Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Edmonton Manning.
I stand before the House today to discuss Bill C-58, a piece of legislation concerning the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Industrial Relations Board regulations. This bill, brought forth by the Minister of Labour and Seniors, is a clear product of the NDP-Liberal coalition's agenda. While it is important to look at the contents of the bill, it is also very much of equal importance to look at how the NDP-Liberal coalition is hurting workers they claim they are helping.
In this debate, we must be mindful of the delicate balance between protecting workers' rights and maintaining a healthy, competitive business environment. It is our duty to examine how this bill fits into the larger narrative of the current Liberal government's failed policies, which have wide-reaching effects on the Canadian workforce and the overall economic landscape. As representatives of the Canadian people, we have a responsibility to evaluate this legislation not just in isolation but within the context of its potential impact on our nation's prosperity and the well-being of its citizens.
In recent years, we have witnessed an escalating trend in labour disputes across Canada, with a staggering total of 269 major work stoppages. They include both lockouts and strikes in just the past two years. This disturbing rise in labour unrest is a direct consequence of the current Liberal government's policies over the last eight years.
The Prime Minister's inflationary policies have significantly contributed to this turmoil, leaving workers in a dangerous position, struggling just to make ends meet. The harsh reality is that Canadian workers are increasingly finding themselves backed into a corner. The cost of living has skyrocketed, eroding the purchasing power of their wages. Many feel that demanding higher wages is their only remedy to keep pace with the escalating costs.
This sense of desperation is a clear indication of the government's failure in handling labour relations effectively. The policies enacted have not only failed to alleviate the pressures on Canadian workers but have actively made their lives harder, fuelling discontent and unrest in the workforce.
This situation calls for urgent attention and a re-evaluation of the government's approach to the inflationary policies that make life more unaffordable. It is crucial that we address the root causes of these issues rather than merely applying temporary fixes. The government must take responsibility for the current state of labour relations in Canada and work toward sustainable solutions that truly support and uplift the working class.
In continuing to address the current state of affairs under the NDP-Liberal government, it is important to highlight how these policies are intensifying the hardships faced by Canadian workers. A prime example is the carbon tax, which has resulted in a significant increase in costs across the board. This tax, far from being a simple environmental measure, has had a domino effect, affecting everything from transportation to the cost of basic needs. The burden of these increased expenses is disproportionately put on the working class, who find their paycheques stretched thinner every day.
Moreover, the housing crisis under the NDP-Liberal government has reached a critical point. Housing costs have not just risen; they have doubled. The situation is made worse by mortgage payments, which are now 150% higher than they were when Harper was prime minister. This financial strain is pushing Canadian families to the brink, with over 50% living within $200 of insolvency.
The reality is that the Liberals, now hand in hand with the NDP, have long abandoned the workers they claim to represent. Their policies, rather than offering relief, have contributed to the reality where everyday Canadians struggle to afford the basic costs of living. This abandonment is not just a failure of economic policy but a betrayal of the trust that workers place in their government to safeguard their interests and well-being.
The implications of these policies are far-reaching and deeply concerning. They paint a picture of a government disconnected from the realities faced by its citizens, especially the working class.
The recent revelation concerning the Stellantis battery plant is a striking example of the government's mismanagement and lack of transparency. It has come to light that 1,600 foreign replacement workers will be employed at the facility, a project funded by Canadian taxpayers to the tune of $15 billion. Even yesterday, we learned that up to 900 foreign replacement workers will help build the NextStar battery plant in Windsor. The fundamental question is why these jobs, created with Canadian money, are not being offered to Canadian workers.
This situation is unacceptable. It is a glaring injustice that Canadian taxpayers are financing projects that fail to prioritize their employment. The Prime Minister's office has been silent on the details of the massive corporate subsidies granted to electric vehicle battery plants. The recent revelations by the Parliamentary Budget Officer have only intensified concerns, indicating that the actual costs and implications are far more substantial than initially presented by the Prime Minister.
Moreover, Canadian workers and taxpayers deserve full transparency. Is the Prime Minister planning to use taxpayer-funded foreign replacement workers at other facilities, such as the Volkswagen and Northvolt plants? This lack of clarity should be especially concerning for my Quebec colleagues, who might see jobs in their region being outsourced to foreign workers, potentially at the Northvolt plant located in the Bloc leader’s own riding.
If the Prime Minister truly cared about Canadian workers, as the bill suggests, he would disclose the contracts signed with Stellantis, Volkswagen and Northvolt. Canadians have a right to know the financial obligations they are under and the specific job provisions guaranteed for Canadian workers. The Prime Minister should have already ensured that Canadian tax dollars would be funding jobs for Canadian workers, not the employment of foreign workers.
Common-sense Conservatives are committed to ensuring that Canadian tax dollars are utilized justly and that the jobs they help create are indeed available for Canadians. The current situation is a stark reminder of the need for responsible governance that would place Canadian interests and workers at the forefront. We will continue to demand transparency and accountability from the government to ensure that Canadian workers are not sidelined in their own country.
Bill C-58 looks at dealing with the worsening labour relations across Canada, but the real issue stems from the NDP-Liberal government, which has made life unaffordable for the average Canadian worker. The reality faced by Canadian workers today is one of escalating costs, reduced purchasing power and missed employment opportunities, despite significant taxpayer investments. The introduction of foreign replacement workers in key taxpayer-funded projects such as the Stellantis battery plant symbolizes the government's disconnect from the needs and rights of Canadian labour.
The Conservative Party stands firmly with Canadian workers. We advocate for transparency, accountability and, above all, ensuring that Canadians are first in line for jobs created with their hard-earned tax dollars. It is time for the government to stop neglecting these vital principles. Canadian workers deserve a government that champions their cause, protects their interests and utilizes taxpayer funds to actually benefit Canadians. That is the commitment of the Conservative Party, and we will relentlessly pursue this goal in the interests of all Canadians.