Mr. Speaker, I am happy to be speaking today on Bill C-24, An Act to amend the Salaries Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Financial Administration Act. Part of the reason I am happy to do so is that it is the middle of the day. The last time I spoke to this bill, I believe it was about 11:30 at night last spring when the government decided that it needed to keep Parliament sitting until midnight every night for weeks, not because it was trying to bring forward any legislation that would allow it to keep its campaign promises, but to fill the time, which I do not think was very useful.
The first thing about this bill that I want to cover is the total hypocrisy of the government bringing this legislation forward at this time. This legislation would pay junior ministers the same as senior ministers, and would remove six regional economic development positions and add three mystery positions. The reality is that two years ago the government already made those salaries the same and eliminated those economic development ministers, and so this is just a cover. It shows a total disrespect for Parliament. The government should be coming here to discuss issues of importance to Canadians, issues that would change the way we do things in Parliament, but instead the Liberal government does whatever it wants. It makes decisions without duly consulting Parliament, and then tries to cover up.
This is not the first case of this nature. I remember when I was just a new parliamentarian debating the withdrawal of the CF-18s from Iraq. On the first day, I showed up with my speech to talk about this and found out that the government had already withdrawn them. There was absolutely no point to debate it for two to three days, which we did anyway, because it had already withdrawn them. It showed a total disrespect for oversight by Parliament.
Let us talk about some of the other examples such as the payment of $10.5 million to Omar Khadr, a terrorist. That was obviously very controversial in Canada. There was no consultation on that either. What about giving Bombardier $372 million? There was no consultation there either. The Liberal government continues to spend Canadians' money, make decisions about changes and not consult, and then when it is convenient, several years later, it will come with a bill and ask us to get up and speak to it.
That said, let me talk about the specifics of the bill. I wish I had an opportunity to make all these comments before the government had taken action. First of all, let us talk about paying the junior ministers the same as senior ministers. This has absolutely nothing to do with gender. In the real world, where people work in their professions, there are multiple different ways of evaluating jobs, based on skills, experience, level of responsibility, the demands of the job, and whether or not the job is in an isolated location. All these things are taken into account. There are lots of different job skills we can look at such as the Hay scale. There are various items like that.
When we think about the ministers, let us look at the skills and experience of the ministers we are talking about. Let us look at the responsibility level and see if there is a match. Then we can also talk about competence, because in some cases people are paid more for their competence and the amazing things they have been able to accomplish in the role.
First of all, if we talk about the Minister of Status of Women, for example, versus the finance minister, the latter manages a budget of $373 billion. The status of women minister has a far smaller budget. I know of $38 million of it, but it is hidden in so many pockets it is hard to add it all up because the government budgetary system is so confusing. Clearly, if the finance minister introduces things like unfair taxes, these could have a huge effect on small businesses, and could even cause a health crisis if all the doctors leave the country. These things are serious. What impact will there be if the status of women minister does not do her job appropriately? Really, I do not see it.
We can talk about the democratic reform minister versus the defence minister. Now, if the defence minister does not do his job, people die. We go to war with countries and serious situations develop. When the democratic reform minister does not do their job, no one notices.