Mr. Raymond Rock (Lachine):
Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the hon. member for Sainte-Marie (Mr. Valade), has conscientiously and seriously presented a motion calling on the government to immediately end the dock strike. As a member for the Montreal area of Lachine, Dorval and Ste. Claire I am proud to have seconded the motion. It is too bad that just at the end of the speech of the hon. member for Sainte-Marie, the hon. member for Temis-camingue (Mr. Caouette) refused to allow the hon. member to finish his speech, because there were important proposals the hon. member wished to make. As the seconder of his motion, I want at the outset to read into the record his proposals, if you do not mind, Mr. Speaker.
The solutions proposed by the hon. member for Sainte-Marie (Mr. Valade) are as follows:
The Minister of Labour (Mr. O'Connell) should:
A) call the bargaining agents who have participated in the preparation of the agreement for both parties and invite them to convince their respective groups to use arbitration;
B) make a specific statement in which he should establish the disastrous effects of this impasse on our economy and indicate clearly that in the public interest the situation could not last longer;
C) advise the parties that if they do not start arbitration procedures pursuant to their agreement within 48 hours, the minister will appoint one of the arbitrators designated in the agreement;
D) implement section 5-01 (7) concerning grievances;
E) immediately express his intention to amend the Canada Labour Code so that the Department of Labour could intervene immediately by imposing arbitration when the parties refuse to do so;
F) provide for a procedure ensuring that in any labour-management dispute under his jurisdiction, the federal government will see to it that a secret ballot is compulsory in labour union meetings and reflects a minimum membership participation for a work stoppage or strike to be decided.
It is too bad the hon. member for Temiscamingue did not give the hon. member permission to put forward these proposals at the end of his speech. I think this was stupidity on his part.
The Quebec illegal, wildcat dock strike is the worst strike in Quebec's history. In economic terms, its effects will be very harmful to Montreal for years to come. In fact, there will be no catching up; what is lost will remain lost. The $200 million yearly input into the Montreal economy is being dwindled away, and 10,000 jobs are directly affected. An equal number of persons are indirectly affected. Alternative shipping routes have been found. As a result of these alternative shipping routes
June 16, 1972
having been established, the shipping that has been lost may not return to Montreal.
The transportation hub of Montreal is threatened to such an extent that this loss may be permanent. One hundred and thirty-two ships left Montreal with full holds or were diverted to other ports at the beginning of the strike. Prairie grain is being shipped by alternate routes. There is talk of flour mills moving their operations out of our province. This would result in loss of jobs, pensions, and so on.
Management has appealed to the federal government to take action to stop the strike. The Montreal Chamber of Commerce has asked that the federal government take action. The only action taken so far by the Minister of Labour (Mr. O'Connell) is indicated in a release from his department entitled "Labour News Headlines", issued by the Canada Department of Labour on June 2, which reads:
Labour minister, Martin O'Connell, has refused to permit St. Lawrence stevedoring firms to prosecute a union of 3,250 dock-workers on strike for more than three weeks in defiance of court injunctions.
The government is shirking its responsibility in this illegal, wildcat strike. As always in situations such as this, the government has taken a laissez faire attitude. Like an ostrich, it has hidden its head in the sand and hopes that the problems will disappear by themselves. This government has allowed the deterioration of port business in the Montreal area to take place. This has affected 10,000 jobs directly and another 10,000 related jobs.
In other words, this government has again capitulated, as it has in the case of every strike affecting the federal jurisdiction. It capitulated in other dock strikes. It capitulated when our airports were shut down. It capitulated in the seaway workers' strike. It has often capitulated by allowing things to happen and never taking the initiative. This government is so weak that it has lost its credibility. It should not remain in office. This government has allowed the U.S.S.R. to build turbines for Canada, to the detriment of Dominion Engineering Works in Lachine and of Canadian expertise. It has allowed the importation of huge generators and transformers, to the detriment of Canadian manufacturers and Canadian expertise. It has allowed the importation of machinery for the production of paper, to the detriment of Canadian manufacturers and Canadian expertise.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: BUSINESS OF SUPPLY