The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill , be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill .
I will be sharing my time with the member for the great riding of .
As a former member of the RCMP, I was proud to serve with Canada's national police force. I recall the first day that I joined the force and I recall my last day. All of my 35 years within that organization were great.
Like many thousands of other members from the 1960s and 1970s who joined Canada's traditional world-famous redcoats, I can attest that I did not join up for the $4,800 a year but for the pride in serving our great country in Canada's police force.
We went where the force wanted us to go, from sea to sea to sea. We were all proud to serve, and we gave much to the force in long hours with no overtime.
We got the job done with basic equipment by doing the job with pride. In those days, some of our cars did not have radios. We were notified by a light that was turned on over the community that we had to return to the detachment, and we did so because that was our job.
Things needed to change with the rapidly changing times of the 1970s. Better equipment, better communications, better working conditions, and better compensation were the issues facing us. This was accomplished by a unique program that came about in 1974. The RCMP senior command listened and made changes. One big change was the division staff relations representation system, known to the membership as the DSRR.
The DSRR's work moved our force to the forefront. We remained one of the top 10 police forces in Canada in relation to compensation and working conditions through the efforts and great work of the RCMP DSRR system. We needed to have a say with respect to promotions, discipline, and grievances, and the DSRR program protected and served our members through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s up to this present day.
Today it appears to have lost some of its effectiveness in promoting working conditions, compensation, and so forth, for reasons I do not want to go into. Last year I was shocked when I examined the 2015 RCMP review of the force in comparison to other police forces in Canada. When I proudly served, we were always rated among the top five police forces in Canada. Last year the RCMP was ranked below 50 other police forces in Canada with respect to pay, compensation, limited-duration postings, etc.
Canada's internationally acclaimed police force should not be at the bottom of the pile. It should be at the top. My personal feeling is that the DSRR program worked well at one time and could work well again if all of the departments within government would work together for the betterment of our men and women in uniform. This also applies to the military, firefighters, and first responders. Our men and women in uniform protect Canadians from harm's way. They often risk their lives in serving their communities, their provinces, and their country.
Personally, I believe that the RCMP, Canada's international police force, should not be unionized. There are so many situations that might complicate how this great organization performs its policing roles in the future, and I could go on for quite some time explaining what I foresee as future problems. However, I want to switch hats for a moment.
I was formerly mayor of a northern British Columbia city. For most cities, the cost of policing is one of their biggest budgetary items. I would like to provide a comparison of policing costs, and I will use British Columbia as an example.
The first example is with respect to RCMP communities. For communities with a population of under 5,000, the province pays 70% and the federal government pays 30%. For communities with a population between 5,000 and 15,000, the municipality pays 70% and the federal government still pays 30%. For communities with a population of over 15,000, the municipality now pays 90% and the federal government pays 10%.
Second, a comparison done several years ago showed that unionized municipal police forces in 12 communities in B.C. had 2,262 police officers looking after roughly 1.2 million people, at a cost of $348 million. RCMP contract services in B.C. at the same time in 28 communities with a population of more than 15,000 had 2,692 police officers looking after 2,109,601 people, at a cost of $369,652,000, or $22 million more for doing twice the work.
In my opinion, if the RCMP is unionized, the cost to communities across Canada contracted to the RCMP for policing services will increase dramatically.
Our Conservative Party respects the Supreme Court decision that the RCMP officers are entitled to bargain collectively. However, I cannot support any legislation that denies employees, especially RCMP members, the right to vote in a secret ballot on whether to unionize. The court's first and fundamental tenet of the charter right is employees' choice, and that is not reflected in this bill.
We do not use a show of hands or a public petition in our democratic elections, nor should we do in the workplace. The RCMP risk their lives every day. The least we can do is to give them the democratic right to vote, free of all intimidation, on whether to unionize.
We support this legislation going to committee, where we will ask the government to amend it to explicitly allow RCMP members the right to vote by secret ballot on whether or not to unionize. The RCMP's collective rights under paragraph 2(b) of the charter can be exercised by their employee choice at the first instance, saying whether they want an association or not, and that vote should be conducted in a way that conforms with our democratic principles, namely, by secret ballot.
Bill would bring certain parts of the workplace relationship outside of the bill, certain elements through the grievance process, and certain elements of the workplace would not be subject to the collective bargaining relationship. That is important, due to the unique role, chain of command structure, and heritage of the RCMP as a police force.
I urge the minister to work alongside the commissioner of the RCMP to ensure the bargaining and the well-being of our people, in safeguarding the employees' wellness in uniform and afterwards.
In closing, I want to remind my colleagues that RCMP members risk their lives every day. The least we can do is to give them the democratic right to vote on whether or not to unionize, free of all intimidation.
Mr. Speaker, it truly is an honour to follow my respected colleague from . I thank him for sharing his time with me. I have a lot of respect for his 35 years of service with the RCMP, protecting the communities of Canada. We are truly blessed to have him as a member of our caucus.
I want to talk a bit about some of the history. I am very blessed to have a deep RCMP and North West Mounted Police history in my riding. Fort Macleod was founded in 1874. It is now a world-renowned museum of the North West Mounted Police in western Canada. Downtown Fort Macleod is now a provincial historic site, as well as the museum.
There is also the Alberta Provincial Police Building in Crowsnest Pass, which was founded in 1918. I am proud to say that the Conservative government last year contributed $100,000 to the refurbishing of that police building to protect its history. I am sure many people in the House would like to know that Corporal Stephen Lawson was killed in front of that building in the early 1900s. One of the accomplices in the shooting was Florence Lassandro. She was convicted of that murder and was the first and only woman ever hanged in Alberta's history. That is a bit of Alberta's history.
Today I want to speak to Bill and say how disappointed I am. On this side of the House, I think many of us are. We continue to have to challenge the Liberal government on the importance of accountability and transparency when it comes to unions, and specifically the importance of a secret ballot.
Members of the RCMP are out there each and every day protecting our rights, freedoms, and democracy. Why we would miss this opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and protect their democratic rights when we have the chance to do so? It is disappointing that we are missing this opportunity by putting forward Bill , which does not include the right to a secret ballot. I ask the Liberal government to send the bill back in order to add the provision of a secret ballot for RCMP members when they are faced with the question of certifying or not certifying as a union. Simply put, that is the right thing to do.
Members of the RCMP have the democratic right to a free and fair secret ballot vote when certifying or decertifying as a union. Every one of us in the House was elected by way of secret ballot. Every member of a provincial or municipal government was elected by way of secret ballot. It only makes sense that we would be sharing that democratic right, not a privilege but a democratic right, to a secret ballot at all levels, including unions.
A secret ballot is the cornerstone of our democracy and at the heart of Canadian values. However, the Liberals have shown again, with the combination of Bill and Bill , that they see the right of secret ballot as being somehow obsolete. In many cases, they do not feel it is democratic at all, which I find to be extremely disappointing and concerning.
This is about balance and creating a fair environment in which workers are the ones making the choice they feel is best suited to their needs. The Supreme Court decision speaks to allowing the RCMP the right to associate for the purpose of collective bargaining. I think all of us in the House agree and support that decision. However, we also believe this is an opportunity to vote by way of a secret ballot, and it should be a privilege and democratic right that the RCMP have this opportunity.
Our specific intent has always been to preserve the democratic rights of Canadian workers through increasing public confidence in unions, but to have that confidence, unions must operate in a transparent and accountable way without any chance of undue influence or coercion. Our democratic system was designed with a secret ballot as its keystone, specifically to maintain the integrity of the vote and to allow citizens to cast their ballot in privacy.
The has made it very clear that she does not believe in the integrity of a secret ballot. In fact, she has said that the card-check system is a much more democratic way to certify or decertify a union. Recently in committee meetings, she was asked why she would repeal Bill , which gave employees the democratic right to a secret ballot to decertify or certify a union. I will read this quote, because her answer was very clear on where she and the Liberal Government stood in terms of democracy. She said:
The card-check system is a perfectly democratic way of gauging support as it ensures that an absolute majority of employees support the union, not just those who come out and vote.
Our jobs minister is saying in committee that a card check system is a much more democratic way to decide if a majority of people support whatever that issue is, over a secret ballot; that somehow when people actually show up to vote for something, they are not legitimate.
I went around door-knocking in my riding, as I know most of the members of this House did as well in their ridings as we went through the election period. If I went up to ask those people for their vote right then, and I wanted them to sign a piece of paper that would tell me that they voted for me while I was standing there, how often do you feel that person would be telling the truth?
Mr. Speaker, how often do members think those residents would be telling the person at the front door the truth? How would we feel here about it? When there is a card check system vote and they are asking people in a union shop, for example, to raise their hand while everyone else is standing there looking at them, how is that fair and democratic? Compare that to the opportunity for a secret ballot where, with their own conscience, we would know people are making a decision they feel is right for them, with no coercion, no intimidation, and no one influencing their decision.
On that fact, after an election most of us in this House go and speak to our residents. We have all had the discussion at the coffee table or the dinner table about who they are going to vote for the next day. No one wants to tell. They are very reluctant to tell. That is something very private, something we need to hold to ourselves; and we should respect that decision and the foundation and importance of that secret ballot.
I have heard that story over and over again from people in residences. Canadians expect privacy when they are casting their ballots, and that is something we should embrace.
Voting is a very personal action. People cherish the privacy of marking their ballot in secret without intimidation, influence, or coercion. Why would we not make the same basic right for the men and women who put their lives on the line every single day when they put on their uniform to go to work? What could possibly be easier and more straightforward than a secret ballot? There is absolutely nothing more simple: one person, one vote. That is how it should be. Open, transparent results ensure confidence that a true decision was made whether certifying or decertifying a union.
The Liberal Party campaigned on accountability and transparency. By their keeping secret ballots out of this legislation, it is again obvious that the Liberals have no intention of keeping those election promises. Accountability and transparency seem to have gone the way of commitments to a $10 billion deficit, balanced budgets, and dinosaurs. That seems to be all in the same viewpoint of election promises broken time and again.
At the federal level, the previous Conservative government introduced extensive reforms to ensure Canadians have trust in their political institutions. That included legislation like Bill , which ensures union members have the right to a secret ballot. That legislation recognized the right to peaceful association—a right that extends to all workers in Canada, whether they should wish to have a union represent them or not. That is a right that should be passed on to the RCMP as well, if its members choose to form a union. This choice is theirs and theirs alone to make.
The previous card check system for federally regulated industries required 50% plus one to sign a union membership card. It is very clear, despite what my colleague on the other side of the floor would like to say, that this is open to abuse. It has been open to abuse, and certainly there are many stories where employees have been pressured to sign a union card against their will. I know the member rattled off different laws that were in place, but just because a law is written down, I am certain all of us can agree that does not mean it is followed. I am sure we all understand that there are many opportunities where card check systems in place definitely open the door to intimidation and coercion.
To wrap it up, the message I want to get to here is very clear. Members of the RCMP each and every day put their lives on the line to protect our rights, our freedoms, and our democracy. We have one chance here. We are at the root opportunity here in dealing with collective bargaining with the RCMP. This is an opportunity for us here to stand up with our RCMP officers and stand up to protect their democratic rights, and the Liberals will not do it.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to participate in this debate. I will be splitting my time with the member for .
On a slightly different vein, I know this has been a tough week for many of us here. I want to express my personal condolences to the Hillyer and Ford families. I also express my best wishes to the member for . I understand there are some health issue that have re-emerged. I really have enjoyed debating with him in the House thus far, and I look forward to him having a full recovery and continuing to contribute to this place.
Bill is about the RCMP. It is about collective bargaining in the context of the RCMP.
Before I get into some substantive arguments about the specific issue of secret ballots, which has been the focus of the back and forth by the folks in disagreement, I want to review some of the ground on our perspective of the bill.
The bill acknowledges and respects a recent Supreme Court decision, which says the RCMP is entitled to bargain collectively. For the most part, Bill is a fairly reasonable response to the court ruling and we support this legislation going to committee. That is the basic underlying groundwork here.
However, we feel very strongly that the legislation needs to protect the right of RCMP members to vote via a secret ballot for unionization. That is an important right and it is respected by Canadians in the vast majority of contexts. Working men and women in the RCMP and in other environments need to have their right to vote in a secret ballot.
Notably, as well, wage disputes will continue to be resolved through binding arbitration. There will be no striking of police officers, obviously, and that is an important point to clarify.
In the context of discussing the RCMP, I want to briefly salute the very good work done in my own constituency by the RCMP. In my riding of , and certainly in Alberta, we do not have provincial police forces, so we are served directly by the RCMP. We greatly appreciate the incredible work the RCMP does, not only in direct policing but also in very positive engagement with the community.
In some of the past work I have done with different not-for-profit organizations, it has been great to have the engagement of the RCMP. For example, I was involved with the Rotary Club of Sherwood Park. We would regularly have members of the RCMP come and update us on some of the issues and challenges in our community. We had a very positive working relationship that was facilitated by that connection.
Because of the immense respect we on this side of the House have, and I think all members have, for members of the RCMP, it is important that this legislation protect their right to make decisions about collective bargaining through a secret ballot. We are at less than 10 government bills so far. Two of them deal with union certification and neither of them protect a right to a secret ballot. In fact, one of them, which we have already debated in this place, explicitly eliminated the protection of the right to secret ballot. It is clear how the government sees the issue of the secret ballot.
I said before in the House, I would have thought this issue would have been resolved. We are again having this 19th century debate about why secret ballots are actually important, again, something I think many people would have thought was settled.
It is important to identify why a secret ballot is important and I want to set out what I see as four key motivating arguments for the secret ballot. First, they protect the right to privacy. Second, they ensure protection against reprisals. Third, they ensure protection against corruption. Fourth, they facilitate a necessary process of deliberation that allows voters to most effectively express what is in their own interests.
First is the issue of a right to privacy. A public ballot does not respect an individual's right to privacy. It requires individuals to write or declare publicly their political convictions. There was a time when this is how elections happened, when people had to declare publicly for who they were voting for, and there were all kinds of problems with that. One of them was that their basic right to have their privacy protected in terms of their deeply held political convictions was not respected. The reason we would see the importance of a right to privacy in this context is that a person's opinions are, in a meaningful way, his or her own property. My opinions are my opinions, not just in the sense that I hold them, but that they are mine to dispose of, to share or not to share as I would wish.
Laws and systems of administration or certification that do not allow individuals to keep their opinions to themselves or dispose of them as they wish are violations of their privacy. They are, in a sense, violations of their ownership of their own opinions.
This also has negative practical consequences as well. In addition to violating the basic privacy rights of members of the RCMP, in this case, not having a secret ballot, having a public ballot, always creates the risk of reprisal. This is very much the early history of the movement to the secret ballot.
Secret ballots were introduced in the 19th century in the U.K., for example, around the time of the Great Reform Act, and as the franchise was extended, as more people were being allowed to vote, there was a recognition, especially for those who were more economically disadvantaged and therefore dependent on the employ of those who were wealthier, that people were vulnerable to political pressure or reprisals in the context of a public ballot.
The history is that the secret ballot was very much brought in to protect the rights of people, of working men and women, to be able to express themselves politically without fear of reprisal.
It is perverse, ironic, and quite unfortunate that it is precisely in the environment of union certification, when we are talking again about the basic political rights of working men and women, that the government is clearly not respecting the importance of the secret ballot.
There is, of course, always the possibility that, in a public ballot, someone would face some kind of reprisal, a negative social or other response from colleagues, if they were not doing or voting the way that this other person wished them to.
The third argument in favour of the secret ballot is that it provides protection against corruption. Before there were secret ballots, there was the real risk of people being paid to vote in a certain way, and that is a possibility when we have a public ballot. It is obviously not a possibility when there is a secret ballot, as there is no way to effectively buy a vote because we do not know if the vote is then actually provided as paid for.
That was another argument that was important in the initial evolution of the secret ballot and to some extent remains important now, that there is no possibility of there being inducements when there is a secret ballot.
Finally, secret ballots ensure there is a process of deliberation that happens before a vote; so a vote date is set, there is an opportunity for both sides of an argument to present their opinions, for there to be a conversation, and then for a conclusion to arise. I think most people accept the importance of this process of deliberation. That is why we have an election campaign. That is why we have a period of debate before an election takes place.
The advantages of this for working men and women in the context of certification are very clear. Someone might come up to me and say, “Why not sign this card?” and present one side of the argument to me. I might say, “Sure, that sounds like a good idea”, but I might feel differently if I were presented with counter-arguments. Having that process of deliberation ensures that people have time to think through an act according to their interests.
I think these are some key reasons why a secret ballot is important in this context and in all contexts.
Here are the principal arguments we hear against the secret ballot, specifically in the context of certification. People on the other side say that a secret ballot remains an option here, but it is just not required. All these arguments about the importance of a secret ballot indicate why a secret ballot should be guaranteed. People should have the certainty of knowing that their privacy will be protected.
If we said that, in the next general election, there would be secret ballots in some ridings but not in others, I think we would say that was insufficient, that there should be a guarantee of respect for individuals' privacy when they cast their ballots.
Certainly the possibility of employer intimidation and an imbalance in the workplace is raised from time to time. Certainly, though, there is no serious possibility of intimidation against individual voters who keep their perspectives quiet and vote in a secret ballot.
There is always the risk of intimidation against organizers of a certification drive, and I would acknowledge that; but of course the possibility of intimidation in that case exists regardless of whether or not there is a secret ballot, because for somebody who is organizing, whether it is in the context of a card check or in the context of a secret ballot, there is still the possibility of intimidation there.
Further, we are dealing with the government. The likelihood of the government exerting employer-type intimidation is very unlikely.
For these reasons, we see the value of the bill, and we support it going to the committee. However, we hope the government will also see the value of the secret ballot.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure today to rise in the House to debate Bill .
I will start by thanking the RCMP members in my riding of Cariboo—Prince George, and I thank as well my hon. colleague from for his 35 years of service.
I would like it to be on the record that I was an RCMP brat. My stepfather served in the RCMP, which meant that I saw many of the small communities from the tip to the tail of British Columbia.
Our RCMP members are moms, dads, sisters, and brothers. They are volunteers in their communities. They coach minor sports, work with charities, and contribute to the health and wellness of our communities, and not just when they have the uniform on, but every day.
The men and women of the force put their uniforms on and go to work every day knowing full well that they will experience human tragedy. They know full well that their lives may be placed in danger just so that we and our families can sleep well at night. They are our silent sentinels.
The legend of the Mountie is well known: always getting their man, Dudley Do-Right, and my favourite superhero, Captain Canuck, who by day is a mild-mannered RCMP officer and by night fights evildoers.
The red serge and the campaign hat are representatives of our proud country. Core values of integrity, honesty, professionalism, respect, and accountability were exemplified by the first 150 recruits to our force back in 1873 and are now carried by the 28,461 current members of the force.
As I said earlier, my stepfather was in the RCMP. He told me long ago that it was not because of the great wage at the time but because of the pride and respect associated with the force.
The musical ride is internationally recognized. I have travelled with Mounties from coast to coast and overseas in representing Canada, and I can say that the lineups to get photos with the Mounties were always the longest at every event.
However, today our forces, all 28,461, are at capacity. There is a 30% disparity with their unionized counterparts. They are facing increasingly challenging times.
An average citizen may expect or experience one to two traumatic events in a lifetime, whereas a police officer may experience 600 to 900 traumatic events over the course of his or her career. A recent study shows that over the course of a 20-year career, a member of our police forces will face over 900 traumatic incidents.
Over 30% of our police officers suffer from PTSD. We need to break the stigma. We need to give our men and women the confidence that they can come forward and report issues, whether it be harassment or PTSD. We need to give them the confidence that they can ask for help. As well, we need to give the organization, management, and families the resources for training so that we do not unnecessarily lose another life.
We are here to talk about Bill and about a secret ballot. We are here to talk about allowing those who put their lives in danger every day the democratic right to a secret ballot without fear of intimidation or reprisal. Regardless of what labour policy reads, as my hon. colleague from across the way has said, fear and intimidation happen. Whether it is in our RCMP force, police forces, firefighters, or regular everyday workforces, fear and intimidation of some sort does happen. Harassment and intimidation take place.
Our Conservative stance is that we support the Supreme Court decision and stand with our men and women on the front line. However, we believe those who risk their lives every day deserve the democratic right to vote free of intimidation and reprisal.
Over the last couple of days, I have been accused of being against unions and our front-line members. This could not be further from the truth. Over my time, I have belonged to five unions. I believe they have a right to exist in today's work environment. I also believe that my bill, Bill , calling for a national framework to deal with PTSD for our first responders, RCMP members, veterans, corrections officers, and firefighters, speaks for itself and to my belief and stance in support of those who put their lives in danger every day.
Communities in my riding are facing increased policing costs. They are struggling to be able to fund our police forces appropriately. Whether it is overtime due to illness, injury, or lack of resources, meaning members, we are struggling.
Just in my community of Williams Lake, to the south of Prince George, we have an ongoing issue with gang violence. Just last night, I was meeting with on this issue. Just one tactic to combat this issue that we face, asking for three additional officers, would mean a tax hike of 2% on an economy that is already stressed, on a mayor, on a council, and a town facing challenging times already, and gripped with fear of the increasingly violent activities of these gangs.
We need to give appropriate resources for our police forces, for our front-line members, for our management. We need to be able to give them the opportunity to vote free of fear of reprisal. Amending Bill to allow for the democratic right to a vote is the right thing to do. The responsible thing to do is to consult with the municipalities that ultimately bear the costs of policing, so that the resources necessary to fulfill the agreements that are there, either for unionized forces or under negotiation, are in place. Giving the resources for our communities, giving the resources for our management and our police force, is the right thing to do.
However, we face challenging times. We have a government that does not believe that giving a democratic vote or voice to those who put their lives in danger is the right thing to do.
I will not be supporting this bill, but I do hope that it can get to committee so the government can do the right thing.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise here today to discuss Bill , which would give RCMP members, at long last, the right to collective bargaining. Many speakers before me have talked about how the RCMP is an important and even iconic police force, underlying how critical this discussion is.
As a member from British Columbia, I am grateful for the dedicated work of the RCMP in protecting citizens across most of our province, and indeed across the country. Over the past months, I have met with members from RCMP detachments across my riding to discuss local issues and this issue of collective bargaining.
I also recently attended a public information meeting organized by the RCMP in Oliver, B.C., to discuss public safety, and I was impressed by the respectful and meaningful discussions that community members had with local RCMP members. We need to retain and nurture that mutual respect between the community and the RCMP.
I heard the member for lament that the RCMP had slipped in its rankings across the country. We would all like to see that ranking improve. While I thank him for that service and respect his thoughts on collective bargaining, I think that Bill will be a step in the right direction for that new and better future for the RCMP.
I am pleased to support the bill at second reading, a bill that gives RCMP members the same rights that are enjoyed by all other police forces in Canada. As we have heard, the bill is the government response to a Supreme Court ruling that struck down laws that have prohibited RCMP members from bargaining collectively. Given the court-imposed deadline, the NDP will support the bill, but we are looking for some important amendments at committee.
The Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada advocates for workplace issues on behalf of its members. In a recent press release, that association stated that “this bill is flawed by removing vital matters from the bargaining table such as disciplinary measures and allocation of resources”.
It is critical that the new collective bargaining regime that RCMP members will work under will include more than the ability to negotiate pay and benefits. Workplace safety, staffing, harassment, and discipline issues are often more important for a properly functioning organization than pay alone. I am reminded of the decade-long dispute between the British Columbia government and the BC Teachers' Federation, which revolved primarily around issues of class size.
We have all heard numerous reports of harassment in the RCMP workplaces over the past number of years. I cannot see how excluding procedures to deal with harassment in collective bargaining will improve the workplace conditions experienced by RCMP members. These are very serious situations and must be dealt with promptly and fairly. The procedure for doing that would be best created under a collective bargaining system.
While for most of my life I have lived in areas where the RCMP provides public safety services, I have also lived in Vancouver and Newfoundland for considerable periods. I can honestly say that the police forces there function very well under a collective bargaining regime. I have to ask how submitting discipline procedures or concerns about workplace safety to a collective bargaining process would undermine the neutrality or stability of the RCMP.
We were reminded of how important workplace safety issues are only yesterday, when a young man died on a work site here in downtown Ottawa. While policing safety issues are clearly different, they are nonetheless critical to the lives of RCMP members across the country, particularly in more rural areas where RCMP members often work alone. Why are staffing measures explicitly excluded from the collective bargaining system offered to the RCMP in the bill?
Since collective bargaining agreements would go to arbitration if agreements cannot be made directly, RCMP management should be able to make arguments to the arbitrator if they feel demands by members would create situations that would undermine the reliability of the RCMP in any way.
The Supreme Court decision stated that limits on collective bargaining would be acceptable if they were reasonable and justified. However, other police forces all include workplace safety and discipline issues in their collective bargaining agreements, so it is a mystery why they would not be acceptable and appropriate for collective bargaining within the RCMP.
To conclude, I would just reiterate my position that I support this bill. I recognize that it was perhaps prepared hurriedly to meet the Supreme Court deadline of May 16; so I hope the government will consider important changes to this bill in committee to ensure that, namely, issues of staffing, deployment, harassment, and discipline are included in the collective bargaining system for the RCMP that would be created by this bill.
I would like to finish by wishing everybody here in this House a happy Easter and safe travels home to their families.