Mr. Speaker, Bloc Québécois motion M-294 calls on the government to introduce, no later than October 15, 2009, a bill to amend the Canada Labour Code to prohibit the use of replacement workers in labour disputes falling under the jurisdiction of the federal government, while at the same time ensuring that essential services are maintained.
Before I conclude, I would like to thank all the people and all the organizations that have supported the Bloc Québécois initiatives on this issue over the past 20 years. I am thinking of my colleagues from Gatineau, Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Shefford and Laval and all the other members of the Bloc Québécois and the other opposition parties who have not given up for the past 20 years.
The Canada Labour Code must be amended to prohibit the use of strikebreakers once and for all. It is high time we took action. After hearing the arguments in this House, I am still convinced that we can protect the interests of workers and employers by taking this approach.
Now more than ever, we must prohibit the use of replacement workers during labour disputes, in order to reduce picket-line violence.
We need to promote measures that will create a level playing field for negotiations between employers and employees.
Anti-scab measures will make it possible to eliminate the existence of two categories of workers in Quebec: those who have that right because they come under the provincial code and those who are deprived of it because they fall under the federal code.
I would encourage my colleagues to study the examples given by my colleague for Rivière-des-mille-Îles, of Vidéotron or Radio Nord. Other members have referred to Sterling trucking and Navistar, where strikebreakers deliberately set upon picketing workers and one picketer was very seriously injured.
Anti-scab measures are indispensable to civilized negotiations during labour conflicts.
Anti-scab measures encourage industrial peace by avoiding confrontations between striking workers and replacement workers. They make employers realize the advantages of settling conflicts by negotiation rather than by strike or lock-out.
There is a very broad consensus among the various labour unions on the importance of adopting anti-scab measures. They are a necessity in today's working world because they provide greater transparency in case of conflict.
The federal government needs to assume its responsibilities in areas over which it has constitutional jurisdiction. In these difficult economic times, the government needs to assume some leadership and keep in mind that it has a duty to protect the most vulnerable: those who are at risk of losing their jobs. It needs to protect labour relations, before, during and after a labour conflict.
Let us acknowledge the full importance our working people hold in our society and give them all the recognition they deserve for the work they do, day after day.
Lacking any valid arguments, the Conservative government is taking refuge behind scenarios that have no connection with Quebec reality. Thanks to the efforts of René Lévesque. Quebec has for 30 years had legislation that bans the use of replacement workers. We have healthy labour relations and the 7% of Quebec workers who come under federal legislation should be entitled to the same.
I urge my Liberal, Conservative and NDP colleagues to support this measure proposed today by the Bloc Québécois with respect to labour relations, in order to ban the use of scabs or replacement workers in labour conflicts involving employees who come under the Canada Labour Code.
The message is such a simple one. Starting now, we need balance, a fair and equitable balance of power between all parties involved in a labour dispute. Everyone stands to benefit.