September 1, 1972 (28th Parliament, 4th Session)


John Leroy Skoberg

New Democratic Party

Mr. Skoberg:

Mr. Chairman, this matter must be clarified in the House if we are to act responsibly. We hear this government talk about industrial peace. As far as I can see, we do not know whether the old agreement will be in effect until the new agreement is signed. By not proclaiming this section of the bill what we are saying to those people is that they should go on strike, because they will have to go on strike before this government sees any necessity to proclaim Part II of the bill. Through you, Mr. Chairman, I sincerely urge the minister to give some protection to the working people of Canada, as well as to the employers if they need it, so far as lockouts may be concerned.
If we do not give some protection to those people out there we will deliberately frustrate the intent of the labour bill we discussed earlier this year. We talked about the preamble in that bill and what we were going to do for the people, but we know now that they will be working without a contract until the declaration of a strike. Surely, this parliament could include a clause which would ensure that the old agreement will be in effect. Surely, we could do that much if we expect any consideration whatsoever. If we do not do that I feel confident that these people on the west coast will say to hell with this government and any legislation it may pass. This is the type of thing that brings about industrial conflict and confrontation, and that is not what we want in Canada.
What is wrong with a simple amendment introduced by the government that will leave the old agreement in effect? Who are we trying to protect? I cannot understand a situation in which we cannot do anything that will protect all the parties at the same time. I am bothered when it is suggested that this clause will not be proclaimed until something happens. There is the suggestion that this may occur, but I suggest that the Alberta Wheat Pool and the UGG agreed to the amount of money involved in the conciliation board report. They are now backtracking because these companies thought they could get off the hook by letting the government bring in legislation. I do not think this House should be blackmailed into a position along those lines. That is not why we were called back here.

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