Ralph GOODALE

GOODALE, The Hon. Ralph, P.C., B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Regina--Wascana (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
October 5, 1949
Website
http://ralphgoodale.ca
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=1a1a9dee-c228-40fc-b926-42f8441d84f0&Language=E&Section=ALL
Email Address
ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca
Profession
barrister and solicitor, broadcaster, business executive, businessman

Parliamentary Career

July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  Assiniboia (Saskatchewan)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport (October 10, 1975 - September 30, 1976)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council (October 1, 1976 - September 30, 1977)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Regina--Wascana (Saskatchewan)
  • Minister of Agriculture (November 4, 1993 - January 11, 1995)
  • Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board (November 4, 1993 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (January 12, 1995 - June 10, 1997)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Wascana (Saskatchewan)
  • Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board (November 4, 1993 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (January 12, 1995 - June 10, 1997)
  • Minister of Natural Resources (June 11, 1997 - January 14, 2002)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Wascana (Saskatchewan)
  • Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board (November 4, 1993 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of Natural Resources (June 11, 1997 - January 14, 2002)
  • Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (January 15, 2002 - May 25, 2002)
  • Liberal Party House Leader (January 15, 2002 - May 25, 2002)
  • Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians (January 15, 2002 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of Public Works and Government Services (May 26, 2002 - December 11, 2003)
  • Minister of Finance (December 12, 2003 - February 5, 2006)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  Wascana (Saskatchewan)
  • Minister of Finance (December 12, 2003 - February 5, 2006)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
LIB
  Wascana (Saskatchewan)
  • Minister of Finance (December 12, 2003 - February 5, 2006)
  • Liberal Party House Leader (February 10, 2006 - September 6, 2010)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (February 10, 2006 - September 6, 2010)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
LIB
  Wascana (Saskatchewan)
  • Liberal Party House Leader (February 10, 2006 - September 6, 2010)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (February 10, 2006 - September 6, 2010)
May 2, 2011 - August 2, 2015
LIB
  Wascana (Saskatchewan)
October 19, 2015 -
LIB
  Regina--Wascana (Saskatchewan)
  • Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (November 4, 2015 - )

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1158 of 1158)


October 11, 1974

Mr. Goodale:

I have found-and this is demonstrated in the case of western Canada-that it is a matter of Canadians putting their ideas together reasonably and fairly. These adverbs are, perhaps, difficult for the opposition to keep in mind. Nevertheless, as I say, it involves Canadians putting their ideas together reasonably and presenting a case fairly to the government. The government, for its part, has demonstrated a willingness to listen whenever a case is made both fairly and reasonably, and a willingness to-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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October 7, 1974

Mr. Goodale:

Yes, it was a basis for settlement. Those words are important. This was the best advice available to the parties and to the government of Canada. Clearly, he had done a sound and thorough job in the circumstances. The Perry report in itself was the end product of this particular collective bargaining process. We must keep that point in mind. It was a process which the parties themselves over a period of 614 months, with all the help in the world, had failed to make work.

What was the government to do with Dr. Perry's report? Could it reasonably, after all that had gone before, say, "No, we don't particularly care for this report. We will put it aside and appoint another conciliation commissioner who will work with the parties for another 2 Vi months and produce another report which we may or may not accept?" And on and on the process could go.

Clearly, once the parties directly involved in the negotiations, the employers and employees, had allowed their negotiations to deteriorate over more than half a year to the point where an expert, impartial third party had to investigate the situation and produce a thorough report, with recommendations, all the parties, the employers, employees as well as the government, had to be prepared to give that particular report some credence, authority and weight. The view adopted by the government was that the Perry report could not simply be tossed aside as unworthy of discussion.

The government urged this view on all sides, privately and eventually publicly. The workers agreed to it, the companies did not. To ensure continued grain movement during the period parliament was in dissolution, the government acted under section 181 of the Canada Labour Code to prevent a strike or lock-out, indeed to prevent a stoppage in grain exports, until August 8. All the while efforts continued at the official and ministerial level to have negotiations resume on the basis proposed by Dr. Perry. His report was clearly intended to be a basis for further negotiation, but this negotiation did not prove successful. Finally, in late August all work stopped. Exhaustive efforts to bring about a voluntary settlement failed. Further efforts would be pointless. And here we are today.

Allegations of blame are not helpful if we are to reach lasting solutions to difficult problems of this nature, but I believe two points should be put on record. First, once it was made clear to the representatives of the union that the government, if forced to do so, would legislate an end to the dispute on the basis of principles contained in Dr. Perry's report-again, these words were carefully chosen-there could be no excuse for continuing a work slowdown which hampered grain movement. That course of action was not responsible, and perhaps contributed to the further deterioration in relations. It certainly added to the harm done to western grain producers.

October 7, 1974

Grain Handlers' Strike

Second, once it was made clear to the companies that the government, if forced so to do, would legislate on the basis of Dr. Perry's principles-again, these are important words-it was illogical for them to persist in refusing to discuss the report and work out a settlement on the basis of the report. The final result, as we are witnessing today, was clearly inevitable. The companies said they were standing on principle in demanding parliamentary action. But it should be borne in mind that that standing on principle resulted in substantial losses being borne by prairie producers. They are losses which could have been avoided if the companies had accepted voluntarily, several weeks ago, the result which they then knew would be inevitable. If they had wanted to avoid responsibility, if they had wanted a scapegoat, they could have pointed the finger at the government. In the meantime they could have saved western farmers several million dollars.

It is interesting to consider the figures to which the hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre (Mr. Benjamin) referred.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WEST COAST GRAIN HANDLING OPERATIONS ACT, MEASURE TO SECURE THE RESUMPTION OF OPERATIONS
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October 7, 1974

Mr. Ralph E. Goodale (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, it is not without a considerable degree of trepidation that I, as a freshman member of this House, rise to make my first remarks in this chamber in the course of this crucial debate with respect to the west coast grain handlers' dispute.

As the representative of Assiniboia constituency-one of this nation's greatest agricultural and, particularly, grain producing regions-this dispute and its settlement are of paramount concern to me at the moment. It is essential that the interruption in Vancouver grain movement be brought now to a speedy conclusion by parliament because it is quite apparent that exhaustive efforts- they have been exhaustive on all sides-toward a negotiated solution have not been, and will not be, successful.

I regret-as I am sure most hon. members of this House regret-the fact that we are here today dealing with this problem in this manner. Surely the floor of this House must not become the commonplace location for major labour-management negotiations in this country to take place. The prime responsibility in this area, through the collective bargaining process, rests-and ought to rest- with employers and employees. Under our laws, and in the national interest in most cases, they are quite properly called upon to sit down together to resolve their differences, find common ground and reach contract settlements without damaging slowdowns or destructive work stoppages, and without possible mischief or violence and the eventual necessity of parliamentary intervention. But in the present circumstances, parliament has no alternative but to take this action, and I hope expeditiously, to conclude a contract so that our grain exports through Vancouver can resume.

October 7, 1974

I must say that I appreciate the view expressed by the spokesman for the New Democratic Party, that his party wants this legislation to move forward quickly so that grain can begin to move through Vancouver. I regret the attitude of the official opposition, which seems not to be very concerned about the situation at the moment.

I suppose somewhere in the annals of our industrial history we might find what could be described as examples of perfect negotiations or perfect industrial relations. But most surely these examples would be few and far between in our less than perfect world. The present situation in Vancouver falls far short of perfection when viewed from almost any perspective, and the difficulties of this past summer have taken place against a sorry background of sour relationships and discord extending back more than a decade. In view of this sad history, I particularly welcome the proposal today by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Munro) that an industrial inquiry commission will soon be appointed to thoroughly investigate the history of labour relations in the grain handling industry at Vancouver.

Requests for such a move have come from such diverse sources as the Palliser Wheat Growers' Association and, I believe, the National Farmers' Union. I know we will all wish the commission well in its work toward achieving a better industrial relationship between the grain handling companies and their employees. I am sure prairie grain producers are looking forward to an era of more stability in this field so that they need not fear further costly disruptions in the movement of their grain into export position.

There are two general issues with which I shall deal briefly. First, some parties in this House and outside have tried to paint the government as the ogre in this sad situation. I ask members, before they make their judgment in this case, to look carefully at the chronology of events which stretch back for one year. Negotiations began for a new contract on October 19, 1973, almost a full year ago. The existing contract was due to expire on November 30. Direct negotiations between the parties continued for almost two months, without success.

The parties requested federal mediation assistance about the middle of December, 1973. That assistance was forthcoming immediately and two skilled mediators struggled to find reasonable common ground for agreement between the parties. They worked for another two months but were unable to show signs of progress. A clear impasse had been reached and the Minister of Labour moved to appoint as conciliation commissioner Dr. Perry, who began his duties on February 15, 1974, four full months after discussions had begun originally. So this was hardly a premature move.

The appointment apparently was well received. Dr. Perry is a skilled man, an expert who is widely respected and well known in the field and, as the minister pointed out earlier, he had worked with these same parties a few years previously. It is interesting to note that amid all the controversy surrounding the dispute nobody has attacked Dr. Perry's competence, ability or impartiality. There has been criticism from some sides of the recommendations he

Grain Handlers' Strike

put forward, yet nobody has attacked his ability to deal with the situation or his competence in the field. Dr. Perry worked with both sides for 214 months but was unable to draw them together. Finally, he produced a report recommending what he saw to be a fair and reasonable settlement.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WEST COAST GRAIN HANDLING OPERATIONS ACT, MEASURE TO SECURE THE RESUMPTION OF OPERATIONS
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October 7, 1974

Mr. Goodale:

Demurrage charges totalling nearly $10 million have been incurred over the past several weeks, because grain has not been moving. As I said, it is interesting to note the figures mentioned by the hon. member for Regina-Lake Centre. For instance, the total cost of the increases suggested by the Perry report might be $3.5 million, perhaps $4 million, over two years. The demurrage charges alone which the Wheat Board has had to pay would have paid 2 Vi times for the increases in the new contract.

Given this recent chronology of events, the long history of sour labour relations in this industry on the west coast and the difficult attitudes adopted at times by both sides, and given the work done by Dr. Perry in his 2 Vi months of effort, the government's action in the circumstances has been fair and reasonable. Let me point out-this is particularly important to grain producers-that if the government had pursued a course of action other than the one it did, we probably would have seen a full work stoppage, perhaps a violent one, not in late August but perhaps in May, in April or even earlier. The grain kept moving, albeit at a slower rate, until the last week of August. That, in itself, was a considerable contribution in view of what might have happened.

Let me say one final word about the figures. Percentages have been mentioned in this House, in the press and elsewhere. Anyone who wants to put forward a view can sharpen his pencil and come forward with calculations in its support. When you break it down, Dr. Perry in his recommendations makes three separate points. They must be separated, because if you try to add them together you are adding apples and oranges. He talks about wages, about a cost of living adjustment and about a pension plan. If you break down the wage figures, you will see clearly that the increases range from 31 per cent to 32 per cent over two years, which is 15 per cent of 16 per cent per year. In terms of the situation in Vancouver, perhaps even the national situation, that would not be out of line when you are talking about a wage package exclusive of a cost of living adjustment.

When considering the pension plan provisions, bear in mind there had not been, by and large, any effective plan in place for the past several years for these particular employees at Vancouver. Clearly, the pension plan figures cannot be simply lumped in with the wage figures. There is a qualitative difference between an increase and having a pension plan at all. They cannot simply be added together to come up with some grotesque figure which does not fairly reflect the situation.

I do not want to take up any further time of the House dealing with the arguments pro and con the particular politics of the situation. As we go about our difficult task today, the problems are serious enough. I hope there will be a speedy resolution. None of us like the job we are called upon to do today, but I urge the House to pass expeditiously the legislation before us so that the crucial product, the grain, can begin to move. As this serious dispute ends, as the employees go back to work and the grain moves into export position, I hope all members of this House and all Canadians will heighten our resolve to find in the long run a better way.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   WEST COAST GRAIN HANDLING OPERATIONS ACT, MEASURE TO SECURE THE RESUMPTION OF OPERATIONS
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