Madam Speaker, honourable members, brothers and sisters: lockout, lockout. It hurts to hear those words. I don't know whether the Speaker can see it from her Chair, but I have a bump here that dates back to the first lockout I took part in at Commonwealth Plywood some 30 years ago. The workers had been locked out, and the scabs were escorted in and out by police officers and private security services. Those security guards and police officers took billy clubs to the workers there and to the people who had come to support them. To my mind, a lockout is a violent measure. I see a member laughing over there, but that does not prevent it from being very violent. There is political violence in this kind of legislation.
For the Conservatives, when citizens demonstrate, it is often violent. Cutting jobs, imposing legislation, putting people out on the street, cutting $11 billion from public services: that is not violent for them. Making seniors wait in hospitals for 16 hours is not violent, no.
Lockout, lockout. This government loves locks; we should have suspected that. It also likes big fences around cities to protect them from dangerous and violent demonstrators. The summits of the powerful are protected from the legitimate demands of citizens.
This government really likes borders. It is putting a lot of money into border infrastructure, even in the backyard of the minister responsible for the Treasury Board. This government also likes prisons, lots of prisons with lots of locks.
To justify investing in prisons, the Prime Minister says there is a lot of unreported crime. Do workers who refuse to go back to work in response to a sorry piece of legislation commit that kind of unreported crime? Perhaps.
Touching their fences is another unreported crime that could help fill those prisons. That is dangerous. They arrested 1,200 individuals who dared to touch their fences; that is a major crime.
This government wants to lock the Canadian people into a system of logic, the logic of law and order. If things do not work the way it wants, it will put locks on our freedoms: the freedom to negotiate, the freedom to exercise pressure and eventually freedom of association perhaps. The only thing it will not put locks on is its privileges. No one puts a lock on the freedom to mine anywhere without the consent of the local communities. They have the right to operate a two-kilometre mine near a lake or near 62 rivers in the name of freedom of trade. They have the freedom to drill shale gas wells anywhere they want. They are free to dig a well in my backyard. No one is putting a lock on that kind of freedom.
They have the freedom to pollute the water, the air and the vast expanses of the Canadian Prairies with mining and oil residues. They have a firm grip on their freedoms. They have the freedom to exercise control to benefit the oil market, to raise prices. They have the freedom to concentrate communications businesses in order to send a message. We cannot put a lock on that. They concentrate businesses. They are good at that.
They have the freedom to speculate with the savings of small investors, without regulation or penalty. They gamble with our savings. They are free to do that.
They have the freedom to charge usurious interest rates of 20, 22, 23 per cent. There is nothing to it. Families are going into debt, young people in particular. They put them at the bottom of a well so they have to pay for 100 years. They have the freedom to avoid taxes.
We have nice little tax havens. We are free to go and put our money there. That is how we launder our money. It is fun. We make money. No one looks into that. Those are the freedoms they defend on the other side of the House. It is true. However, they do not respect the freedom of workers to organize, to negotiate. What about negotiating, exercising pressure or establishing a power relationship? No. We are talking about negotiations. All week long, I have heard the Minister of Labour say they negotiated for eight months. What kind of negotiations are we talking about? Negotiations designed to divide workers into two groups: one group for which they want to cut wages, undermine pensions and increase the retirement age. What are those false negotiations? False negotiations! You would think Canada Post Corporation was a bankrupt business asking its workers to make an effort to save the company. We know that workers, even unionized ones, often make those efforts. But we are talking about a business that makes a profit of about $281 million a year. It is not the case: Canada Post Corporation is not bankrupt.
To understand the offers made by Canada Post Corporation and, indirectly, the government, you have to understand that there is a political agenda behind this. The first item on that political agenda is to prove to everyone that the Conservatives will not make an issue of workers' rights. The second item is to prove that they are in power and that they are strong. It is true! One need only consider the ministers' condescending attitude in the past three weeks in their answers to the questions put to them. I am thinking of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who systematically repeats the same sentence to us. The Minister of Industry does the same thing when it comes to asbestos. They are not answering questions; their patting themselves on the back; and they are not meeting the expectations of the members of this House, not at all, any more than those of the public who would like to have answers to certain questions such as: What was done with the $50 million? How is it that no one has any documents on the matter regarding the decision-making processes that led to those investments? Those documents have simply disappeared.
The fundamental objective of the Conservative government's political agenda is to scuttle public services, to carve up the government, to make cuts to public services and, lastly—the ultimate objective—to privatize and eliminate government, contracting everything out to the market. It would be good if there was no more government and everything was private. That is the Conservative credo. We know that. We should privatize the hospitals, prisons, public services, police, water, the land, our land. In the collective psychosis of privatization, why not privatize the government itself, the government of the people? Let it be replaced by a board of directors! That would be a lot easier.