Mr. Speaker, I have been listening all day and I am curious in trying to understand a few things. I think of the constituents in my riding of Prince Albert, and I ask the member for Durham why now? Why would the Liberal government in this scenario, in our environment of unemployment, job losses, ISIS, security issues in Canada and abroad, and Syrian refugee issues, say that this is going to be one of their marquee first bills? Why now? What is so important?
When I talk to union members, they are glad to have this piece of legislation in place to protect them. So why now does the Liberal Party want to remove it? Obviously the answer is that there were some backroom deals made between the Liberal Party and some union bosses. The reality is that we can go back to two weeks ago and the Elections Canada finding that union bosses were putting people into the Liberal campaign to make sure that he looked good for his pictures, the photo ops. They were convicted, tried, done. So why now?
Obviously there is something in that legislation that really bothers the union bosses. What would that be? What do they not like? Is it accountability? What is wrong with accountability? I have to be accountable. We all have to be accountable as members of Parliament. We have to tell our constituents what we are doing. They get to see my expenses and how I vote in public, as they should, because I am a public representative for them. Who benefits? The members do not benefit. Absolutely not. They lose all sorts of ability to see exactly what their union bosses are up to. They do not get to scrutinize the balance sheets to see what is going on. They did with our piece of legislation, but with what the Liberals are proposing they will not have that opportunity. Who benefits? It is obvious that it is the union bosses. Why do they benefit? What is their rationale behind that?
The other thing in the background with the union bosses is their known support for the NDP. If we go back to the previous convention of the NDP, it was the union bosses who funded a good chunk of that convention. Again, there was no transparency there. It was not until Elections Canada became involved and it was settled out of court. We never did see how many thousands of dollars were spent on that convention by the union bosses for their NDP colleagues. Here are parties that have a vested interest in seeing this legislation go forward, both the Liberals, because of what they have done with the Prime Minister and the way the unions have been supporting them, and the NDP, because of previous actions and commitments they made to their union bosses. We can see exactly what is happening here and why there is an urgency to covering up what is going on with the unions.
My other question is about the secret ballot, which is a no-brainer. When we elect different presidents and vice-presidents for parliamentary associations, we do it by secret ballot. When the Speaker is voted into this office, it is done by secret ballot. Why would the union bosses not want a secret ballot? I have heard from different members of unions that they want the ability to intimidate the outcome of the vote. They want to be able to shame a person into voting a certain way. They want the membership to follow the party line. If someone is an NDP member, that is what they do; they follow the party line or the union line. If members are there to question it, which has happened in the past, they are not represented in a dispute with their bosses. All of a sudden the union does not show up or provide the service and support that they should be providing as their representatives.
What else is done? We have heard of intimidation tactics where unions have gone into workplaces at lunchtime and told members to vote for a party because the party is the union's party. Is that appropriate? Is that an appropriate use of their power as union bosses? A union boss is supposed to be there to represent the members of that union. If there is a dispute over a work condition or labour standard or wage, that is what union bosses are there for. They are not there to put on political activity regarding what is going on in Israel or to go to a junket in Brazil or South America to look at some labour congress issues. They are there to represent that member.
What are unions doing with that money? We do not know because we do not have transparency, and we will never know because of this legislation that the Liberals are bringing forward. It is a cover-up. First of all, the Liberals do not want the union members to understand how their money is being spent, so that the union bosses can spend it as they see fit, whether it supports the New Democratic Party or the Liberal Party.
The Liberals want to make sure union bosses stay in place, so they want to make sure that the secret ballot stays in place. Again, that group is tightly knit. If we look at all the options and what is going on here, there are obviously some other things going on in the background—