Election rumors are ringing out everywhere. However, many of you confirm what I expected: the desire for an election is very low. Contrariwise, you do not understand the ambitions of Justin Trudeau as we are still coming out of the pandemic, as forest fires are forcing emergency evacuations in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.
For my part, what I fear right now is that an early election called by Justin Trudeau would be equivalent to killing the bill I am bringing on behalf of workers on sick leave. The ambition is to increase special EI benefits from 15 to 50 weeks for workers who have nothing other than the EI program to support them in their fight against illness. As of now, workers are entitled to only 15 weeks of support to fight cancer, for example. It is shameful.
An election results in the annulment of all bills under consideration. In other words, you have to start the whole process all over again.
It is since February 2020 that with my colleagues from the Bloc Québécois, we have been actively leading the care for workers on sick leave. A motion was adopted in the House of Commons, my bill was presented, seconded, studied and then adopted in parliamentary committee. It’s a long process. We are finally on the eve of the final vote, scheduled for the fall. It is therefore more than a year and a half of effort that would be scrapped by Justin Trudeau’s electoral ambitions.
I appeal to Prime Minister Trudeau’s sense of responsibility. Workers deserve to be able to heal with dignity. In fact, I once again call on Mr. Trudeau and his party to call on the majority of MPs in favor of my bill. So far, the Liberals have voted against the suggested 50 weeks. I find it hard to understand how they can isolate themselves on this measure, yet full of compassion and aimed at the most vulnerable.
For the Liberals, there is still time to change their position and be on the side of the workers on sick leave.
The summer elections are simply unwanted. Above all, they would be harmful to the advancement of the cause of workers on sick leave. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won a minority mandate in 2019: acting as such.
If the Liberals call citizens to the polls, I will be ready to remind them that they are abandoning workers on sick leave. And if I have to and I still get your trust, I will do the work again to finally get what is right for our workers.
Member of Parliament for Salaberry-Suroît