Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the remarks of the minister in regard to the situation as it has existed, but the situation in which the bargaining is taking place today is different from what it was the day before yesterday. In regard to the time limit, it seems to me that if the government restricts the time period it will force the parties into an impossible situation particularly if agreement is not reached as the minister expects it to be reached.
It is assumed that we are on the threshhold of an election. When an election is held, 30 days elapse before the writs are returned. In the event that the environment is such that the two parties are carrying on their negotiates! Coast Ports Operations Bill
tions in a more relaxed situation because the strike issue is not there, and the disputes not settled before Christmas, then not only would parliament and the government of the day but the whole economy be placed in an impossible situation, one that would be very difficult to manage. It seems to me that it would aid, not hinder, that it would encourage, not restrain, the situation that exists now, and will continue to exist until final agreement is reached, if such an impasse could be avoided. I think the hon. member for Crowfoot took a very practical approach to this problem when he suggested that the date be extended by another two months or 30 days after Parliament had reassembled. This would be an advantage to everyone concerned.
I think it is important to remember that by the end of this year the economy will have lost some 400,000 man days in the area of federal jurisdiction due to strikes and lockouts. This is nearly double the figure for 1971 when we lost 219,360 days, and three times the figure for the year before when 152,030 man days were lost due to strikes and lockouts. Therefore it would seem practical to extend the time in order to make sure that Parliament can deal with this strike effectively, and I would urge that the minister reconsider his position when we come to clause by clause consideration of the bill.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: WEST COAST PORTS OPERATIONS BILL