House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was right.

Topics

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the final report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration entitled “Supplementary Estimates (C) 2015-16”.

Scrutiny of RegulationsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations in relation to section 19 of the Statutory Instruments Act.

If the House gives consent, I intend to move concurrence on this report later this day.

Scrutiny of RegulationsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it I hope you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development be the committee designated for the purposes of section 343 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Scrutiny of RegulationsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Scrutiny of RegulationsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Scrutiny of RegulationsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Scrutiny of RegulationsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 56(1), I move:

That the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development be the committee designated for the purposes of Section 343 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Will those members who object to the motion please rise in their places.

And fewer than 25 members having risen:

Fewer than 25 members having risen, the motion is adopted.

(Motion agreed to)

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the first report of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations presented to the House earlier this day be concurred in.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.

The first petition is from constituents who want to see the Government of Canada act concertedly to apply a carbon policy with fees to greenhouse gases at their source of production and in an economy-wide fashion that would apply to the ongoing efforts to meet the Paris agreement targets.

The second petition is directed to the issue of bottled water, recognizing that the threat of bottled water affects water supplies and increases solid waste. The petitioners call upon Parliament to discontinue the purchase of bottled water for personal use in federal government institutions.

Public TransitPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to introduce today.

The first petition is from hundreds of people who note that Canada is the only OECD country that does not have a national public transit strategy. It notes that over the next five years there will be an $18-billion gap in transit infrastructure needs.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to create a Canadian public transit strategy which seeks to provide a permanent investment plan to support public transit, as well as federal funding mechanisms to allow municipalities to create that important public resource.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by many Canadians who are continuing their call to stop the cuts to Canada Post, in particular to have the government halt the conversion of home mail delivery to community mailboxes. They want to reverse those community mailboxes that have been introduced and proven to be problematic for people, and to preserve that vital public service to allow full mail delivery for all Canadians.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is signed by many people in my riding of Vancouver Kingsway.

The petitioners are asking the government to adopt the New Democrat plan for affordable child care. The petition points out the vital need for this program for parents across the country and that this would be a money saver, an important social investment, and would return benefits to our economy far beyond the investment in our children.

HousingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition today signed by many of my constituents. The petition deals with the overall condition of housing stock in Canada, and particularly in the area that I represent.

The petitioners call upon the government to reaffirm the need for strong federal leadership to work with different relevant levels of government in order to ensure there are programs to assist Canadians in affording both homes and the repairs thereof.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand at this time.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations ActGovernment Orders

March 22nd, 2016 / 10:10 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member of Parliament for Montarville.

I rise to speak to Bill C-7. The bill would uphold the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of RCMP members and reservists to engage in meaningful collective bargaining.

A meaningful process of collective bargaining must provide employees with enough choice and freedom to allow them to pursue their collective interests. Bill C-7 does just that. It would provide RCMP members and reservists with the freedom to choose whether they wish to be represented by a bargaining agent. It would also provide them with the ability to choose which employee organization would represent them, as well as the workplace objectives they would pursue. It would also ensure that they could make those choices independent of management.

Allow me to take a moment to explain the context in which the bill was developed. Currently RCMP members are not permitted to bargain collectively and have no recourse to arbitration or strike action. In 2006, the Mounted Police Association of Ontario and the B.C. Mounted Police Professional Association, on behalf of all members of the RCMP, challenged this restriction in the courts. Ultimately the matter was brought to the Supreme Court of Canada, and on January 16 of last year, the Supreme Court rendered its decision. The court struck down the exclusion of RCMP members from the definition of employee in the Public Service Labour Relations Act as being unconstitutional. In addition, the court held that sections of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police regulations infringed on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The current process fails to achieve the balance between employees and employers that is essential to meaningful collective bargaining. Accordingly, the court held that this violated the charter right to freedom of association. The court suspended its judgment for one year to give the Government of Canada time to consider its options. The government sought an extension and was given an additional four months to introduce legislation in the House of Commons that would provide a new labour framework for RCMP members and reservists.

The Supreme Court of Canada's decision has a significant impact on the way that RCMP labour relations are managed. A new labour relations regime for RCMP members would need to provide them with an effective collective bargaining regime, and in a manner that respects the unique role of the RCMP as Canada's national police force. The Supreme Court decision therefore required careful consideration of next steps. This included broad consultation with regular members of the RCMP, and the provinces and territories that have police service agreements with the RCMP.

The Government of Canada takes our responsibility to protect the safety and security of Canadians extremely seriously. We are committed to supporting the dedicated women and men of Canada's national police service who protect Canadians on so many fronts. They combat organized crime and defend our country against terrorists. They guard us from those who deal in illicit drugs and those who commit economic crimes. They protect us from offences that threaten the integrity of Canada's national borders. They provide contract policing services in eight provinces and three territories. Through its national police services, the RCMP offers resources to other Canadian law enforcement agencies. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what these committed individuals do to protect Canadians and to deserve our respect.

Respect is a key operating principle of our government. One of the top priorities of our government is establishing a culture of respect for and within the federal public service. That is why when it comes to respectful treatment of RCMP members and reservists, we thank the Supreme Court for its ruling. It has afforded us with this historic opportunity to enshrine the constitutional freedom of RCMP members and reservists to engage in meaningful collective bargaining.

It is important to note that the negotiation of collective agreements is a right that has been enjoyed by other police officers in Canada for a very long time. In fact, the first police union in Canada was in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1919. The Ontario Provincial Police Association, representing civilian and non-commissioned uniform members of the OPP, came into existence in 1954.

Today, the bill before us would provide RCMP members and reservists with their independence and freedom of choice in labour relations matters while recognizing the unique operational reality of policing.

Independence and freedom of choice were two key elements of the Supreme Court's decision.

I would like to take a moment to talk about the consultations that were crucial to the development of the legislation before us today.

During the summer of 2015, an independent expert consulted RCMP regular members on potential elements of a new labour relations regime. The consultation consisted of a survey and town hall sessions and reached out to all 17,000 active members, as well as more than 1,000 members on leave. More than 9,000 members completed the survey. As well, more than 650 people participated in 13 town hall sessions held right across the country.

The legislation before us, therefore, respects regular members' preferences in determining a new labour relations regime for the RCMP. It also takes into account the concerns and interests of those jurisdictions that contract RCMP services, including most of the provinces and territories as well as many municipalities across Canada.

Most regular members who participated in the online consultation said they support the idea of a unionized RCMP. Recognizing the particular operational reality of the RCMP, members showed a strong preference for a labour relations regime that would use binding arbitration without the right to strike as the mechanism for resolving bargaining impasses. This approach is consistent with other police forces across the country.

Members also showed clear support for the option of representation by a single national employee organization whose primary mandate would be the representation of RCMP members. Such an organization and the use of binding arbitration are two key features of the proposed legislation.

Consistent with existing provisions in the Public Service Labour Relations Act that exclude public service executives in managerial or confidential positions from representation, all RCMP officers appointed to the ranks of inspector and above would be excluded from collective bargaining.

Under this bill, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board would be the administrative tribunal for matters related to the RCMP bargaining unit, as well as grievances related to a collective agreement. This would include grievances on terms and conditions of employment of a collective agreement, such as hours of work, overtime, and leave provisions.

The proposed legislation would preserve the commissioner's authority under the RCMP Act to manage police operations in an effective manner that is accountable to Canadians. Therefore, RCMP conduct matters would remain outside the jurisdiction of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board and instead would continue to be managed through processes established under the RCMP Act.

The bill before us today offers RCMP members and reservists the respect they are due. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that everyone be entitled to freedom of association. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that this charter freedom protects the right to bargain collectively.

I am honoured to rise in support of this legislation, which would permit RCMP members and reservists to exercise their freedom of association by engaging in a process of meaningful collective bargaining. I encourage all members to show their respect for the women and men of the RCMP and to vote in support of this bill.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, there are a number of exclusions from collective bargaining within this bill. I was wondering if the parliamentary secretary could shed some light on what exactly is excluded from bargaining under this bill and what the reasons are for excluding them.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question and for his deep interest in this new phase of freedom of choice for collective bargaining for the RCMP.

What the bill includes is those matters that are subject to collective bargaining. The operational realities of the RCMP mean that some of the working conditions are actually part of the commissioner's responsibility to manage, and those will not be included in this bill. Therefore, what is included is consistent with what will be on the bargaining table between the RCMP members and reservists and the employee representatives who are representing them.

Federal Public Sector Labour Relations ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Madam Speaker, we appreciate most of Bill C-7, and certainly we want to support our RCMP members and all the work they do, but I find it interesting that the bill does not include the opportunity for RCMP members to have a secret ballot when they wish to unionize. I would like to ask why.

It seems again that, when we are talking about bills on unions and democracy, secret ballots are something the government does not seem to support. I would like to ask why the opportunity for a secret ballot is not included in this legislation.