I watched the debate on television last week as MPs sat late so the Conservatives could push through Bill C-39, Restoring Rail Service Act. It wasn't just the fact that the Stephen Harper Anti-Labour machine was being rolled out again that bothered me. But more so, I was appalled by the childish behaviour of the Conservative MPs who sat in their chairs, laughing, making jokes and throwing out disrespectful comments while MPs across the floor stood to make their arguments in support for the workers affected by this bill. Opposition MP after Opposition MP rose one by one to denounce this bill and point out that this act is not simply returning workers to their jobs – this is once again, a deliberate move by this government to interfere in the workers' ability to negotiate with their employer. The negotiations of course, being a two-way exchange rather than a forced arbitrator to determine the outcome. The CP workers were fighting for pension changes and much-needed improvements to their health and safety. Instead, the government has stepped in to protect the employer and force an arbitration process. The arbitrator however, is not even one that can be challenged by either side – it is an arbitrator chosen at the discretion of the labour minister. So while opposition MPs rose on behalf of workers across the country, they were met by sarcasm, jokes and disrespect. The disrespect displayed during this debate, was not just toward those opposing the bill, but to every worker impacted by yet another move by this government to interfere in the collective bargaining process.
Mr. Blake Richards, as our MP, I ask you to share this with your colleagues in the House. You're paid good money to represent Canadians. Regardless of your beliefs on the Bill C-39 argument, you have a serious job to do, as you're playing with lives of hard-working people and their families. For the Conservative MPs who sat smirking and joking during this debate, I'm disgusted by their behaviour. Not only has the Conservative government once again turned their collective back on the workers and their families, under the guise of “protecting Canadian jobs”, but you've poorly represented Canadian interests by the childish and unprofessional behaviour that night.
Robert L. Clarke