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House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is clearly the Americans, who signed the agreement four years ago in 2006, have no appetite to ratify the free trade agreement with Colombia. They have refused to do it. Now under the new presidency of Barack Obama, the current Congress is refusing to ratify the agreement. It will not ratify the agreement, regardless of what the Conservative member thinks will happen.

What is happening is he and his friend from Kings—Hants are now going to take this ratified agreement and they are going to be on the phone to the United States, trying to stir up their Republican friends in the Congress. They are going to try to give them encouragement and get them to ratify the agreement in the United States. However, the member he is wrong, wrong, wrong. They will not have the votes to do it.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House to speak to the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement again. I have spoken to it several times already. However, after listening to the member opposite, it gives me an opportunity to correct the record.

The great thing about the Parliament of Canada is that everything we say is on the record, all the facts can be checked. It is important for Canadians and for people interested in the debate to actually go back, see what has been said, and then go check the facts.

Of course, they have to go to appropriate and proper websites. They cannot just go to bogus, make up what they want websites. They have to actually go to authorities and they have to respect statistics, being careful when they read the statistics to understand that often statistics lie and sometimes liars state statistics. That is always a caution.

There are two things I wanted to finish up on in the short time that I had to ask the hon. member a question. I will touch on them. I have 20 minutes and then 10 minutes for questions and answers, so I think I have enough time to get my statement out.

My question was not answered, and I did not expect it to be answered, so I will put it out in full this time. The member for Burnaby—New Westminster, the NDP member who sits on committee, came to committee full of bluff and hyperbole and stated to our witnesses:

Obviously there are fundamental concerns about labour rights, about human rights. We had another massacre a few weeks ago. Twelve representatives of the Awa first nation were brutally killed. Human rights groups and eyewitnesses say that the Colombian military killed them. There has been no investigation. There is virtual impugnity for this kind of crime. I understand that you're not here to testify on human rights issues, but if you would care to comment on how the Canadian government should act when an arm of the Colombian government brutally massacres 12 of its citizens--

That was stated by the member for Burnaby—New Westminster. It is on the record at the committee for international trade. It is patently false. We later found out that the hon. member's brethren, the socialist insurrection in the jungle, FARC, because of their narco-trafficking, brutally murdered these 12 unfortunate individuals. There has been no apology to the committee. There has been no apology to the House. I just find that repulsive, actually, that anyone would attempt to mislead the committee in that way.

The other thing he said was about some type of bogus support for a free trade agreement that does not exist. This free trade agreement has everything in it that the hon. member mentioned. It has a side agreement on the environment and labour. Very strong and modern side agreements, I might add.

Finally, with the help, quite frankly, of the member for Kings—Hants, we agreed on a side agreement in this particular trade agreement on human rights. It is still not enough to satisfy the NDP, or the Bloc, I may add.

There is nothing that will satisfy them. It really does not matter what the agreement is, they will find an excuse. They will make up something. They will accuse somebody of some outrageous crime that would horrify any citizen in this country to find an excuse not to support something.

He talked about the cattle industry. Members of the Canadian cattle industry are some of our strongest supporters for this agreement. Do we think for a moment that they would be our strongest supporters if they had any worries about this agreement, that somehow they would be disadvantaged?

The reality is, we have a bilateral trading situation, not an agreement. We have bilateral trade today, not tomorrow, not next year, not five years down the road, not 10 years ago, but today, of $1.3 billion between Colombia and Canada.

We are proposing stronger, more stringent, and clearer guidelines and rules around this agreement. I am breaking it down to the lowest common denominator so the hon. member will understand it. We are trading right now with Colombia. We are going to put clearer guidelines around that trading so it is rules-based.

To further enhance this agreement, we have a side agreement on labour, so there can be no child labour, no forced labour. There have to be clear labour standards that protect workers.

On top of that we have a side agreement on the environment to ensure companies react in environmentally responsible ways. We also have a side agreement on human rights to ensure that all proponents in this agreement obey and follow human rights guidelines.

I know that is not enough for the party opposite, but when it is clearly explained, it is enough for most Canadians.

What do we have in Colombia? Colombia is a nation of 48 million people, many of them living in poverty, who want jobs, opportunities, and a future for their children. They want basic human rights policies and they want those policies to be followed and obeyed.

The government in Colombia has been maligned and accused of horrendous offences by the opposition. President Uribe and his ministers will tell us that the situation in Colombia is not perfect. Each and every single one of them will say the same thing, that the situation is not perfect, but compared to where the country was in the late eighties and early nineties, it has moved forward light years.

There was a time in Colombia when there were 30,000 paramilitary in the countryside. Those 30,000 paramilitary have been disbanded. The government will tell us that its own numbers indicate that 8,000 or 9,000 have been reinstated, but the Colombian government is working hard to ensure they are disbanded again.

Unfortunately, because Colombians do not have access to the global economy the same as other countries, they have been forced into narco-trafficking and the drug trade to make money. There is very little else for Colombians to do. We can continue to force them into narco-trafficking or we can actually help them find jobs in other areas.

We have to really look at the individuals in the Uribe government. Members of the NDP and the Bloc tell us that they are all nasty, fascist, right-wing dictator types. I ask people watching this debate today to go on the website and find the names of the individual members of the Uribe government, and look at their backgrounds. The Colombian government is made up of a hodge-podge of individuals.

A member of cabinet was a former left-wing newspaper editor. He was kidnapped and held by the paramilitary for I think two and a half years. He had a long period of time to worry about his personal safety. He was finally released. The foundations of democracy are strong enough in Colombia to allow him to run for elected office and become part of a government that is largely right of centre. He is certainly not right of centre.

Other members of cabinet have been kidnapped by FARC, the socialist insurgency in the jungle. People from every political stripe and every possible background make up the government in Colombia. They have one commonality: they all want a better Colombia.

They all want a better life for themselves and their families. They all want increased personal safety. They want the ability to travel on their roads and railroads, and in their buses and on their streets, the same as we expect to do in Canada. They have, by and large, been given that by the Uribe government. That is why he has 80% support. That is why we have an anti-free trade political party, the Polo Democratico party in Colombia, with less than 8% support. There is no question about what Colombians think.

I listened to the opposition talk about the welfare of Colombians. I will give just one small example of what this free trade agreement holds for the welfare of Colombians. It may not be important to the members of the Bloc. It may not be important to the members of the NDP, but it is important to me. It is called healthy, nutritious food that is affordable.

Right now, red beans, which are a significant source of protein, are imported into Colombia at 50% tariff. That tariff will be reduced over a 10-year time frame to zero. The reason for the time frame is to assist local farmers in growing red beans themselves, to actually protect local agriculture. Even at the beginning of that time period, I think it is reduced by 20% of 25%, so we have a significant source of protein, healthy food for men, women and children, at an affordable cost, that will do nothing but help Colombians. Somehow that is a bad thing for the opposition parties.

I really have difficulty understanding the logic of what is wrong with rules-based trading. I have difficulty understanding the logic of what is wrong with cheap, affordable, healthy, and nutritious food. I have difficulty understanding what is wrong with Colombia being taken off the ILO's watch list, the first time in 21 years that the United Nations International Labour Organization has said that Colombia has moved forward far enough with respect for labour rights that it will not be on the international watch list.

Instead of applauding that, we have two parties in the House that say, “There is a chance to take a kick at these guys. We will penalize them for good behaviour”. What would happen if we did that in our school system? What kind of children would we raise in this country? It just goes on and on.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Unanimous consent to resolve that Jack Layton is the leader of the official opposition, agreed.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

I will give an example that is close to me. I have a small fabricating company in my riding of South Shore--St. Margaret's that has a niche--

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Oh my God, the Liberals are back. We were just about to make Jack Layton the leader of the official opposition.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Speak intelligently. Has it ever happened to you?

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

If the hon. members would only listen, I am trying to help them out here.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Glad the Liberals showed up for work.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

They have a niche market--

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, order. There seems to be another debate taking place in the chamber and the Speaker would appreciate it if members could hold off on that or take their conversation outside the House because there are still a few minutes left for the hon. parliamentary secretary.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, what is interesting is that this particular company works in partnership with another fabricating company in Calgary. It also has a company in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia that partners with a company in Calgary. The company produces equipment for oil and gas companies and it has a multi-million dollar contract in Colombia. It also has a sub-company in Mexico that has a contract for the oil and gas sector in Colombia. Do members know where the company is seriously looking at building and producing that contract? In Mexico because it can ship its product from Mexico to Colombia tariff free.

Those jobs will not be Bridgewater, Nova Scotia jobs or Calgary, Alberta jobs. If we do not pass this bill, they will be Mexican jobs. This will be good for Mexico, as it needs jobs and opportunities for its citizens, but it should not be at our expense.

The other thing that is totally ignored by the members opposite is how we got to this position today. We just did not pick Colombia out of a hat. Colombia is one part of a much wider strategy.

When we came to power in 2006, we had a number of issues before us. One of them in international trade was our global commerce strategy, how we would work, interact and trade with the rest of the world. The other one we called re-engagement with the Americas. We were part of the Americas but all of our trade was basically going into one basket, or NAFTA, the United States and Mexico. That is important trade, without question, but we needed to look beyond the United States and Mexico.

What do the rest of the Americas think of Canadians? I can tell the House that they want to do business with us. The agreement that we looked at, the re-engagement with the Americas, was based on the fact that Canadian foreign investment in the Americas was somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200 billion. We wanted to follow the money and get some of it back in bilateral trade between these nations.

When we started our free trade agreement discussions with Colombia, the United States had already signed. This was an opportunity to actually get ahead of the U.S. for once. The European Free Trade Association has already signed with Colombia and countries like Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland are trading with Colombia. The Europe Union is on the cusp of signing its free trade agreement with Colombia. Everyone holds up the European Union, as do all of us on this side of the House, but it is not asking for a human rights side agreement on its free trade agreement with Colombia.

We have these opportunities. We have signed free trade agreements with Peru and Panama and we are continuing to work on what is called the Central American four: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. For my socialist brethren in the NDP, Nicaragua—

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order, I would ask the House to give unanimous consent to make the member for Toronto—Danforth the leader of the opposition for the rest of the day.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am not sure that is a motion that the Speaker can entertain at this time. I doubt that consent would be granted anyway.

There are only a couple of minutes left, so I will give the floor back to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade to conclude his speech.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that I have a little bit more time left but I do have a lot more to say that cannot be crammed into a bare 20 minutes of discussion on this important issue.

I was talking about a re-engagement with the Americas. When I was at the WTO talks in Delhi, Bolivia wanted to talk about Canadian investment. Even the NDP would understand that Bolivia certainly does not have a centrist government, that it would be a left of centre government, but it wants the Canadian extractive sector in Bolivia because we are the best in the world at what we do. We have very high corporate social standards and many countries want to do business with us.

I have tried to understand but I cannot wrap my head around why two parties in the House cannot see the advantages in this agreement. They can only see the disadvantages in this agreement. The disadvantages will be quickly left behind once this agreement comes into force because we will then have a clear set of rules and a clear set of guidelines. We will have enhanced rules on the environment, enhanced rules on labour and enhanced rules on human rights, all of which I would expect they would be happy about.

I have worked on this trade agreement for three years, including visiting Colombia, listening to over 122 witnesses at committee, speaking in this House a number of times and listening to over 50 speeches on this issue. It has been debated to death. Now it is time for democracy to actually prevail and have members in this place vote on it.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 1:38 p.m., pursuant to order made on Wednesday, June 9, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the bill now before the House.

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACTGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 45, the recorded division stands deferred until Monday, June 14, at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.

Canada Labour CodePrivate Members' Business

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

moved that Bill C-386, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce Bill C-386, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers). I would like to summarize it. Parliamentarians in this House are familiar with this bill as this is not the first time it has been introduced. We continue to hope that the Liberal and Conservative members will understand its importance.

On the one hand, the bill would prohibit employers governed by the Canada Labour Code from hiring replacement workers to carry out the duties of striking or locked out employees; on the other hand, it would require employers to maintain essential services. It also sets out fines for violations.

The best way to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of those who are building today's society is to truly respect their rights, starting with eliminating the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout.

Therefore, it is imperative that workers governed by federal legislation have the same rights as those governed by Quebec's labour laws, including the true right to strike. By employees under federal jurisdiction we mean those working in telecommunications, the media, the Internet, banking, ports, marine transportation, bridges, and air and rail transportation.

The Canada Labour Code must be amended and brought into line with the Quebec Labour Code. Anti-scab legislation would ensure that workers governed by federal legislation enjoy balanced bargaining power. That is the objective of Bill C-386.

Unlike in Quebec, which has prohibited replacement workers since 1977, there is currently nothing in the Canada Labour Code that clearly and specifically prohibits the use of replacement workers.

Subsection 94(2.1) of the Canada Labour Code contains a prohibition relating to replacement workers, but only where an employer uses replacement workers for the purpose of undermining a trade union's representational capacity.

However, a firm prohibition is essential for civilized bargaining to take place during a labour dispute and to promote industrial peace, and is also the cornerstone for establishing an equitable balance of power between employers and employees.

I will give some examples. Quebec workers in industries that are governed by the Canada Labour Code make up about 8% of the Quebec labour force.

According to Quebec's labour department, Quebec workers whose employer is federally regulated are almost always overrepresented in the number of days of work lost because of disputes.

While they account for just under 8% of Quebec's labour force, they experienced 18% of the person-days lost in 2004 and 22.6% of the person-days lost in 2003. In fact, a peak was reached in 2002. While 7.3% of Quebec workers were employed in federally regulated organizations, they accounted for 48% of days of work lost because of labour disputes.

In a nutshell, there were, on average, two and a half times more person-days lost in the last decade in labour disputes in Quebec involving workers governed by the Canada Labour Code than those workers represent in demographic weight.

This means that the disputes last longer and are therefore more violent. Such disputes are happening right now in Quebec, just as they have occurred over the past ten years. Consider the dispute at Sécur, or the Vidéotron dispute that lasted over six months and involved acts of sabotage. There was also the dispute at the Cargill grain elevator in Baie-Comeau that ended in 2003 after a three-year lockout imposed by the employer.

Let us not forget Radio Nord and the television networks: TVA, TQS in Abitibi and CBC. We saw this with the Journal de Québec and we are seeing it now with the Journal de Montréal.

From the beginning, the Conservative government has indicated its opposition by hiding behind doom and gloom scenarios because it lacks any real arguments, when the situation is clear in the details I just provided. In the statistics on days of work lost to labour disputes alone, we see that workers under the Canada Labour Code are without work two and a half times longer than workers governed by Quebec labour laws, which prohibit the use of replacement workers.

This is not the first time this type of bill has come before the House. The last time, we introduced Bill C-257, which passed at second reading. At report stage, the Liberals decided to reverse course, saying that the bill did not include measures on essential services. That is why the bill before us today includes the protection of essential services. We are prepared to do our part.

I will try to explain something. We are at a turning point in employer-employee relations. A number of major companies are located in my riding: Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, and Pratt & Whitney to name a few.

I am interested in labour relations. I recently attended a seminar on the sociology of work. The Conservatives, and even the Liberals, are not aware of the change taking place in our society. The new generations do not look at work the same way we do. I am part of the baby boom generation. Those who came before me are part of what sociologists call the veteran generation. After me come generations X and Y. Baby boomers like me, and the veterans who came before me—my father—have lived to work, while generations X and Y work to live. It is completely different. Who is right? Did we take our work too seriously? Perhaps we were afraid to lose our jobs because there were so many of us. Now, the young generations no longer have this mindset about work. They think more about their family. They think more and more about balancing work and family. I would add that employers who do not understand that will simply not survive. In other words, they will not be able to find employees to work for them.

I realize that the Conservatives and Liberals will always be regressive when it comes to replacement worker legislation. However, it is not helpful if we allow employers to use scabs or replacement workers to avoid resolving a conflict. We will see more and more businesses under federal jurisdiction having a hard time finding employees. We already see that in the interprovincial ground transportation sector. Employers have a very hard time recruiting employees, and the average age is very high. It is not very well known, but there is currently a shortage of airplane pilots. The new generation does not like the schedules and working conditions in the airline industry. That is a reality we will have to face. Banks are also having a hard time recruiting employees. You need only visit a branch to see how many retirees have been brought back on contract, because the banks could not fill their positions. The new generations want work environments that encourage personal development.

If we allow a business to use replacement workers during a conflict, and if there are lockouts, and jobs are lost in an economic sector for two, three or four years—that is not uncommon—there will be no new employees coming into businesses of that kind.

That is what is in store for companies under federal jurisdiction. It would be nice to keep managing as though people were all still veterans and baby boomers, but companies need to be careful because generations X and Y see work in a whole new way.

Here in the House of Commons, we have to be visionaries. It is time to make companies, particularly those in sectors under federal jurisdiction, understand that they cannot use replacement workers to avoid conflict resolution. The time has also come to add essential services. Businesses in certain sectors provide services to all communities. Those services should therefore be considered essential and even mandatory in some cases.

The Bloc Québécois has always been against forcing people to stay on the job and always will be, but it is important to negotiate essential services and maintain certain services. When disputes arise, it is important for employees to have the right to strike so they can make the employer understand that things are not working. That is the best way to move labour relations forward.

Over the past few months and the past year, a forestry company in my riding, the Fraser company in Thurso, placed itself under the protection of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act because it did not have a recovery plan and had decided to sell the company.

I have been a member of the House since 2000. In my own way, I advised the president of the company union, who is a childhood friend. Every time he negotiated an agreement—there have been four since 2000—he asked me what I thought of the situation. I always advised him to the extent of my knowledge, but I am not clairvoyant.

I looked at what was happening at the Conference Board and at Statistics Canada in terms of employers' offers. I talked to him about it, and it was all very nice. Often, after the negotiations, I found that much of the advice I had given him had found its way into the final agreements.

This past year was a terrible one for the employees. Just prior to June of last year, they found out that their company was closing.

My friend called me again to tell me that it seemed to be over and to ask what I thought. I told him that “it ain't over 'til it's over.” Good old Piton Ruel of the Montreal Canadiens used to say that. The same can be said of an exercise that decides the fate of an industry.

The only advice I gave him was to approach the employer about renegotiating working conditions, in case the company were to start up again.

It is not easy for employees and an employer to talk together. It is easier when you know you will keep your job, but when you have already lost your job and no one knows if the company will survive, that makes it hard.

Believe it or not, they negotiated new terms for working conditions in the three or four months following the closure, even though the company was not in production mode. It was difficult. Salaries were reduced by 20% and retirement eligibility was moved from age 55 to 65, but it meant that the company was able to start up again. The company's buyer had no say in the working conditions that had been negotiated by the employer's representatives and the employees while the company was closed. That meant that the company could start up again.

If this company had been under federal jurisdiction and a lock-out had been imposed, these employees would have been laid off for three or four years and the union and employer would never have been able to start negotiations. The tension would have been so bad that they would have wanted the company to close because of the lay-offs.

Once again, I am asking my colleagues to vote in favour of this bill, which is a new way of looking at labour relations.

Canada Labour CodePrivate Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for introducing this legislation. As the member knows, this legislation has been in force in Quebec since René Lévesque's day, in 1977. I notice that it has survived many changes in government, as well. When the Liberals become government, they do not repeal it, as was the case in Ontario when Mike Harris came in, and the current government of Jean Charest has not repealed it either. Obviously it must have some beneficial effects in Quebec.

Could the member give us some statistics as to why and how this legislation has survived so long in the province of Quebec?

Canada Labour CodePrivate Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the statistics I just gave speak for themselves. There are two and half times fewer days of work stoppages because of lock-outs or strikes at companies under provincial jurisdiction than at companies under federal jurisdiction. This means that disputes are shorter and therefore less likely to become acrimonious.

As the saying goes, what is left lying around gets dirty. That is definitely the case with labour relations in companies under federal jurisdiction. Disputes go on far too long and they become dirty because people hold grudges for decades. When the time comes to try to save a company together, people would often rather see it close and the owner lose everything because he did not manage to find the right balance in labour relations.

Labour relations need to be protected by legislation, as they are in Quebec, where there is a true right to strike and essential services are maintained. That is a fairer and more balanced way to deal with labour relations.

Canada Labour CodePrivate Members' Business

1:55 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the member would probably agree that the goal of any legislation like this, or the goal of workplace relations, should be to reduce the incidence or duration of strikes. I know that he has talked about some within the Quebec jurisdiction. However, I would like to ask him if, at the federal level, he has any evidence that legislation like this would actually produce either of those results, a reduction in either the incidence or duration of workplace stoppages.