Mr. Jean-Guy Dubois (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Employment and Immigration):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak very briefly to the amendment to Clause 6, where it refers to Section 59.2 of the Canada Labour Code, proposed by the New Democratic Party. Originally, the Canada Labour Code, as the previous speaker just said, prescribed a period of twelve months, and when Bill C-34 was introduced, this was reduced to three months, more or less as proposed in the amendment by the New Democratic Party.
Very briefly, Mr. Speaker, the groups that testified before the Committee of Labour, Manpower and Immigration, especially those representing management and obviously those representing workers who are all very much in favour of the Bill. In all fairness to the employers, we cannot really say that they are against the Bill but they did use a term, and this term was used by Mr. Masters who is President of or represents a group called Fetco . . . employees who fall under federal jurisdiction and work for a Crown Corporation. He said quite simply to bring in a balanced bill. So, regarding the existing period of twelve months and the three-month period proposed in the Bill, we felt in Committee and also in the Government that to balance the situation and strike a bargain that would be fair to both workers and employers, a period of six months would be entirely reasonable.
June 27, 1984
I was very pleased to hear my hon. friend from the Progressive Conservative Party say that he wanted the period to be set at six months. I know that on their side, they supported the amendment I proposed on behalf of the Government, which meant that all employees with six months' continuous service shall be entitled to what we provide under Clause 59.2.
Since we were talking about more balanced legislation, in Committee all three Parties tried to deal equitably and fairly with the groups appearing before us. I know that the Progressive Conservative Party was very much in favour of the six-month amendment, and that the Government proposed the six-month amendment since it wanted to expedite this Bill.
As for the three-month proposal, I myself and other Government members believed that going from twelve months to three months was too great a step and that some kind of compromise was preferable. Of course such compromises are necessary whenever a Bill is considered in Committee by the various parties, and I believe that this time we were very successfull, considering both the time element and the number of witnesses that were heard. We were able to reach an agreement among the Parties so that the Bill could be reported back to the House without delay. Mr. Speaker, that is why, if we are talking about balanced legislation, I feel that we should vote against the amendment proposed by the New Democratic Party and that we should proceed with the Bill as amended. I think we should put the question on this Bill unless some of my hon. friends have further comments to make.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: CANADA LABOUR CODE