July 6, 1972 (28th Parliament, 4th Session)


David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

I regret, as I know the minister does, that the two parties to the dispute, the union as well as management, acted in a way which made it necessary for Parliament to take this action. It would have been much better for Canada and much better for the welfare of the people concerned in the ports, as well as much better for the welfare oflabour relations in Canada, if the union and management had lived within the collective agreement they had signed and set an example of the kind of industrial relations a modern civilized society ought to have.
It is a great pity they continued on their obstinate course for eight weeks, causing a great deal of harm to themselves, to the employers on one side, the members of the union on the other and to the communities concerned. As the minister rightly said earlier-I am not quoting him, but I got the sense of what he said-this caused a great deal of harm to the notion of industrial relations and collective bargaining and the value, strength and application of collective agreements.
It is, therefore, not with a light heart that we support this bill. I am sure I also speak for all members of this House. I am certain I heard the minister say that is the way he feels about it. It is not with a light heart that we

support this bill, but because in our view, and I hope in the view of every member of this Parliament, the impasse created by the obstinacy of the two parties at these three ports has to be broken for the benefit of the country as well as for the benefit of labour relations. This bill is the only agency which can break that impasse and therefore it was inevitable and necessary even though the need for the action is regrettable.
I think the time has come to vote on third reading stage. I hope we are able to pass this bill tonight so that it can go to the Senate-I am getting tired of saying "the other place" and be dealt with so it can come into force as soon as possible and work may resume at the three ports, I hope not later than next Monday, even though it may have to begin in a small way.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I shall not take any more of the time of the House except to repeat that I am sorry this action was made necessary by the behaviour of the parties. I hope with all my heart-I repeat the appeal I made yesterday-that the management and the members of the union will obey this law without cavil, without hesitation and without creating an even more difficult situation than the one with which Parliament is now faced. I am sure they will, as Canadians, and I know that if that happens Parliament will have done the right thing in adopting this bill.

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