Hon: LIONEL CHEVRIER (Minister of Transport): Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. The Montreal Gazette of this morning carries a Canadian Press dispatch concerning the introduction of Bill 254, to amend the Canadian National - Canadian Pacific Act, 1933, which gives the impression that the proposed amendment is to permit the federal government to invade the provincial field in regard to the labour relations of the railways.
The purpose of the bill is to give the federal government jurisdiction over rates of pay, hours of work and working conditions of the employees of the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways. Parliament has exclusive jurisdiction over these railways, and the object of the bill is to occupy the field in so far as labour relations of their employees are concerned. The government considers it is now time for parliament to exercise its jurisdiction by legislating in the field of labour relations as affecting the construction, operation or maintenance of these railways.