Mr. Speaker, I am usually pleased to take part in the debates of the House of Commons. However, that is not the case today, because the Liberal values do not represent the values of union members. In fact, they are quite removed from the values of a responsible government that were bequeathed by our Conservative government. In the last Parliament, we gave a voice to union members on fundamental values.
To do away with transparency and the freedom afforded by a secret ballot shows the lack of respect of the Liberal government, which is practising the politics of avoidance. It is sad to see that the Liberals have bowed to pressure from union leaders. That is completely unacceptable. I am being polite in using the word “pressure”. “Returning the favour” would be a more accurate way of putting it.
Unions do have a role to play. Union members have chosen to pay dues so that the unions will stand up for their rights and negotiate working conditions that are acceptable to and benefit both parties. They did not choose to pay dues to be involved in horror stories, such as the ones we have all heard about from friends who were victims or the ones we were personally involved in.
I would like to talk about one of my uncles, Laurendeau, God rest his soul. In the early 1970s, he chose to vote, by show of hands, against a strike, because he thought it was fair and just that he should work to feed his family. Even for the company he worked for, it was more important to get the job done and deliver the boats they were building on time, to ensure that the company would survive.
In the middle of January, when it was -35o, someone sent him a gift of bricks. The bricks did not come through the chimney or the front door, but through the window. Two windows were broken, in the middle of the winter, at two o'clock in the morning. Imagine the trauma to my uncle, my aunt, and my cousin, who was seven years old at the time.
That is just one example. As everyone knows, such situations have some similarities, such as intimidation, harassment, bigotry, exclusion, and abuse of power, which can lead to occupational and psychological burnout that is sometimes irreversible.
In this day and age, at a time when the values of freedom and transparency are attainable, it makes no sense and it is completely unacceptable to take away rights from unionized workers.
Imagine if Canadians were asked to vote by show of hands in a general election, at a community centre, at a pre-set time, with the pressure of the candidates looking on or staring at them. That is what the Liberal government is going to do to union members, in addition to whipping the vote. The party line for moral issues—how shameful. In addition, this is rather simplistic for us as legislators.
My concerns reflect those of thousands, even millions, of Canadians who are outraged that the Liberal government wants to let union bosses help themselves to the money and have their palms greased. We recognize a Liberal way of doing things that is nothing new. I believe, as do Canadians who are concerned about the politics of avoidance, that centralizing power in the hands of the minority and using fear tactics to serve one's own interests is highly unethical. I hope that my colleagues opposite will understand what I mean by the politics of avoidance without a photo to illustrate.
I am talking about how they are failing to defend democracy, failing to be accountable, failing to commit, failing to protect everyone no matter their status, failing to step up to their responsibilities as a government, and choosing to benefit a minority at the expense of the common good.
I am afraid that this Liberal government's politics of avoidance is just the beginning. To date, it has excelled in just one area: social activities that involve selfies and extras.
Our Prime Minister is a national joke. Transparent for the smart phone cameras he might be, but stand up for transparency in democratic institutions and organizations he cannot. He is an embarrassment.
Not long ago, he was a leader who promised to stand up for the middle class, but he hoodwinked millions of Canadians with his grand promises. As citizens, workers, retirees, parents, individuals, and a country, we all stand to lose so much in the end.
This plan serves merely to enhance the image and serve the interests of an egotistical individual who is running away. Yes, this Prime Minister is running away from making real decisions for a strong, prosperous, and safe society and economy like the ones we bequeathed to him just 100 days ago.
I would like to list just some of the so-called changes introduced by this government: tax hikes, an end to income splitting, cuts for families earning less than $60,000 a year that use tax-free savings accounts to put money aside, a threat to the child care tax credit, an end to the air strikes against ISIS, along with never-ending deficits that will cripple the economic future of our country, our children and our grandchildren.
As though that were not enough for the first 100 days of this regressive agenda, now the Liberals are coddling union leaders instead of standing up for dues-paying members, our noble workers who have a right to vote according to their convictions and in complete secrecy.
It is high time that whoever is pulling the strings within the Liberal government did something to ensure that its actions reflect the values of a responsible government that promotes transparency and the right to exercise one's right to vote in a respectful manner. Is anyone running that giant Liberal ship? There is still time to prevent our country from sinking.
It is both completely ironic and worthy of a soap opera to see this Prime Minister everywhere except at work, to see him flippantly reveal a security plan to foreigners, in another country altogether, with no regard for his own citizens, without the consent of the House and without consulting duly elected parliamentarians. This is a Prime Minister who is asking his own party members to ignore their moral values and toe the party line on an issue as delicate and fraught with consequences as the one currently under debate.
In closing, I am very sorry to say that the coziness between the Liberal Party and big union bosses definitely flies in the face of democracy and violates the rights not only of union members, but of all Canadians.