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Track Joyce

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Crucial Fact

  • 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

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.

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

Mr. Speaker, in the two years that I was defence critic, no one ever came to me and said “Gee, our most severely incapacitated and disabled veterans are living below the poverty line when they turn 65, but it's a good thing because we need to cut our spending.” They were not saying that.

In fact, I want to point out that the previous government took $1.1 billion out of the funding for Veterans Affairs Canada. That has contributed to the shrinking of services, funding, and benefits for those who deserve it the most.

I am very proud that we are reversing that. If we are doing that in the context of a deficit that we will be eliminating over the course of the next few years, so be it. Our veterans deserve to be put first.

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on the bill that I just asked a question about, Bill C-15, which will implement many of the measures contained in the budget that our government tabled on March 22.

In electing a new government, millions of Canadians signalled their desire for change. Our government was elected, in part, because we took that desire seriously. We offered Canadians an ambitious new plan for a strong middle class and a strong economy. We promised that we would do all we could do to help every Canadian succeed.

Budget 2016 is an important part of fulfilling that promise. It offers immediate help to those who need it the most, and lays the groundwork for sustained, inclusive economic growth that will benefit Canada's middle class and those working hard to join it. It helps reduce the income inequality gap while stimulating the clean economy.

For generations, Canadians worked hard, secure in the belief that their hard work would be rewarded. They trusted that in exchange for their honest efforts, they would realize greater opportunities for themselves and their families. This sense of optimism, paired with government policies that strengthen the middle class, as well as the robust immigration we have had that has created such a diverse country, has helped to make Canada the country it is today.

However, in recent years, the benefits of economic growth have been shared by fewer and fewer Canadians. Canada's wealthiest 1% have seen their income double in 30 years. Meanwhile, even though household costs continue to rise, most families' incomes have barely risen over the same 30 years, making it harder to make ends meet.

In Vancouver, we have the double whammy of a shortage of affordable housing and skyrocketing housing prices. That first started in my riding of Vancouver Quadra, on the west side of Vancouver, but it has now moved into our metro area.

I am pleased to say that I have met directly with leaders in CMHC, to make sure they understand the Vancouver situation, how hard it is for ordinary families and young people to buy a house and make a home in Vancouver, and the downside of that for our city. I am also pleased to have met several times with the minister responsible for housing, so that he can understand Vancouver's unique situation.

Our government has responded in this budget, not only with a massive infrastructure investment, social housing being a big part of it, but also through a half a million dollars being allocated for StatsCan to thoroughly research and understand the statistics, and bring the evidence forward about the housing price increases that I just described.

With budget 2016, our government seeks to help more Canadians and to restore the confidence of Canadians in a brighter, more prosperous future. I am going to speak about a couple of things that are near and dear to my heart. One of them is the environment, and another one is veterans.

The environment is actually the top issue for Vancouver Quadra constituents, according to the surveys and how they fill them out. Our government is operating on the principle that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. I used to say that 15 years ago when I was an environment minister for the Province of British Columbia, but that principle has not been in operation over the last 10 years. I am very pleased that our environment minister, our Prime Minister, and our cabinet see the world that way.

I would like to highlight some of the investments in the environment. Budget 2016 provides $3.4 billion over five years to address climate change and air pollution, ecological protection, and to restore public trust in the environmental assessment processes. It is a very important investment.

In addition to that, the budget invests $81 million to boost Canada's marine and coastal protected areas, from 1% today to 10% by 2020, a very ambitious program of improving protection for our marine areas.

In addition, $40 million a year has been reinstated for ocean science investments for research and science, so we can help protect our fish stocks, like our wild salmon that are so important to British Columbians.

The Kitsilano Coast Guard base, which is an absolutely necessary facility and was closed by the Conservative government, has been reopened. The announcement took place a week or so ago. This base will have a strengthened mandate to protect our environment, our ecosystem in English Bay and Burrard Inlet, and the beaches, by responding to oil spills. There is a lot of good news on the environment.

The other area where we needed real change to happen, and which Vancouver Quadra constituents see as a core responsibility of a responsible government, has to do with veterans. Veterans have dedicated their lives to the defence of our country and deserve our unwavering support. Frankly, they did not receive that from the previous government.

The Government of Canada, over the decades, has had a social covenant with all veterans and their families. However, the previous government had their lawyers arguing in lawsuits that it did not exist, and they tried to prevent the veterans from having a fair settlement for their injuries. That is a sacred obligation that we must and we will meet with both respect and gratitude.

As the defence critic for two years prior to the recent election, I met many times with veterans in town halls, in Legion halls, and meeting rooms across the country and in Ottawa, and heard their many concerns. I am delighted that our government will give back to veterans who have given so much to Canadians. We will respect the social covenant and this sacred obligation.

The bill restores critical access to services for veterans and ensures the long-term financial security of disabled veterans. Canada's veterans will receive more in local in-person government services, as well as better access to personalized case managers.

With this budget, we are providing additional funding to Veterans Affairs Canada, so it can reopen service offices recently shuttered in Charlottetown, Sydney, Corner Brook, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Saskatoon, Brandon, and in Prince George and Kelowna in my province of British Columbia. We are also planning to open a new office in Surrey, B.C.

To help veterans in their rehabilitation process, we will enhance front-line services by hiring additional case managers and reducing the client-to-case manager ratio to no more than 25 to one. We will increase the earnings loss benefit from 75% to 90% of a veteran's monthly gross pre-release military salary. The principle here is that veterans who have been injured should not have to live in poverty because the government is ignoring their needs.

There are many other aspects of the veterans' requests that are being satisfied in the budget, and the government will continue to consult with veterans toward the full package of support and respect that they have earned and they deserve. Canadian Armed Forces and veterans with service-related disabilities will see an increase in the benefits they receive, and they will see an increase in the services that they are provided.

The measures contained in our budget will not only benefit our veterans, but other groups of Canadians who deserve our support and our respect. This includes senior citizens and our children.

Unfortunately, I do not have time in this speech to elaborate on the groundbreaking investments we are making in seniors and children that will remove almost one million low-income seniors from below the poverty line and lift hundreds of thousands of children above the poverty line as well.

By boosting funding for the most vulnerable, we are reducing income inequality. We are investing for the years and the decades to come. We are investing in our children and grandchildren, so that they may inherit a more environmentally sustainable, prosperous, and hopeful Canada.

Simpler, tax free, and more generous, the child tax benefit is an example of the kind of good public policy that is in this budget. The bill is an essential step to restoring prosperity to the middle class and fairness to all Canadians.

I look forward to hearing from colleagues from all sides of the House as we discuss the bill in the coming days. It is a very timely and very important piece of legislation for Canadians.