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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

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.

Ethics June 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House to speak to the issue of the global transportation hub project and our government's commitment to the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds.

This project includes the construction of transportation infrastructure in support of the global transportation hub, a premier transportation and logistics centre in Regina that involves many suppliers and retailers.

The Government of Canada has committed $27 million to the province of Saskatchewan for transportation infrastructure supporting this. Let me be unequivocal on the question of land costs associated with the project. None of the $27 million contribution was provided for the acquisition of land.

As far as the issue of land acquisition is concerned, this is clearly a provincial matter, and it is worth noting that the lieutenant governor in council in the province of Saskatchewan has requested that the provincial auditor perform a special assignment on the matter of land acquisition as it pertains to the global transportation hub project.

Although this issue falls under provincial jurisdiction, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak about an underlying issue, and that is the monitoring of taxpayers' money. In fact, increased monitoring of taxpayers' money is one of the key priorities set out in the President of the Treasury Board's mandate letter. I am pleased to announce that the President of the Treasury Board has already taken measures in this regard in the supplementary estimates (C) 2015-16, which were made public on March 1.

For the first time, there is an online annex to the supplementary estimates, which provides Parliament with an early indication of the lapses expected for this fiscal year. This annex also contains a report on frozen allotments, which are funds that have been approved by Parliament but to which the Treasury Board has restricted access for a variety of reasons. This important information gives an early indication of the amount of funding that will go unused during the fiscal year.

Here is what the parliamentary budget officer had to say about the improved monitoring of Canadian taxpayers' money:

The publication of these frozen allotments a full ten months prior to the Public Accounts of Canada represents an important increase in fiscal transparency, ensuring that parliamentarians are on a less unequal footing with the Government.

In the 2016-17 supplementary estimates (A), we also introduced a reconciliation table to show how the budget 2016 spending forecast was related to the planned expenditures shown in the 2016-17 estimates to date. The parliamentary budget officer, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, as well as the Senate Committee on National Finance have all acknowledged this work as an important advance in transparency and reporting to Parliament.

Our government is committed to making yet further improvements in how we plan and report on government spending and empower parliamentarians and their scrutiny over the public purse.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question about the exclusions.

We heard the member for Elmwood—Transcona say that some of the exclusions were made for provincial police and therefore should be included in this bill. However, we know that the RCMP is unique and different from provincial police forces. That is exactly why the opposition members argued against workers' compensation at the provincial level.

Could the member explain why the exclusions are still the best solution for this unique national organization?

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his work on Bill C-7. However, he asked a question about exclusions, and I will answer that before asking him another question.

Bill C-7 would align the RCMP labour relations and collective bargaining with the rest of the public service. It has exclusions that apply to other public servants. What works well is that there are other avenues established in statutes where employees can pursue their interests and objectives in collective bargaining. It is far more than just pay and benefits that is included, as there is a whole host of other issues.

I would like to hear the member's thoughts on the issue that was raised by the member for Durham. He supported everything about Bill C-7 until the last few minutes of his speech. He then pulled his support, walking away from the constitutional rights to appropriate collective bargaining and turning his back on RCMP members, on the issue of card check versus secret ballot.

The member is very aware that the board has the right to apply the secret ballot. Should it think there is uncertainty in any way as to what the card-check method produced in terms of the intentions of the members, it can and will have a secret ballot.

Could the member explain his position around the certification and decertification to help me understand why the Conservatives would walk away from the entire bill on that issue?