Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 (Bill C-4)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, we again find ourselves with another omnibus budget bill, the second one which the current administration of the government claims to be related to the budget of 2012. Yet there are many provisions, one in particular, that could not possibly be related to the budget. That is the change to the Supreme Court Act because the difficulty encountered with the appointment of Mr. Justice Nadon only occurred after the Conservatives put forward the budget, so that makes a mockery of the idea that this is a budgetary matter.

However, certainly there are the changes to the Canada Labour Code, as my friend referenced, the systematic attempt to attack fundamental collective bargaining rights and labour rights. I am troubled by what the impact would be on the individual worker, and every worker has the right to refuse dangerous work. The definition of “danger” has been quite watered down and would no longer, for instance, protect the worker from exposure to a threat that could create a chronic health hazard or a threat to reproductive health.

Does my friend have any comments on that?

Rodger Cuzner: Mr. Speaker, we should not be surprised, but nonetheless every now and then the Conservatives throw one at us and we wonder what they are thinking, as is certainly the one with the Supreme Court reference in it.

In our country, our system is based on three pillars: judicial, administrative and legislative. For the Conservatives to take the highest court in the land and to tweak something that impacts on that court through a budget bill is a first, I am sure. I am sure many are amazed at that particular one.

I do not know the answer to that direct question, though. If the Conservatives pick these fights through these omnibus bills to divert Canadians’ attention away from some of the scandals that are going on, such as members of their caucus being charged by Elections Canada or what is going on in the Senate, we opposition members, including I am sure my colleagues in the NDP, would say to break those bills out from the omnibus bill and let us have a discussion. If the planets line up, maybe they could even take some kind of an amendment to improve the legislation. That would be a rare day. I would go out and buy Insta Piks that day because the planets would be aligned.