July 5, 1972

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

Hurry up, then.

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PC

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alexander:

I hear a comment from the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent). He may not get an opportunity to speak tonight. But let us keep in mind that even if the longshoremen go back to work, it will take about a month to get these ports moving again. Until then, I hear that the employees will have lost some $12.5 million in salary and that the damage and loss of income to the

July 5, 1972

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

ports, according to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, will be incalculable. So let us put the show on the road again, and quickly.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS
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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Lewis (York South):

Mr. Speaker, may I begin my remarks by informing you, Sir, and the minister, who I am sorry has had to leave the House, that as far as my colleagues and I are concerned we intend to support the principle of this bill, though it is my intention to draw to the minister's attention one part of it which in my view needs careful consideration. I had not intended to speak very long and I still do not since the issues seem to me to be very clear.

I want to say to my good friend-I hope we will still be friends-the hon. member for Hamilton West (Mr. Alexander) that I have listened to him make speeches on labour relations on a good number of occasions, including the speech he made today, but his studied attempt to be in both camps at the same time is not going to stand him or his party in very good stead. He is invariably talking about the rights of management, as he did in this case, and says he is in favour of the rights of labour. But he then proceeds to make a speech that obviously condemns labour and strikes, and says he wants the government to intervene without defining when he wants it to intervene. As far as I am concerned, he left the implication that the government ought to intervene on the first day of any strike which he decides is against the public interest.

As a matter of fact, every one of the hon. member's amendments to the labour code dealing with technological change was an attempt to weaken the provisions put before the House, provisions that were not very strong. I do not think it serves the interests of labour and management, nor does it serve the public interest, to make the kind of statements on both sides of the issue in this case, as well as in other cases, that I listened to a few moments ago.

The hon. member for Hamilton West resented an interjection that I made. He said that he did not know there was a clause in the collective agreement providing that, pending the arbitration procedure, everyone has to obey the collective agreement. I simply said to him that this is in every collective agreement, merely informing him that those who are acquainted with labour relations do not even have to see the particular clause. Not only is it in every collective agreement, it is in the law of Canada and in every act dealing with labour relations in this country. So there was not any problem about that particular situation.

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PC

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alexander:

Just get on with the bill.

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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

That is what I wish the hon. member had done. He did not come to the bill until he had fumed and fumigated for about half an hour. I support this bill because both the employers and the union concerned left Parliament no alternative but to act. In my opinion both the employers and the unions in this case acted in a thoroughly indefensible way, a way that it is not possible for me to support even though the members of this House know my general support for labour, trade unionism, and indeed for strikes when they become unavoidable in negotiations between parties.

However, I make no qualification of my statement that the unions in this case acted not only against their own interests in the ports of Montreal, Quebec and Trois-Rivieres but against the interests of labour and trade unionism in this country. They have aroused objections in the minds of the ordinary people of Canada which responsible union leadership ought not to have aroused.

It is impossible to have a labour relations regime if one party to a collective agreement can say, for example, that it rejects an arbitrator's award. Let me remind my friends in the International Longshoremen's Association-years ago before I was elected to Parliament I acted for that association in Toronto and Hamilton and I have known them for a long time-that if it is possible for them to refuse to accept the award of an arbitrator, when the award goes against them, they are setting a precedent for the employer to refuse to accept the award of an arbitrator when it goes against the employer. Along that road lies chaos in labour relations; along that road lies the destruction of the collective bargaining process. No labour organization in this country has the right to endanger and to jeopardize the collective bargaining process and the power of a collective agreement in this way.

Even though it were legally indefensible, I can still appreciate the employees going on an illegal walkout since at the start the employers committed an act that they ought to have known would provoke an unlawful strike. That is why I said that the employers were guilty of irresponsible behaviour in this case. You do not have to be a genius or be required to know the operations on the waterfront, even as intimately as I learned them during years of working with the International Longshoremen, to know perfectly well that when an employer takes the step of reducing the gangs and ordering people to work elsewhere than they expected to work, in the knowledge that the union did not believe that such right existed at the time, the employer is provoking a stoppage of work. The employer in this case was utterly irresponsible in taking that step, in the full knowledge that the reaction inevitably would be the employees downing tools and walking out.

I think the unions fell into a trap. I have known many cases where an employer provokes a situation in order to reduce the benefits provided by a collective agreement that he had signed. The unions fell into that trap which was set for them. The changing of the gang, knowing that would result in a stoppage of work, was deliberate because the employers began to fear the job security provisions they had agreed to, and this is frequently the case. The unions fell into that trap with the result that we now have legislation under which the job security plan will again be looked at by the arbitrator even though the employees thought they had an agreement last April.

It was a great mistake to fall into that trap. I can appreciate the workers going out on strike at that moment when they felt the collective agreement was being ignored and destroyed and that going through grievance procedures would cause delays, with fears about what the arbitrator might or might not say. I can appreciate that, but as a Canadian and as a Member of Parliament I cannot agree with that strike being continued for eight weeks.

In this connection I cannot agree with the minister when he said throughout that he could not intervene as long as the law was being broken and wanted the law obeyed before he did so. I suggest to the Minister of Labour (Mr. O'Connell)-I am sorry I say this in his absence-that that is not a very profound remark. The situation after Judge Gold's award was no different from the situation before. The minister was in no more of a moral situation to intervene after Judge Gold's award came down than he was before. This is sheer nonsense on his part. He was simply sitting and hoping that the situation would improve without his having to intervene. I think he was wrong and I do not think he ought ever to do it again.

When the Minister of Labour sees a difficult situation, and he did not require very much to see that this was difficult and the strike is in danger of being dragged on much longer, then he ought not to hide behind some kind of legalism. He ought to have sent his deputy minister and others mediators in his department down to Montreal after three or four weeks of the strike to see what they could do. I suspect the situation would have been much easier to deal with then.

This is where the mistake of the minister comes in. This is where his behaviour is really attackable and cannot be defended. Four or five weeks ago the situation would have been much easier. Losses to the ports would not have been as great. The problem of creating the funds to meet the job security provisions of the agreement would not have been as great, and losses to management would have been less. The whole problem would have been very much easier to solve three or four weeks after the strike began instead of eight weeks later when everything is bitter and has soured and when losses to the ports, the employees and management have grown to very large proportions.

I think the criticism of the hon. member for Hamilton West in that connection is directly justified. The minister would have been much better off and certainly the situation in Montreal much more sensible and in the interest of Canada if the minister had intervened earlier; I do not mean by legislation but by sending his people down to seek a settlement four weeks ago and if that did not work, going himself to Montreal. I indicated this in a question I asked him a couple of weeks ago, suggesting that he should have gone with the authority of the Minister of Labour seeking a settlement. It would have been much easier to do so, particularly with regard to job security, long before the losses which have taken place did take place.

I believe it is important to underline that strikes in large areas and in large industries are no longer matters which concern only those directly affected, and even for those that are directly affected it is necessary to consider pretty carefully what the situation is and what the consequences will be. It is necessary to underline, and I believe this with all my heart, that the right to strike is a necessary right in a democratic society.

It is important, also, to underline that because people have the right does not necessarily mean they should exercise it without consideration for the public well-being and without consideration for their own future and the future of the industry they serve. That goes double as far

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

as I am concerned for the kind of work stoppage which is contrary both to the collective agreement and the law. It does not make sense to break a collective agreement, at least for as long as has been the case here. I say that because sometimes you have a stoppage out of frustration, anger and a feeling you have been let down and it can be appreciated that this happens if it lasts a limited and reasonable length of time. When it goes on doggedly and obstinately for as long as it has in this case, I say the action is not defensible on the part of the union and its members and that legislation which is now before us, or some legislation, was both inevitable and necessary.

Because I get a little fed up by statements frequently made about union bosses doing things, I also want to underline that it was not the union bosses in this case but the membership of those unions that voted. This is the case in many situations. This is why I repeat my condemnation of the employers who knew what the waterfront is like and knew what they did in breaking up the gangs would necessarily provoke a strike. They ought not to have done this in the way in which it was done.

I think the minister ought to look carefully at one part of the principle of this bill, and that is the power it gives the arbitrator under clause 7. I mention it now in the hope that he will consider it. What he does in clause 7 is give the arbitrator two powers. One is to set out when the job security plan may come into effect. Contrary to the suggestion of the hon. member for Hamilton West, I agree that the minister ought not to have included that date in the bill. The minister gave one reason, namely, that he did not want to carry on negotiations through this bill.

I should like to give another reason, which is that the union has already rejected the October 15 date suggested by Mr. Wilson and Mr. Kelly of the labour department, and it would have been the height of provocation for this Parliament to pass into law a date which had already been considered by the parties and rejected by one of them. The minister was right, for both reasons, not to have included the date in clause 7 but to leave it to arbitration. [DOT]

The arbitration award of Judge Gold, as I understand it, was an award made in a sense in the absence of the union. The union spokesmen were there merely to argue that the matters referred to the arbitrator were not arbitrable. After that, the lawyers for the union sat through the proceedings not opening their mouths, without saying a word, without examining the witnesses, producing evidence or producing arguments. That is my information. If I am correct, then despite the reputation of Judge Gold, which I am sure is fully justified, I would not be terribly impressed by an award which is made on the evidence and argument presented by only one side to the dispute.

It is conceivable that if the other side had produced evidence and argument the judge might have been influenced to go in another direction. I do not know that, but the fact is that his award was based on the evidence and arguments presented by only the management side to the dispute. The union, for reasons of its own, which I find unacceptable, decided not to participate in the arbitration.

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

So, I would not rely on an award of an arbitrator given in those circumstances. I think the minister was right in not putting the date into the law, both because it is not Parliament's job to make that kind of a decision and because the union had already rejected that date and ought to have an opportunity to present to the arbitrator its reasons and arguments for another date, whatever the date may be. On behalf of my colleagues and myself I express agreement with the approach taken in clause 7 on this point. But in addition to giving the arbitrator the power to set the date for applying the job security plans, this bill also gives the arbitrator authority to modify the plan and the wording for that authority is so wide that the arbitrator, as I read it and I am sure I am not making an error, is given authority to change the entire ambit of the plan not only in respect of the date and not only in respect of those things which affect the date but also in respect of the entire plan. I do not see any need for this.

I ask the minister, as earnestly as I can, that Parliament not be asked to do this and that he give some thought overnight to changing that. I have made pretty careful inquiries and I understand that during the negotiation, and during the mediation proceedings, management, the MEA, made clear, so far as the next two years of the agreement are concerned, 1973 and 1974, that at this stage they see no reason the job security plan should not function in its totality in those two years, assuming of course that there is not another stoppage of work of the kind we have had. If that is so, I see no reason why the arbitrator be given authority under this bill to do violence to the agreement of the parties in 1973 and 1974. I see no reason that clause 7 of the bill could not be amended when we get to the committee stage,-I mention this now so that the minister may consider it-so that the arbitrator is not given that power for 1973 and 1974. The clause could, as I say, suggest he has the power of modification in respect of the date and matters relating to it, but has not the power of modification of the plans as they apply to the years 1973 and 1974.

I say to the minister that my suggestion to him is all the more valid and should be given all the more consideration because of clause 8 of this bill which, if I read it correctly and I have read it several times, gives the minister authority to send a dispute to arbitration under the collective agreement if management or the union fail to do so within a reasonable time. With that proviso, with the power in his hands to send any dispute to arbitration if the parties to the dispute do not do so, he is all the safer in accepting the suggestion I make to him. If something should erupt in 1973 with regard to the job security plan he would be in a position immediately to send the matter to arbitration if the parties did not do so. I, therefore, urge him as strongly as I can to limit the authority of the arbitrator which, under clause 7 as now worded, is far too wide and may cause difficulty in Montreal in respect of the law he is asking us to pass. It is unnecessary for the purpose he wants to serve.

I said, Mr. Speaker, that I would not speak for long and I have come to the end of my remarks because, like every other member of Parliament and I am no more righteous about it than anyone else, I want to see this law passed as

quickly as possible. But the passage of this law by Parliament will not end the problem. Let us be frank. After all both parties to the dispute in Montreal, Quebec and Trois-Rivieres have ignored the law until now. If they had obeyed the law as now on the statute books, either party would have referred the dispute to arbitration long ago as the law required them to do. They were required to do this not only by the collective agreement but also by the Canada Labour Code. They have, therefore, ignored the law until now. The mere passage of this legislation will not necessarily end the matter unless the employers, the unions and the employees are ready to obey the law passed by this Parliament. Without any presumption I hope, Mr. Speaker, I just wish to add my voice as one Member of Parliament, and in the position of leader of my party, in an appeal to the people involved in Montreal, Quebec and Trois-Rivieres.

I suspect Parliament will act unanimously so far as the principle of this bill is concerned. From what I have heard from the hon. member for Hamilton West (Mr. Alexander) his party will support it. You have heard from me, Mr. Speaker, that my party will support it and I would be very surprised if the Social Credit party did not. I say to the management, the union and the longshoremen involved that it is a great pity Parliament had to act in this case. With all my heart and soul I detest laws which order people to return to work. In the common law, as members of this House who are lawyers know, there is one injunction under the law of equity in our system of law which the courts would not grant. This is an injunction ordering someone to go back into service. Other injunctions have been granted but not an injunction such as this for many centuries. The refusal to grant an injunction ordering people back to work was based on a very valid doctrine that human beings should be free to work or not to work under some of the conditions which they do not like, and that the law should not descend on them and say that whether they like it or not they must return to work. Therefore, I detest with all my heart and soul any law which orders people back to work.

Work is not so pleasant on the waterfront. Being a stevedore is not so imaginative and creative that people ought to be ordered back to work. I appeal to the men involved in this case that Parliament does not act lightly in these situations. Certainly, my colleagues and I do not lightly support a bill to order people back to work. However, we are obliged to do so, not only in the interests of Canada as a whole but also in their own interests, in the interests of decent collective bargaining and decent labour relations and in order to end a situation which has lasted far too long, for eight weeks now. Through this House I appeal to them that they have a duty to themselves, to the labour movement and to Canada to obey this law when passed, to appear before the arbitrator and make the best case they can. I hope they will succeed in getting the best deal out of the arbitrator that their case and the facts of the situation deserve.

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LIB

Russell Clayton Honey (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is the minister rising on a point of order?

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Mr. Speaker, I was rising to validate certain intimations I received earlier that possibly mem-

July 5, 1972

bers would agree to sitting at eight o'clock to deal with the second reading of this bill.

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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

And only with that.

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

That is understood. During the evening sitting we can determine how long we want to sit.

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LIB

Russell Clayton Honey (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is there unanimous consent that the House resume its sitting at eight o'clock?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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LIB

Russell Clayton Honey (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

It is agreed and so ordered. It being six o'clock I leave the Chair.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

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AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 8 p.m.


SC

Charles-Eugène Dionne

Social Credit

Mr. Charles-Eugene Dionne (Kamouraska):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened as closely as I could to the summary of the events which the minister of Labour has outlined for the benefit of this House and which warrant the approach required from him in these circumstances.

I am not sure that it must be assumed that his reserve of patience has been exhausted, but it is normal to appreciate that this strike has lasted long enough already, and that the appropriate steps must be taken so that work may resume in these Quebec ports.

I have in hand a statement made by the former premier of Ontario, Mr. Robarts, in an address to the members of the Empire Club, and reported in the April 22, 1972, issue of Le Soleil, and I quote:

You merely have to look at what is taking place in Quebec and in Toronto to realize the extent to which strikes are used to dismantle the whole society.

He pointed out how Quebec and Toronto civil servants use strikes as a weapon to keep society as a hostage.

That is quite serious!

Something very special happened in the longshoremen's strike: a collective agreement was signed, setting forth the working conditions, salaries and other fringe benefits. Finally, the agreement turned into a disagreement.

I have already mentioned in this House that the complex labour legislation now in force contributed to creating a type of professional deformation particular to negotiators, regardless of which side of the table they sit on. In fact, they keep polishing the same old clauses instead of inventing new ones. Both sides quibble about commas, at the risk of overlooking the fundamental objective of the collective agreement which is to make relations between employer and employee more human.

In La Presse of Saturday, July 1,1972, we could read the following comments made by a spokesman for the longshoremen group to the effect that the executive had not caught on and I quote:

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

A well-organized group of dissidents have published a manifesto accusing the executive of dishonesty, mismanagement and incompetence and demanding the resignation of all labour officials in addition to insisting upon an immediate return to work.

The spokesman for the group, Mr. Yves Dufour, who named some 20 signatories to the document has stated that the 7-week strike was due to a wrong interpretation of the collective agreement.

Mr. Dufour said that the union executive failed to understand the collective agreement and wrongly interpreted it. Our problem is due to the fact that the executive is incompetent.

He was evidently referring to the union executive.

This statement proves that there is an atmosphere of complications, and concerning collective agreements, they are trying to live with a labour legislation which, I repeat, is much too complicated for workers. Changes should necessarily be brought in this field.

I should like now to make a very short quotation which applies perhaps to another field but demonstrates very well the complications in the legislative area. This is an article published in La Presse of Tuesday, June 20, 1972, and I quote:

The President of the Treasury Board has suggested that "in the past, the (federal) cabinet has perhaps relied too much on the advice of experts (technocrats) and in so doing, to a certain extent it (the cabinet) has begun to lose touch with the public."

And this comes from a cabinet minister!

So, we see that in negotiations-and this is what happened concerning the longshoremen-there seems to be a grudge somewhere. In fact, it seems that union representatives do not get the support of all their members. And I ask hon. members to believe that I am well-disposed toward unions, having worked in the labour movement for 10 years, which means that I am a union member, but not a striker as there is a significant difference between the two. I cannot help but see that sometimes, some union officials, out of pride and in order to try and settle some petty personal scores, bring a whole team of workers to strike.

Considering the circumstances, this still seems somewhat in the limelight. In fact, the newspaper La Presse reports as follows:

While quoting as an example the Picard Act, Mr. Saint-Onge-

-and as people know, he is the union representative, authorized to make decisions-

-added that the government perhaps would decide "to knock them down with some legislation."

He is in the right mood to face the implementation of legislation!

Further on, one can read this:

As for calling a strike on May 17 last, Mr. Saint-Onge said that "perhaps it was a mistake, but last year the employers had thousands of times violated the collective agreement and never had the longshoremen taken revenge as their employers are doing at the present time."

So, revenge would be involved. Though this is stupid, it remains that we are faced with a fact, that somebody wants to take revenge because someone, at a given time, took a position which seemed inconsistent with reality, perhaps inconsistent with the spirit of the agreement. But should thousands of workers bear the brunt of a personal revenge? So I say that in matters of bargaining between

July 5, 1972

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

employees and employers, of necessity we must have more flexible and clearer legislation making understanding easier.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that if the majority of the workers could express themselves freely, they would vote for going back to work. But we know more or less what happens during some meetings; people are afraid to be considered as scabs and vote with the majority. There again, labour law should specify in what way a free vote strike should be taken at a union meeting.

As for the strike, I would like to quote an article published in the Gazette of April 12 last. An hon. senator found that this article gave a good description of the situation since he had it recorded in the Senate proceedings. And I quote:

An editorial in the Montreal Gazette of April 12 of this year illustrates very well the feeling of many people regarding strikes. Part of it states:

A strike is similar in some respects to war. It may be just,

although a just strike is as hard to define as a just war. It is a

question of causes, objectives and alternatives.

This afternoon, I heard an hon. member-and I would not criticize his statements, since I generally agree with him-speak about the strike. In my opinion, the right to live has priority over the right to strike. I have suggested this idea and it is quite easy to understand; certainly most hon. members will admit that it is more important to give the people the right to live before the right to strike.

Perhaps the legislation about certain rights has been adopted too quickly. Again I repeat what I am not afraid to say under any circumstances: the legislating function has been carried out much more under the fear of an impending election than in the citizens' interests.

Again, I say that the right to live for all is a natural right. This right should be recognized long before the right to strike or the right to make exaggerated profits, and appropriate measures should be taken by those responsible for legislation to ensure to all first the right to live. We should have enough foresight to plan a sensible distribution system for goods available without having to resort to strikes when most people want to work.

I understand that it is not always easy to strike proper balance between justified claims and the demands of the public weal. However, labour legislation must have that objective in view because of the deplorable incidents which have occurred in the field of labour-management relations. Amendments and legislation are required as soon as possible for the general welfare of the nation.

Obviously we endorse the bill now under discussion because it is a solution under the present circumstances. But I maintain that generally our labour legislation is too complicated. Right now we are even eager to see the bill passed so that all port workers might return to work.

Like the previous speaker I ask all these workers to seriously consider the present situation, to take into account all the losses they sustained and caused to a great many other Canadian citizens. These strikers have lost millions in salaries and contributed to the disruption of business in Canada. This strike could have been averted.

For ten years, I have worked in union organizations. My leader was a representative of the Brotherhood in Canada and he never taught us how to go on strike. For ten years, we have negotiated collective agreements with some fifteen lumbering companies, mostly on the North Shore, namely the Canadian International Paper Company, the Anglo Canadian Pulp and Paper Mills Limited, Donahue Brothers Limited and the Quebec North Shore Paper Company, in three operational districts, and these ten years of union work have gone by without a single strike. It is possible to find solutions, but the legislation must enable it.

We are living in such an unbalance system that people come to the conclusion that the only way to solve their grievances is to go on strike. And yet, we must logically admit that all that has been achieved in this world is the result of hard labour. Nobody can deny it. How is it that thousands of workers come to believe that the only means of solving their problems lies in work stoppage? That is a nonsense.

Failing to conclude that strikes are most of the time brought about by demands for salary readjustments or increases would reveal a lack of imagination or a refusal to face the disastrous consequences of a financial system at odds with the present economic situation. Why? It is easy to give a precise answer. Successive salary increases fail to catch up with the ever increasing cost of living. In fact, I might be permitted to use an expression which is well in line with the situation, and say that salaries are going up the stairs whereas prices of goods are going up in the elevator.

We are witnessing a transformation period and I hear a lot about technological changes. Collective agreements mention the fact that we are going through a period of transformation of our means of production. Machines are replacing men in an unheard of proportion. This heavily laden change through automation has become a nightmare for thousands of workers under our present system. Why? Again, it is easy to give a precise answer. The working man is deprived of his wages because he is being replaced by machines. Through research, scientists are exploring methods of modernizing production with the application of improved techniques involving the replacement of men by machines.

At the same time, other scientists or rather those who think they are, are advocating full employment. One thing that is beyond any intelligent concept is that industry or employers, whoever they may be, are apparently being called upon to absorb all the costs of mechanization, as well as salary adjustments and all the grievances which are caused by an ailing financial system.

This is why I emphasize the fact that we must absolutely improve our labour legislation.

May I conclude by quoting a few extracts from an editorial published in today's La Presse. I found this editorialist so familiar with the problem and capable of expressing his point of view on what is going on now that I wish to put it on the record. First, he has found another name for this kind of disease that strike is and I admit I was slightly amused when I read the title: "'Strikulture' yields little profit". So, may I quote from this editorial by Guy Cormier:

July 5, 1972

In the long history of labour, there have been many necessary strikes.

I have already said that this was a necessary evil but that we should avoid spreading it.

But in 1972, one wonders whether in every case the game is still worth the candle. One of the "high priests" of American unionism, George Meany, pointed out recently that when conflicts are protracted, the financial burden on workers is incommensurate with the benefits they hope to achieve from the confrontation.

The prolonged strike by longshoremen at the St. Lawrence ports, occupies a choice place in the annals of the last uncertain battles. It is inordinate in length: 52 days. It is inordinate in its devastating effects as compared to the hypothetical benefits workers seek to obtain.

It is obvious that if workers themselves were to consider the situation in this light, public authorities would not have to intervene to order an immediate resumption of work.

Further on, the editorial says:

Losses incurred by workers have been estimated at $8 million and the prolonged idleness of the harbours for so many weeks has emptied the till. (It is known that a 65-cent tax is levied on the handling of every ton of cargo. This revenue is used to guarantee longshoremen an annual minimum income.)

As to the guarantee of this annual minimum income they are divesting themselves of it rather deliberately following decisions of some union officers who seem to me quite irresponsible.

As to the damage inflicted on the economy as a whole, it is incalculable. There was talk last week of a net loss of $40 million. The long term effects of this imbroglio will be further compounded by competitors' eagerness (Halifax, St.-John's, N.-B.) to take maximum advantage of the problems befalling our harour facilities.

Is there today any other alternative but a forced settlement through parliamentary action? Willy-nilly, one should acknowledge the facts and answer: no.

As I said a few moments ago and under the circumstances, my party supports this bill. We would like it to be passed without delay in order to bring to an end a situation that is disheartening to the strikers' families. I am convinced that several strikers' families are far from having what they wished, because they have been deprived of an income for too long already.

I hope this bill will be passed as soon as possible; I strongly and sincerely hope that all strikers will understand their role, consider the situation seriously and go back to work without waiting for all sorts of slow procedures to be implemented which do not always solve problems. Right now, they must decide to go back to work so that we do not have a situation such as the one that arose in connection with the employees of G. Lapalme Inc.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS
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PC

Georges-J. Valade

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Georges Valade (Sainte-Marie):

Mr. Speaker, I think that it is quite proper for me to take part in this debate, in order to state my views on the bill which I feel, as the Minister stated this afternoon, is another rather unfortunate precedent in the history of Canadian Parliament.

I am justified, I think, in taking part in this debate, since as you well remember, I introduced a motion in this House on June 16 last in which we told the Minister exactly what the situation was and what solution the government ought to choose to put an end to the long-

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

shoremen's strike on the St. Lawrence. The conditions have since remained unchanged. At that time, we told the Minister of Labour (Mr. O'Connell): "You have just one thing to do to settle that conflict: force the parties into arbitration or take suitable measures."

I remember very well that the time that discussion took place, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles), who spoke then on behalf of his party, had stated that he did not seem to understand the scope of the motion I had brought in, that it was not clear and that my findings or suggestions were not at all in keeping with reality, and that the ways and means we were suggesting to the minister were not those that the government should consider.

This afternoon-I think I must emphasize it, because I should like the NDP's to agree among themselves and tell the House on which side of the fence they stand-the NDP leader (Mr. Lewis), obviously contradicted the spokesman for his party who had taken the floor in this House on June 16 about this matter. This afternoon, the hon. member for York South, who seemed to wish to use this very important debate probably for politic purposes, told the House that he was in favour of the passage of the bill brought in by the government, that we ought to pass it as soon as possible, even though he would do so somewhat reluctantly. He added and I quote from memory: "I want to see this legislation passed as soon as possible". He said later, and I also quote from what I remember: "We are obliged to do so."

Mr. Speaker, if I refer to the debate we had just a few weeks ago, the spokesman for his party, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles), gave a completely opposite view. I should like to know what is the real opinion and position of the NDP in the House, not because I want to raise any bitter debate that would be a negative one, but rather in order to know the position of different members and parties on such an important dispute.

May I refer the House to Hansard of June 16, 1972, particularly to page 3112. Speaking on behalf of his party the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre said, and I quote:

I see the Minister of Labour (Mr. O'Connell) disagree with what I am saying about the dispute being a lockout, but if the hon. member has in mind-

-he was referring to me because he did not seem to understand the scope of the motion we had tabled.

I proceed with my quotation:

If the hon. member has in mind calling upon the government to bring in legislation to put these employees back to work, the employees who may not be employees because they have been suspended, we do not agree with that either.

So, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre who is his party's House leader stated only two weeks ago that if the government wanted to pass special legislation to force longshoremen to resume work they would oppose it.

Now, the leader of his party in a flash of administrative or legislative consciousness has at last recognized that under the present circumstances there was left only one alternative since the two parties to the conflict after numerous deliberations, consultations and attempts at

July 5, 1972

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

reconciling their attitudes, have been unable to bring about a solution.

Now it was obvious, Mr. Speaker, a fortnight or a month ago, or since the conflict started that only through legislation could a settlement be reached in this conflict which causes considerable if not irreparable damage to the three St.-Lawrence ports of Montreal, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec City. Indeed, considerable damage is caused to the economic activity of Montreal and Quebec City as well as to thousands of longshoremen's families who are involved in a conflict from which they would like to extricate themselves but have not yet found the means to do so, since as was pointed out earlier by the hon. member who spoke before me, there was perhaps no mechanism enabling the workers to freely express their views during their union meetings and reach a decision their union has now to make for them.

What was still difficult to accept was the incompetence of the Minister of Labour, his misunderstanding of the situation, in spite of the advice, the information he received from his experts, in spite of the opinions of the House, the members of the Progressive Conservative party, and also from Liberal members from the Montreal area; because I know that some are not happy with the situation.

I know from talking with the strikers that they were not happy with the minister's attitude. They urged him to wake up at last, decide to assume his responsibilities and introduce in Parliament a bill to bring about a solution to that conflict.

The basis of the conflict, the source of the wrongs in this increasingly serious situation is the fact that when the difficulties arose the minister refused to intervene and did not admit that he had at his disposal-and I know the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Mackasey) has enough experience to realize it-the whole apparatus required to attempt a rapprochement between the two parties. Had the minister intervened at the start by appointing a mediator, a conciliator or by setting up any mechanism at all, I am sure the conflict could have been solved without our having to resort to a special act which Parliament as a whole finds repulsive. An act of this type, Mr. Speaker, certainly cannot please the hon. members. We believe that we are too serious and responsible to accept a law which compels workers to go back to work when we know that there are at the basis of the conflict misunderstandings and frictions which can only lead to uncertainty and suspicion toward the employers.

What is wrong, in my view, is that management and labour are eying each other like cats and dogs. The climate of mutual trust which should exist in the field of labour-management relations just does not exist.

The two fundamental instruments of our economic system are the employer and the employee; without either one, I think that no economic system can work adequately.

It was an unpleasant surprise for me to hear the leader of the NDP when, in order to try to conceal his reluctance to fully support the Minister of Labour proposal, he said: We blame the employers, the ship-owners, for provoking the longshoremen by threatening to suspend them if they

did not return to work. I think these words are totally irresponsible and I do not believe that we would be serving the cause we claim to defend-equity and justice-by pitting one party involved in this dispute against the other.

This is what is incomprehensible and totally inadmissible: only 15 days ago, on June 16, when we were urging the Minister of Labour to introduce a legislation or to take some steps to bring the parties together, he said: I cannot intervene in that dispute; there is no question of our interfering by means of a legislation.

I want to quote from the minister's statements because I think that they are an admission on the government's part of their failure to give their administration a minister with sufficiently high standards to face not the easy situations-since the minister is not there for that-but the difficult ones and show efficiency and results.

While day after day, for a month and a half, we have been askings questions to the minister, this is what happened, as reported by the Ottawa newspaper Le Droit on June 17, 1972:

Mr. O'Connell advised that the government did not intend through legislation, to force the stevedores back to work.

In the Minister of Labour, we find inconsistencies, contradictions, reluctancy, inaptitude and, above all, inability to understand his duties while he is directly responsible for that collective agreement. His predecessor, through his good offices, his understanding, his labour experience-an experience actually lacking in the present minister-had managed to develop a formula that could or would ensure stability in the three harbours of the St. Lawrence river.

It is unfortunate that the minister failed to take into account the suggestions made to him by the opposition. We were not trying to take advantage of that dispute, since this would be the most abject thing to do, but simply to offer suggestions likely to help put an end to a situation that threatened the whole future of these three St. Lawrence harbours. The habour at Montreal is the largest Canadian seaport, the largest inland port, the one handling the greatest tonnage of goods, the most important access road for import and export.

Through his unconcern-I would not say his cowardice-because I hate to associate the words "cowardice" and "inability", the minister has failed to truly understand the importance of his decisions, and to take the necessary steps. We know that the government had been asked to act not only by members of this House, but also by the Montreal Port Council, which after sending one telegram after another, one letter after another, demanded that the government take action in order to end this conflict.

The City of Montreal authorities recently asked for action to be taken to that effect. The Quebec Minister of Labour said to his federal counterpart: Do something to solve this conflict, or we will interfere even if this does not come within our jurisdiction.

In the face of all those claims, all those representations, the minister seemed passive and indifferent; he felt that all those pressures were going to undermine his authority

July 5, 1972

as a minister, or that there was really nothing serious in this whole business, and that the situation could solve itself merely through a little agreement between the shipowners and the longshoremen.

That, Mr. Speaker, was playing with fire, and today we have come to this sad situation were we have, through legislation, to say to employees: Whether you like it or not, whether it suits you or not, whether some clauses of the agreement are under dispute or not, we do not care. You are going to go back to work against your will.

I feel this is an almost pre-historic way of solving a conflict, and if the minister had really assumed his responsibilities, if he had realized that the representations which we made in this House and elsewhere, as well as those of intermediary bodies, of provincial or municipal governments, were not without justification, we could have avoided having to introduce special legislation, and we could have avoided the collapse of the harbours involved, particularly that of Montreal.

Mr. Speaker, when on June 16 last I moved the motion which I mentioned earlier, I would have liked to advocate six steps, to suggest to the minister six ways to try and solve the conflict. Hon. members will remember that I was prevented from making those suggestions; fortunately, I was able to send them to the media, and I think my hon. colleague from Lachine (Mr. Rock) who, following his speech, was able to put them on the record. However, I realize that some of the suggestions which I made two weeks ago are exactly similar to the means which the minister used today by introducing legislation.

Unfortunately I see that the minister did not take into consideration an extremely important suggestion in order to avoid this kind of conflicts, so that in other conflicts we are not forced to introduce special legislation, in other words to see to it that we amend the Canada Labour Code to ensure that workers can vote secretly.

There was a successful experience particularly in the port of Quebec City. I have been told that longshoremen had the opportunity to vote secretly on going back to work, in the present circumstances, and that 99 per cent of them-the Minister of Manpower and Immigration is aware of this, I think-were in favour of this. It is the only place where a secret vote has been held.

This mechanism must be included either in the Labour Code, the collective agreements or in any other legislation. The government should not hesitate to ensure the secrecy of the vote.

I represent a labour constituency which is particularly affected by that work stoppage. I receive many longshoremen; I am also acquainted with people doing business with the Montreal port. For several weeks, many longshoremen have come to see me and told me: We would like to go back to work. At a union meeting, we would like to be able to cast a secret ballot and say, without being subjected to direct or indirect threats, if we agree with our leaders. We would be surprised at the results. We could often if not always avoid such painful conditions.

Certainly, the minister is aware of this situation; he knows perfectly well that during a union meeting when leaders are controlling the meeting or its proceedings, it is normal for the union members to rely completely on what

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

the leaders tell them to do. The union leaders explain quite honestly, sometimes not so honestly, the scope of such or such legislation, of such or such contract, and the workers can indicate their views but generally, they rely on those elected to represent them.

But when you feel that in certain meetings, people have been ordered to be there by union leaders to influence and intimidate the union members, it is difficult for an individual to vote against the instructions of his leaders and we should put an end to this situation. This situation could be clarified by simply using the democratic election system of this country and ensure that the votes are kept secret. In this manner, I am confident that we will be able to avoid such legislation as that which we are obliged to debate today. We would also prevent many inconveniences to some families most affected by situations such as this one.

We should not forget that in such disputes, maybe the shipowners can afford to skip a season even though some cannot afford it; maybe the businessman can afford the luxury of staying idle for a season but the workman, the longshoreman as any worker with a family cannot afford the luxury of a year without work.

It is a human problem which should interest us first and this explains why a few weeks ago I brought in a motion and said to the minister: You have but one and only solution; the appeal to arbitration, and the only way to have this arbitration accepted is to intervene personally. And the minister replied: I regret but I cannot intervene. Today he is directly intervening. Through the bill brought in today I note that he corrects a defect in that procedure. And I refer to clause 8 of the bill which stipulates:

8. The Minister of Labour may refer any matter in dispute between an employer and a union to an arbitrator selected or chosen as provided in the collective agreements-

So the minister becomes the necessary and essential lever, if the two parties involved in such a conflict do not ask for or resort to arbitration. The minister can step in then.

The minister came up with the following argument: I cannot intervene since the collective agreement provides mechanisms to settle grievances and according to which both parties must ask for arbitration and if they don't, they will have to pull themselves out as they can. That was stupid since a section of the collective agreement whose number I do not remember exactly provides that should there be a conflict as to the selection of an arbitrator, the Department of Labour may name the arbitrator. Therefore, the minister was implicitly party to the contract, to the collective agreement. Had the minister been the least intelligent, he would surely have used that little "technical opening" in the collective agreement; he could have intervened by selecting an arbitrator and obliging both parties-not today but three weeks ago or one month ago-to resort to arbitration, which would probably have settled the conflict without Parliament having to step in with the introduction of special legislation.

Mr. Speaker, having read this bill rapidly we realize it does not mean much, except that its object is to correct minor weaknesses that obviously did not exist in the col-

July 5, 1972

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

lective agreement. I spoke about clause 8 and I could also have mentioned clause 7. I find it hard to understand that a few days ago the Minister of Labour delegated his mediators, his associates, his special assistants in labour relations who made recommendations to both parties. The minister referred to those recommendations this afternoon, without quoting the document of which I have a copy here and which unfortunately I could not get from the minister but got from some other source.

These recommendations contain suggestions which, in my way of thinking, might have been useful in settling the conflict. What surprises me most is that these recommendations which have resulted from the conciliation or mediation exercise carried out by the Department of Labour with the directly interested parties, have not been included in the bill which the Minister has introduced. Does this mean that the Minister is disavowing the work done by his mediators? Is he suggesting that those four days of negotiations between the mediators and the interested parties did not achieve the results which were expected? It may be the case of an unofficial disavowal by the minister. However, the fact remains that I find it quite unacceptable that recommendations submitted by the mediators who are specialists and whose capacities have never been questioned, who are used to discussing problems of a difficult enough nature in this kind of conflict, have not been considered in the drafting of the bill introduced by the minister today.

Mr. Speaker, it is with much regret that we will support the bill. As the minister said, it is a matter of public interest, of the future of the Montreal economy, of the future and the survival of the three ports of the St. Lawrence; it is also the whole Canadian economy which is feeling the backlash, since it is quite well known that thousands of businesses are awaiting their goods. The government of Quebec complained recently that it could not get the machinery necessary to complete certain public works.

Thousands of people are directly or indirectly involved with port activity either through regular or casual employment. I think in particular of those longshoremen who are known as overtime longshoremen who, normally, are counted by the thousands and work 35, 37 or 40 weeks; they will not be able to hope to benefit from that overtime this year.

It is also unfortunate about these labour difficulties that no legislation provides for any assistance to fathers and to children of unemployed workers-no welfare allowances, no unemployment benefits, no strike fund-which I suggest should have been provided for in normal agreements. There is no machinery to enable the community to assist children of striking longshoremen.

This year, we know that the dispute will soon be settled but we know very well also that before these thousands of ships come back to the harbours of Montreal, Trois-Kivieres and Quebec, there will be a delay of four to six weeks.

The season now is ruined, we all know, and the minister knows also. It is not possible for Montreal harbour to recover this year's business. We will have to think about next year. What about the effects of this situation? Will the shippers, the businessmen and the firms that do busi-

ness with Canada regain confidence in the facilities of the three ports concerned? I hope so! Whichever part of the country we may come from, and in particular hon. members from the Montreal area, and whatever our party is, we are all aware of the extremely disastrous effects of the situation on the Quebec economy.

Before passing the bill-as there are still 12, 14, 16 or 24 hours left-both parties still have time to settle on the technical terms of the agreement so that Parliament is not forced to pass this legislation because, as the minister said this afternoon, this may be the sixth time Parliament has legislated in similar circumstances.

For my part, Mr. Speaker, it is my duty to support the bill. I believe all the members have indicated their wish to support it, but we do so, I know, with great reticence. We hope that if there are other conflicts, the Minister of Labour will not wait till the last minute, in short, till the corpse has reached the cemetery to call in the doctor to take care of the patient. I trust, Mr. Speaker, that the government will assume its responsibilities and that, thanks to his foresight and his sense of responsibility, whatever the consequences may be for him-even taking into consideration his responsibilities toward the country and Parliament-the minister, by taking steps beforehand, will prevent the recurrence of such a disastrous situation.

Once again I invite the minister to tell us whether he really intends-and I want to close my remarks on this suggestion-to consider changing the Canada Labour Code in such a way that in all labour conflicts, union members are guaranteed complete and full freedom in expressing their views by secret ballot at union meetings where work stoppages, agreements, or the signing of collective agreements are dealt with.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS
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NDP

Alfred Pullen Gleave

New Democratic Party

Mr. A. P. Gleave (Saskatoon-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I was very interested in the report given by the Minister of Labour (Mr. O'Connell) and in the statements made in connection with this dispute. I happen to represent people who are very dependent upon the services that have been disrupted and who are far removed from the scene of this dispute. The speaker preceding me expressed his concern at the total effect of the dispute on the economy of Montreal, and quite properly so. I am sure that the effect of a disruption of this kind must be very severe.

What has impressed me in the discussion of the situation not only today but over the last seven or eight weeks has been the importance given to this particular dispute and to the kind of agreement reached after three years of thought and work had been devoted to it. Those of us who live on the Prairies and have taken the trouble to try to understand, surprisingly have a fair working knowledge of what is involved in the labour disputes at our two shipping points in Canada, that is, the St. Lawrence and the west coast. For most of us who move grain those are the terminals we use. Most of us who use Halifax ship by train to that area.

In times past I have taken the trouble to inform myself about disputes which have occurred on the west coast. I

July 5, 1972

know that negotiations can be extremely difficult. An attempt is made to give security to the workers. If they have security, then those who hire the men have security. A real attempt was made to reach this objective but negotiations broke down. I agree with those who said action should have been taken sooner.

In the last day or two I have checked my sources of information and haye come to believe that we are on the very edge of a real slowdown or indeed breakdown as far as the movement of grain is concerned. Mr. Hurcomb, manager of the Dominion Marine Association, stated publicly that the strike is causing delays of up to six days in the movement of grain. One can check with the companies and co-operatives on the Prairies which are responsible for moving grain and will find that we have now pretty well filled the facilities at the terminals.

The lakers can move the grain down the lakes and the terminals can take the grain from them, but when you take the grain out of the terminals you must have longshoremen with the ability and know-how to load these boats and see they go to sea properly. This is the point we have reached and I do not understand how we as members of this House can do otherwise than discharge our responsibility by finding ways and means to bring this work stoppage to an end.

Another point bothers me, Mr. Speaker. I do not think you can solve by legislation all of the conflicts which exist between human beings. We had a government in Saskatchewan which said that if we had enough legislation and labour courts we could bring all these disputes to an end. I have doubts about that. To really meet the needs in this kind of situation and to achieve labour-management harmony in this country, we must make real efforts at bargaining and negotiation between the parties.

The Department of Labour will have to increase its activity in terms of negotiating with both sides in an attempt to smooth the path in working out procedures, arbitration, and so on. This is what will yield the greatest return in the medium and long run. When this fails, as it has failed in this case, then recourse has to be made to the type of action contemplated by this Parliament. I do not think there is any alternative in view of the situation facing us.

I could not go back and face my constituents, the farmers, the businessmen and those dependent on income from grain unless I am prepared to deal with the situation which faces us in the St. Lawrence ports. That is the main thing I wanted to say tonight. I concur in what the leader of our party said, that it is probably proper for the arbitrator, whoever he may be, to be charged with setting the time involved in establishing the number of guaranteed working weeks and the income for workers in this industry. This probably has to be one of his responsibilities.

I doubt very much if whoever is charged with the responsibility of arbitration should be, as is stated in clause 7(2)(b), making such modifications to those plans and provisions as in his opinion are required to give effect thereto on and after the date decided by him. If that means what I think it does, then the agreement in this area, the fine points of procedure and how they are arrived at must surely have been the result of lengthy and careful negotiation.

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

It must have taken some time for those concerned to reach working agreements in the original contract and I fail to understand the necessity for those charged with arbitrating to go through all these procedures again. I think the time element should have some bearing. I hope a real settlement and working agreement between the employers and employees will be reached very soon and that we do not have to again act in this House to force men back to work.

I believe, among other things, in the rights of individuals. When we come to the point that we have now, of using legislation to force an individual to go to work under certain conditions, I do not like it. By the same token, when we say to an employer that he shall put his facilities at the disposal of the state, and that is what we are doing, I think these are measures of last resort. What these measures really indicate is that our society has failed to solve its economic problems in a civilized and orderly manner. This is what it really means; we have failed to be effective in this area. I hope this will not occur too often. I say to the minister that he should have acted before. I suppose others will say that to him. As a representative of the Prairies where the people are very much dependent on traffic through our ports, I want to say I sincerely hope we can very quickly evolve better and more effective procedures to deal with a complicated society.

On the agricultural front, we are entering a supply-management phase. We are working on the other side of the coin. We are now working out procedures by which the provincial and federal governments will decide how much of certain products will be produced, how they will be marketed, and the price at which those products will eventually be sold. This compares to reaching the point where you bargain for wages, prices and services. I suggest we will move even farther in this area because we are in this type of complicated society. The way in which we deal with human relations must be changed in order to meet a closely integrated society. We can no longer stand at arms length and say that what the other man does is of no concern to us. Someone a long time ago said that we are our brother's keeper. We are at that point now, whether or not we like it.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS
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PC

Raymond Rock

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Raymond Rock (Lachine):

Mr. Speaker, at long last, after a period of seven weeks, the government has decided to introduce legislation to provide for the resumption of the operation of the ports of Montreal, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec. In fact, we can say after eight weeks, because many of the dockworkers went on strike a week earlier in sympathy with the general strike in Quebec which also was illegal. On many occasions in the past month my colleagues from Hamilton West, from Sainte-Marie, our leader and I have frequently asked questions of the Minister of Labour (Mr. O'Connell) regarding the dock strike. His replies were vague and his attitude was always a laissez-faire attitude. In fact, as recently as last Friday morning, as recorded at page 3692 of Hansard, I asked the Minister of Labour the following question:

Since the Minister of Labour is waiting until this afternoon for a decision by the meeting of the dock workers, would the government consider introducing back-to-work legislation immediately

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July 5, 1972

St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill

before adjournment of the House, in order that Parliament will not have to be recalled for this purpose?

The answer by the Minister of Labour was the following:

Mr. Speaker, the answer to that question clearly has to be no. Surely it is not desirable. This House would not wish to be in the position of being called upon to pass legislation to order men back to work on the ground that they are breaking the law, because the law already requires that they go back to work. Legislation to require Canadians to do that which is already required by the law does not seem to me to be appropriate at this time.

Many of us felt after that answer that the minister had no intention whatsoever of intervening in this strike by introducing back-to-work legislation. In fact, his answer to me indicated a complete capitulation. However, later in the afternoon the President of the Privy Council (Mr. MacEachen) made a statement. I shall quote from page 3719 of Hansard for June 30, 1972:

Mr. Speaker, at eleven o'clock I asked that the adjournment motion stand in the expectation that the situation in Montreal might have clarified in the meantime so that the motion could be put and carried at this point. However, I am advised by the Minister of Labour (Mr. O'Connell) that the situation has not cleared up sufficiently that it would be desirable from the point of view of the government to put and carry the adjournment motion at this point.

In other words, we returned to this House yesterday and today for the sole purpose of passing back-to-work legislation for the ports of Montreal, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec. This government has shirked its responsibility in connection with this illegal, wildcat strike for at least four weeks. This government has taken a laissez-faire attitude, as it has always done in the past. This government, by not taking action earlier, has caused more unemployment in the Montreal area and an estimated loss of $1 million per day as reported by the news media. As I have said before this government, through its laissez-faire attitude, has capitulated during every strike under federal jurisdiction such as the traffic controllers strike, the postal strike, the seaway strike and so on. I would not be surprised if, for a change, Liberal backbenchers forced the Minister of Labour to bring in this back-to-work legislation. After all, it is election year and the people of Montreal are very unhappy with this do-nothing attitude of the Liberal government in serious situations such as this.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS
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NDP

John Gilbert

New Democratic Party

Mr. Gilbert:

You supported them for many years.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS
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PC

Robert Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Muir:

Then he saw the light.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS
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LIB

Russell Clayton Honey (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order, please. The hon. member for Lachine has the floor.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS
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July 5, 1972