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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

Finance May 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we certainly are making progress. In fact, in this year's supplementary estimates (A), there was funding for 33 items that have been announced in this year's budget, and that's compared with 11 last year and six the year before. Therefore, this is just the beginning. We look forward to working with all parliamentarians to better align the budget and the estimates processes to provide Canadians with far greater transparency and openness in government spending.

Asian Heritage Month May 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in recognition of Asian Heritage Month, I celebrate the contributions of Vancouver Quadra constituent Mr. King Wan. Mr. Wan's career includes serving as a naval reservist, senior manager in Vancouver City Hall, Canadian Forces BC liaison officer, and commanding officer of HMCS Discovery.

The service and sacrifice of Canada's Chinese Canadian Armed Forces members in both world wars is a tale not told in our schools or in our history books. In his role as president of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver's Chinatown, Mr. Wan and his team preserve and exhibit the story of these brave Chinese Canadian veterans and their service to Canada, a country that had yet to grant them the right to vote.

Through his distinguished career and a lifetime of community leadership, Mr. Wan is a shining example of why we are proud to celebrate Asian Heritage Month every May.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, given that the Supreme Court ruled that the current RCMP labour relations regime is unconstitutional, and given that the government has moved to respect the Supreme Court ruling, could the President of the Treasury Board outline the steps the government has taken to meet the Supreme Court's wishes so that there will be collective bargaining for the RCMP members and reservists?

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his speech on this motion and his concern.

The reality is we cannot wait even for collective bargaining to take on this issue. The Prime Minister has committed that we as a government will ensure that the RCMP and all parts of the public safety portfolio are workplaces free from harassment and sexual violence. Also, the minister has already asked the RCMP to review its policies and procedures on this, and review the recommendations on the new process it put in place in 2013. Therefore, we do have a serious and non-negotiable expectation that there will be transparent investigations, serious disciplinary measures, support for victims, and a plan to end toxic workplace behaviour.

In the pay equity committee, the member's party is throwing out the idea of legislation from the previous government because it is bargaining a human right, i.e., pay equity, which they said should not be treated at the bargaining table. We agree with the member's party on that. Why is it not a place for this human right to be negotiated, whereas the member is proposing that it is a matter for negotiation with respect to Bill C-7?

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is the opposite of what the member just stated. What I and the government are saying is that we are very concerned about harassment. I want to again reinforce that the member for Humber River—Black Creek devoted hours, days, and weeks to this issue, over a number of years, before being on the government side.

We understand how unfortunate and pervasive this problem is, and we know that it needs to be addressed. The question is whether collective bargaining is the place to do it. We believe that the minister is correct. He is seized with this matter. He is working on new legislation. It is not about either being in Bill C-7 or it is not being addressed. It is the opposite of that. This will be addressed, and that is the correct place to do it.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is members of the Liberal Party and senators, who were formally part of the Liberal caucus, who spent years studying this issue, holding hearings right across the country to hear from members of the RCMP who had been harassed. We understand the issue. I personally hosted some of those events, and it was heartbreaking.

We clearly understand that there must be substantive change. The question is whether the bargaining table is the right place for a discussion on the human right to be free from harassment. I would ask the member to think about his arguments at the pay equity committee, where New Democrats are arguing that pay equity is a human right and should not be at the bargaining table. Here the member is arguing that freedom from harassment is also a human right and that it should be at the bargaining table.

There need to be stronger laws. There needs to be a new regime to protect members from harassment, from being subjected to further harassment when they report. That is exactly what the Minister of Public Safety is working on.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-7. I applaud the bill and the process that led us to dealing with the bill today. It puts in place the labour relations regime that governs the RCMP members and reservists, and it respects their constitutional rights.

I want to say personally that I think it goes beyond respecting their constitutional rights. It is a statement of respect for who they are. The members of the RCMP and the reservists are people who make sacrifices for the Canadian public. They are willing to be on the front lines and put their lives in danger. They are posted anywhere in Canada, so their families need to be willing to support relocation and disruption of family life. They do this all in defending the safety and security of the Canadian public and our country. I respect them for that, and I am pleased that we are respecting the members with this bill.

Bill C-7 recognizes and responds to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Mounted Police Association of Ontario versus the Attorney General of Canada.

In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the main parts of the RCMP's current labour relations regime were unconstitutional.

For one, the court struck down the inclusion of RCMP members from the definition of “employee” in the Public Service Labour Relations Act as unconstitutional. Morever, the court held that a section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police regulations infringed upon the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The court affirmed that subsection 2(d) of the charter:

protects a meaningful process of collective bargaining that provides employees with a degree of choice and independence sufficient to enable them to determine and pursue their collective interests [...]

In the RCMP's case, the court found that, and I quote:

...the current labour relations regime denies RCMP members that choice, and imposes on them a scheme that does not permit them to identify and advance their workplace concerns free from management's influence.

In fact, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regulations imposed the staff relations representative program on RCMP members.

The aim of the program was that at every level of hierarchy, representatives and management would consult on human resource initiatives and policies, with the understanding that the final word always rested with management.

The court found that the staff relations representative program did not meet the criteria necessary for meaningful collective bargaining. Under this program, RCMP members were represented by an organization that they did not choose themselves. What is more, they had to work within a structure that lacks independence from management.

Clearly, this process failed to achieve the balance between employees and employer that is essential to meaningful collective bargaining. Therefore, the court held that this violated the charter right to freedom of association.

The bill is a direct response to the Supreme Court decision and is meant to address the ways in which the RCMP labour regime was found to be unconstitutional.

First of all, the bill removes the exclusion of RCMP members from the definition of “employee” in the Public Service Labour Relations Act, and changes the title of that act to “Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act”.

The bill also follows through on the court's finding that RCMP members must be allowed to choose the labour organization that represents them, and that the labour organization must be independent and free from management's influence.

Given that independence and freedom of choice were two key elements of the Supreme Court's decision, the bill before us today would take action to address both of those elements. It would provide RCMP members and reservists with the freedom to choose whether they wish to be represented by an employee organization which would be independent of the influence of RCMP management. As such, it would enshrine the constitutional freedom of RCMP members and reservists to engage in meaningful collective bargaining.

Personally, I am grateful for the Supreme Court's decision. It is an important decision that gives us the opportunity to modernize the labour relations regime that governs RCMP members and reservists.

The bill before us today harmonizes the labour rights that govern groups of federal employees with the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is why Bill C-7 contains certain exclusions.

The RCMP is a national federal public sector police organization. Therefore, its labour regime must be aligned and consistent with the fundamental framework for labour relations and collective bargaining for the federal public service.

Bill C-7 includes several general exclusions. For example, to be consistent, staffing, pensions, organization of work, and assignment of duties are excluded from collective bargaining. Each of these issues is instead dealt with under other legislation, for example, the Public Service Employment Act, for staffing; the Public Service Superannuation Act, for pensions; and the Public Service Labour Relations Act, for labour relations in the public service. This system has been in place for years, and it works. Bill C-7 is consistent with government's approach.

Bill C-7 also amends the Public Service Labour Relations Act, by adding a separate part to address the specific and unique circumstances of the RCMP as a police organization in the federal public sector. We did hear in committee many times how unique the RCMP is, and we know how unique it is in our communities. As I mentioned earlier in my speech, it is a national force, and the members can be posted anywhere across the country, with all of the implications that has for their families.

RCMP-specific matters that are excluded from a collective agreement or an arbitral award include the deployment of RCMP members, conduct and discipline, law enforcement techniques, RCMP uniforms, medals, and orders of dress. These matters relate to the effective management of this unique police force and the broader accountability of the RCMP for the safety of Canadians.

It is important to note that the legislative provisions establish a number of other mechanisms outside the official collective bargaining process, which allow the employees to advance their objectives and interests using a collaborative and solutions-based approach.

For example, the RCMP Pension Advisory Committee is making recommendations on the administration, development, and funding of pension benefits. Then we have the workplace health and safety committees. It is their role to work with the employer on developing, implementing, and monitoring workplace safety programs and to resolve safety-related problems.

There are also the labour-management relations committees, which deal with workplace issues such as harassment and disclosure of wrongdoing.

On the subject of harassment, I can assure my colleagues that the government takes this matter very seriously and the minister is working on legislation to address this.

The Minister of Public Safety did come to the committee. He takes it seriously, and the government is seized with this issue. The government and the RCMP's goal is to strive for a workplace that is free from harassment, so that when an allegation occurs, there will be robust processes in place to safely and effectively resolve the issue.

Today, we have a historic opportunity to enshrine the constitutional freedom of RCMP members and reservists to engage in meaningful collective bargaining. I encourage all my honourable colleagues to seize the opportunity before us and support this very important bill.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on her passion and insight. I agree with much of what she has said, including that the RCMP is one of the finest police forces anywhere, and that harassment is a problem which needs to be better addressed. We need a better regime, and we need to end an abusive culture. However, is collective bargaining the place to do that?

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has said that this is a priority for him. He is currently developing legislation to address just that. The Government of Canada takes harassment very seriously and is addressing it.

When Bill C-7 was in committee, there was agreement among the members present to request that the commissioner and the RCMP team come back to talk about what would be part of a change in culture and what the plans were to do that. Would the member support having the RCMP coming back to the committee to begin that work of changing the culture in the RCMP?

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1. May 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the member for Pontiac clearly understands Vancouver Quadra, because the environment is the number one concern, as people express it to me. People in Vancouver Quadra are delighted at the investments in growing a clean energy economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions: $2 billion, I believe, over two years to help the provinces do that.

The huge increase in investment in infrastructure for public transit is very important; it will take a lot of cars off of the streets of Vancouver. There is a wealth of issues that this budget addresses in terms of the priorities of Vancouver Quadra.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1. May 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I do not know the source of the member's data. People making $210,000 and over will not enjoy any net benefits from the middle-class tax cuts, because there is an increase in their taxes. Nor would they enjoy any benefits from the new Canada child benefit because it will not be available to them.

Those who need it the most, at the lowest end of the income spectrum, will receive the bulk of the Canada child benefit. In fact, a low-income family with three young children could end up with about $19,000 of tax-free funding. It is almost like a guaranteed minimum income from the Canada child benefit. There will be nine out of 10 families who will benefit from the change. It is exactly what we need to address poverty and to reduce income inequality. Therefore, I am proud to support it.