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  • Her favourite word is rcmp.

Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Governor General's Medal in Landscape Architecture September 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to pay tribute to Canada's pre-eminent landscape architect, Ms. Cornelia Hahn Oberlander of Vancouver Quadra. A fearless innovator, a remarkable artist, a visionary, and yes a rebel, Cornelia has been a pioneer, creating her field for more than 60 years.

Last Tuesday, His Excellency the Right Hon. David Johnston presented Cornelia with the first ever Governor General's Medal in Landscape Architecture, awarded to those whose lifetime achievement and contributions have had a unique and lasting impact on Canadian society.

Canadians can experience her signature landscapes that enfold people in nature's beauty and resonance, and pay tribute by visiting places she designed, among them the National Gallery in Ottawa, Robson Square steps and the Law Courts in Vancouver, the Northwest Territories legislature building, and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC.

She is a personal inspiration to me, and it is fitting that someone so inspiring would gift us with a built legacy—

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member giving me another opportunity to invite him to have a different approach. As I said, he was part of a leadership that had very little respect for unions and took many actions unilaterally changing the ground rules of collective bargaining.

As the member is well aware, the secret ballot remains an option. The government is not eliminating that option. It was his government that narrowed it down to a single option for collective bargaining. The Conservatives' own secret studies were put on a shelf and not publicized, studies that showed that a secret ballot would skew collective bargaining against civil servants and their representatives.

It is a new era and new opportunity to have a positive tone in negotiations with civil servants. It is one in which we show our respect for the job they do and our understanding of how critical they are to accomplishing the objectives of economic growth, a stable middle class, and making sure that the environment and economy go hand in hand.

Join us.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the President of the Treasury Board for shining a spotlight on the critical nature of the challenges facing this country and our government.

Climate change is a global challenge and our government is stepping up to do its share. To do that we need the civil service, the scientists, and the members who are assisting with policy. We need the broad civil service to be on board and excited. I can assure the president that the clear commitment of our government to acting on climate change is very motivating to the civil service.

I recently attended a consultation with a hundred civil servants, including a panel on which there was an environmental leader. The purpose of the consultation was to allow the civil service to consult with the public and groups that represent the public, something they had not been asked to do for 10 years. How demoralizing is it when one has a personal conviction that something is important, but instead is just asked to do what one is told and not consult with the public? This whole event was about the civil service relearning how to consult the public.

It was very exciting and motivating for the young people in the room that they now had a government with leadership. They have a President of the Treasury Board who is committed not just to having a renewed public service, but also a public service with a renewed ability to do the job that Canadians need it to do.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, the work we are doing reflects the good faith of the bargaining process. We remain committed to working with the unions to reach agreements that are fair and reasonable, both for employees and for all Canadians. However, I would like to add that negotiations between the employer and public service bargaining agents are currently under way. We will not discuss the details of those negotiations anywhere but at the bargaining table.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question by the member opposite, who was part of a government that did not see the value that workers bring to the table and the importance of unions that look after and champion workers across the country.

What his government did is buried in omnibus budget bills, critical pieces of legislation that reduce or undermine the fair power and opportunities of unions to bargain on behalf of government employees.

In terms of the specific point the member mentioned, the secret ballot, his government forced the secret ballot to be the only option by passing a law that took off the table other options that may be more appropriate in certain circumstances. The board was not able to have a choice. It was a matter of one option being shoved down their throats.

With new leadership in his party, I would really invite the member to join us in thinking about how we can have a positive, constructive collective bargaining atmosphere. Join the President of the Treasury Board in this effort to change the atmosphere and have a success rather than having the unions feel they have to walk out and not participate, particularly as so many things were done to undermine the rights of their members through these omnibus bills.

Join us. The member now has new leadership. He is now no longer obligated to participate in that kind of divisive, hurtful, and anti-worker change that was brought in by the previous government.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak today in support of the government's Bill C-5, one of a number of actions that the government has taken to restore the trust and confidence in our collective bargaining system in our country.

The bill goes to the heart of what we, as a government, believe in, which is collaborative, constructive relations with bargaining agents. It is a bill that highlights our belief that a balanced system of labour relations is the best one in a fair democracy.

This bill will repeal Division 20 of Bill C-59, passed in 2015.

Bill C-59 was the last omnibus budget bill introduced by the former government. It gave the government the power to circumvent the collective bargaining process and to unilaterally impose a new sick leave regime on public servants.

To be more precise, it gave the Treasury Board the legal authority to do the following in the core public administration: first, establish and modify the terms and conditions of employment related to the sick leave of employees despite the content of the Public Service Labour Relations Act that was negotiated in good faith in bargaining agreements; second, establish a short-term disability plan; and third, modify the long-term disability programs.

In other words, it gave the government the authority to ignore the existing Public Service Labour Relations Act in order to put in place a new sick leave and short-term disability program without the support or agreement of the bargaining agents representing public service employees. That is what we have been speaking about in this debate. It serves to undermine the good faith that government needs to earn in its bargaining with its public servants and their representatives.

As members may know, the Public Service Labour Relations Act was initially passed in 1967 to give public servants the right to unionize and to negotiate collective agreements.

It is vital that the parties work collaboratively and that the ability of the public service to serve and to protect the government be enhanced. That is obvious.

Bill C-59 sought to give the government the power to unilaterally impose a short-term disability plan if an agreement was not reached.

Unilateral measures are not collaborative measures. They do not foster good will or respect.

That is why we objected to these measures when they were introduced, and that is why we are here today repealing the legislation tabled by the previous government.

Federal employees are Canadians like us, who, each and every time they come to work, do so in service to Canada and Canadians, with the goal of improving or protecting the lives of their fellow citizens. They are the people who protect the integrity of our ecosystems by collecting the data and science that is needed to make the decisions, the people who issue our passports when we travel, who inspect high-risk foreign vehicles to ensure our ports stay safe and our waters clean, who work in the local post office, who ensure the safety of our food and the security of our borders.

However, in the past decade, a good number of fundamental labour rights that were hard won by workers and unions have been rolled back.

We need only look at Bill C-377 and Bill C-525, which make union certification more difficult and decertification easier, and which would require unions to comply with demanding requirements for financial reporting.

These bills were passed without the usual consultation of employer, union and government when labour relations legislation is amended.

These are some of the measures the members opposite have been speaking about that we are committed to repealing.

The previous government did not follow the negotiation process and made it much more difficult for unions and employers to bargain collectively in good faith and work collaboratively in the interest of Canadians. In contrast, we believe in negotiations to achieve settlements that are both fair for public servants and for taxpayers. Threatening bargaining agents through a bill is not a basis for constructive negotiations.

We started by introducing a bill to repeal Bill C-377. That bill created unnecessary red tape for unions, requiring them to submit detailed financial information to the Canada Revenue Agency, including on non-labour relations activities. We also introduced legislation to repeal Bill C-525, which made it more difficult for employees to organize and negotiate collective agreements.

The President of the Treasury Board also committed to repealing the unfavourable provisions of Bill C-4, another omnibus budget bill passed in 2013, which sought to limit the ability of unions to represent their employees.

These are the important measures we have taken to restore fairness and balance in Canada's labour laws.

Let me sum up our responsible reasons for introducing Bill C-5. The bill would repeal the law that gives the government the power to unilaterally impose a new sick leave system on federal employees without collaboration or consultation.

During the election campaign, we committed to restoring fair and balanced labour legislation that recognizes the important role of unions in Canada.

We respect the collective bargaining process and we will bargain in good faith. We will work to negotiate collective agreements that are fair and reasonable for both public service employees and Canadians.

We want to restore balance, so that neither the employer, who represents the public, nor the union, which bargains for employees, has an unfair advantage in labour negotiations.

That is the system that best serves a just society. That is the system that will attract young millennials into our public service. That is the system in which we all exercise our responsibilities to ourselves, our communities, and to others. That is the system that best serves Canadians.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Saskatoon West for her remarks and for her support for Bill C-5, which we are discussing today. I can assure the member that the Liberal government is committed to restoring a fair and balanced approach to labour relations, and ultimately, to building a strong, robust economy. It is important to have a positive relationship with labour and civil servants, both for moral and equity reasons, and also to accomplish the objectives of the government, which is to build our economy and improve the lot of the middle class.

Bill C-5 is a step, but it does not end there. I want to assure the member that this government is committed to repealing other hurtful legislation and will do so this fall.

In talking about the positive aspects of restoring a culture of respect for and within the public service and the sense of value that the government has in the unions and civil servants as a force for positive change, how does the member see the kind of change that this government has committed to through repealing Bill C-59 and other hurtful legislation helping to attract millennials and the younger workforce into the civil service, to bring their talents and bright ideas to the big challenges, some of which she named, such as climate change and health care, and to provide the services that Canadians depend on?

Mauril Bélanger September 21st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise to remember a former colleague and dear friend whose passionate voice and courage continue to resonate within our Parliament. Through his many years of service and throughout his battle with ALS, Mauril Bélanger was, to the very end, a stellar example to all parliamentarians.

Mauril is survived by his dedicated and loving wife and partner, Catherine, and we wish Catherine and their family all our love and warm wishes through this difficult time.

I had the honour of working alongside Mauril for eight years. He was a mentor to new MPs, and none of us will forget his infectious enthusiasm as he shared his latest innovative project to serve constituents. Mauril was a bright light for his community, colleagues, party, and country. This chamber will be dimmer without him.

I thank Mauril for how generously he gave of himself. He is very much missed.

Public Service June 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this week, more than 250,000 federal public servants at work in every province and territory, celebrate national public service week.

Public service is a noble calling, a way to make a difference in the lives of millions of Canadians and people all over the world.

We are privileged here in Canada to be able to count on a public service whose diversity, professionalism, and dedication are the envy of governments around the world. Thanks to the continued hard work of public servants, we all benefit from high-quality government programs and services.

Whether it's supporting those displaced by fires in Fort McMurray or helping Syrian refugees settle into new communities, public servants rise to the occasion and often go far above and beyond.

The government has an ambitious, progressive agenda, for our fully engaged, capable public service.

I salute the good work of Canada's public servants and encourage each member of this House to do the same.

Ethics June 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this matter, raised by the member opposite, clearly falls within provincial jurisdiction. The Provincial Auditor has been asked to examine whether the Government of Saskatchewan followed appropriate procedures and received appropriate value with respect to the acquisition by the Global Transportation Hub of the land in question.

Under the gateways and border crossings fund, and consistent with all federal infrastructure transportation funding programs, costs associated with land acquisition are not eligible for federal reimbursement.

I want to congratulate the member opposite for all the work he is doing, and I hope that he will share that with his counterparts in the provincial government and the opposition in Saskatchewan. We understand that Ms. Ferguson, the Provincial Auditor, is continuing to gather all the information surrounding the deal and is aiming to have the report finished before the end of the spring sitting of the legislature. I am sure that she would welcome the member's important information.