Machinists have become a household name amongst Canada’s Parliamentarians in Ottawa. We conducted intense lobbying in three sessions:
The first occurred in April when the Machinists brought the largest delegation to a Canadian Labour Congress Lobby on the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Canada Pension Plan and the health threats posed by asbestos.
The results were significant because the government has recently announced improvements to the Canada Pension Plan, it wasn’t what we wanted but it shows we had an impact.
We had similar success with banning asbestos. Although mining and exporting of asbestos has been banned in Canada since 2012, the country continues to import it in huge quantities. The government has just announced a ban on importing asbestos.
Only on the TPP did we not get the desired result. We found many MPs we lobbied were not well versed in the controversial agreement but towed the party line and supported the agreement. However this may become moot if the United States does not sign and there is every indication that no matter who wins the presidential election in November, they won’t sign the TPP.
In early May we were back in Ottawa as 21 Machinists lobbied members of the federal House Transportation Committee on Bill C-10, the amendments to the Air Canada Public Participation Act. Not only did we lobby, we also testified in front of the Committee. IAM Transportation District 140 President Fred Hospes and Quebec Coordinator David Chartrand presented several amendments to the bill so that the aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul – MRO industry in Canada would be protected. Our profile was raised but our recommendations went unheeded and Bill C-10 passed third reading and went to the senate without amendments for approval.
We were not discouraged: Machinists kept on fighting: we came back to Ottawa in Mid-June to lobby the Senate Transportation Committee on Bill C-10. We sought amendments to the Act to force Air Canada to conduct its aircraft heavy maintenance in Canada. We also demanded the Act include commitments from Air Canada in writing concerning the establishment of Centre of Excellence for the overhaul of the new Bombardier C Series aircraft it was purchasing. We encouraged the committee to adopt these amendments for the future of the MRO industry in Canada and aircraft maintenance in general. We did our best to show that highly skilled Canadian jobs are at stake. The senate like the house adopted the Bill without amendments.
The IAM will be back in Ottawa and need more of our members to join us. We’re more determined than ever to make positive change for working people in Canada!