was a city councillor, and that was a while ago, we could only go in camera, or behind closed doors when the public and media were excluded, for issues related to property, personnel, and conflict of interest. There were very specific rules. However, what I have seen in my years here is that if somebody sneezes, the committee can go in camera. It is a ridiculous process and it shuts the doors to accountability. Although the taping continues, we cannot make the information public later on. Member can access it to listen to the proceedings, but they cannot talk about it. It is outrageous that this hypocrisy takes place.
Bill C-377 and Bill C-525 trample on a number of different rights, which are often looked at by experts as constitutionally unacceptable. Most important, they will also cost Canadian taxpayers over $20 million just to instate a program and an additional $5 million for one bill alone. It is a cost that should not be accepted. Therefore, I and my colleagues support Bill C-4.