Mr. Speaker, I accept your remarks.
Before this bill is read the third time, I must say that the discussions we had today do not question the ability and the qualifications of the arbitrators who will be asked to decide upon the present litigations in connection with the situation prevailing now in the Quebec ports.
A while ago, Mr. Speaker, some remarks have been made during the debate on this bill to the effect that the government had delayed its decision in order to find another solution to that conflict.
I must remind the House that not so long ago-and I am surprised it took the government so much time to introduce a bill-when the country was almost paralyzed by striking air traffic controllers, barely 24 hours after work stopped the Minister of Transport (Mr. Jamieson) said something to the effect that if the strike was not settled within a matter of hours, the government would consider introducing special legislation.
We passed a bill on second reading today; that proves the need for the government to act, in view of the seriousness of the problem. Were the strike to continue much longer, its effects on the ports would be disastrous.
July 6, 1972
St. Lawrence Ports Operations Bill
An hon. member-I believe it was the hon. member tor Trinity (Mr. Hellyer)-asked about the harm done to the ports. He also asked the minister if his department had made a study of some kind to know the real extent of the harm caused by the work stoppage.
Mr. Speaker, obviously that work stoppage has done great harm, from the point of view of the economic future of the port of Montreal as well as to the life of the people involved in this conflict. I believe this bill was warranted and will serve the purpose it has in view, namely to settle the conflict. I think it is appropriate to say that as the representative of a constituency that is especially affected by this strike as it is in the geographical ambit of the port of Montreal and because I know many of the people caught in this conflict and I am in contact with them all the time, I must say that most of the longshoremen I have seen and who came to me for advice were really anxious to go back to work.
The special legislation will not be considered as a punitive measure but as one to bring order, to straighten out things in the ports, to enable the longshoremen to go back to work, to earn a livelihood for their family and provide for a better economic future for the three ports concerned, especially that of Montreal.
Subtopic: ST. LAWRENCE PORTS OPERATIONS BILL MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR RESUMPTION OF LONGSHORING AND RELATED OPERATIONS