House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an important question, as I tried to point out in my comments. NDP provincial governments, not one or two but a number of provincial NDP governments, have agreed that there are circumstances where it is necessary to bring in back-to-work legislation. We have seen NDP governments do that. Therefore, the principle of using it is very widely accepted with the provincial NDP.

On the other hand, the national NDP does not want to answer the question, and it is simple one. Are there circumstances in which the federal NDP would bring in back-to-work legislation? It is a very important question.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

April 28th, 2021 / 7:15 p.m.

Bloc

Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by my colleague from Winnipeg North, and I would like to refresh his memory.

He stated that he followed the process and the evolution of the negotiations. On August 10, his colleague, the Minister of Labour, stated that the best deals are made at the table. However, today, there are no negotiations, we have only special legislation. The government is clearly being inconsistent.

Not that long ago, on April 9, the situation changed when the employer decided to impose schedules on the workers. The union agreed that its members would return to work tomorrow morning if the employer would agree to reconsider its position on shift scheduling.

The question is simple. Did anyone in cabinet or from the Minister of Labour's office call the employer and ask him to back down on shift scheduling?

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, on the specifics of the two offices, the member would have to pose that question to them directly.

Ultimately my friend needs to answer at least in part the question that I posed to my New Democratic friends. The only example that I can give would be René Lévesque and I do not know if he, or any other separatist government. ever brought in back-to-work legislation, but the people of Quebec need to know and have a right to know.

We know that members of Parliament from Quebec in the Liberal caucus are a powerful group of people. They are very influential, and they will stand up for the Province of Quebec and Montreal, the economic hub and one of Canada's greatest communities. However, I do not think that the Bloc in the House of Commons is prepared to do that, and I find that somewhat disappointing and sad.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:15 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not happy to speak on this issue tonight, but I am glad to have a slot to do so.

I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.

I come from a port city. The city of Windsor has one of the most robust ports in the Great Lakes system. The residents have been maritime people for many years, since the founding of the country.

I want to talk about this back-to-work legislation, Government Business No. 5, in a number of different contexts. The first thing I want to talk about, though, are the interventions we have just heard by the parliamentary secretary, who represents the Prime Minister, as well as other Liberals, who have referred to PPE being withheld or at risk at the Port of Montreal despite CUPE giving assurances about that.

Recently in an exchange, the parliamentary secretary said that he did not have the expertise or the details. that he did not profess to know them, but here is the thing. How disingenuous is it to say that someone is a friend of labour, a friend of CUPE or a friend of any organization and use a threat like that in this debate. Ontario is suffering through this situation as well as Quebec and other places across our country, and to suggest, without knowing or having specifics or details, that it is a sinister approach by CUPE to withhold PPE in this labour dispute is an affront to all labour across the country.

I hope labour unions of all stripes take up this debate along with some of the things that have been said, because I cannot think of a bigger insult right now. Those who do not have specific information cannot point to some of these things and insinuate something like that after spending 10 minutes before that, saying what great friends they are of labour but, by the way, they are holding up the safety of Canadians right now. What a disingenuous way to profess one's love and support of labour. What a disingenuous thing to say about the men and women who serve every single day, who have had this hanging over their heads for a number of years.

Do people think they want to be on strike right now? Do they think they want to get up every single day and worry about strike pay, about the future of their jobs, about their benefits or what their loved ones will have? They are all at risk. The risk is not just with Canada, it is with these workers. What are these workers doing? Historically, we are looking at dangerous situations in ports. Internationally, we have most recently seen Beirut, but domestically we have also seen things at our historic port in Halifax. Recently, the Port of Vancouver had several major accidents. That is because of the working conditions are very difficult for these men and women every single day.

Why do workers go on strike? They go on strike because of grievances. Historically, those grievances include child labour, 12-hour days, sexism and racism at the workplace. They include a whole series of things, which is why workers have to band together and it is why we have Labour Day.

We have Labour Day in this country, like many other countries in the industrialized world, because workers had to band together to get safer conditions. Today, on the National Day of Mourning, for the Liberals to say that those workers are using PPE as a negotiating tactic against Canadians is insulting, at best. It is irresponsible.

This dispute has been going on for some time now. There is potential for a solution, but what we have here is no different than scabs. It is where a a piece of paper is going to make people have to get up and go somewhere when they do not think they are being treated right at the workplace and the only leverage they have is what they give up. They give up their life, their time and their safety. They want to go to work every single day and be productive citizens, but it has come to this point for a lot of different reasons. It did not just materialize overnight. People do not want to give up their pay, they do not want to give up their job security and they do not want to a workplace where they are stigmatized. They are using the only thing they can, which is not working, unless they are made to do so. That is what is happening now. It is no different than scabs.

They want to go to work every single day and be productive citizens, but it has come to this for a lot different reasons. This did not materialize overnight. Nobody wants to give up their pay or their job security. It is no different than scabs. They are being made, by a piece of paper, to go in or lose their jobs. They lose everything: their pensions, their benefits and all the security, and during this uncertain time. That undermining of the leverage will create animosity. It will undo all the work that has gone into trying to negotiate a settlement.

Coming from a port town, where ports are regulated under the Marine Transportation Security Act, they have a lot of power. They have a lot of leverage. What do people have as their one thing to do? To band together and demand a fair bargained agreement, and this situation right here is being taken from them. It is being taken from them and it is not fair to those individuals. It is not fair to their families and it is also not fair to businesses.

I come from a labour town, and we have had various strikes. We have had sit-down strikes, have helped create the Rand Formula and have done a series of different things. I was most recently on a picket line for Local 195, where a hedge fund bought a company in the auto sector and shut it down, which created a loss of over 60 jobs. I want to thank Emile Nabbout and Local 195. All the men and women there lost their jobs because a company took part of their pay and benefits and they had to negotiate a settlement. They did not want to be out on the streets in the winter. During COVID they wanted to be making money for their families to ensure their safety, but had to band together and stop vehicles from being taken out of the place, despite being owed benefits, money and so forth.

One of the things we have to understand and appreciate is this is a last resort for unions. Taking away this as a collective right, as the government is doing, is the wrong policy. In my city, I have seen difficult strikes. Once they get through those, an agreement is set and a principle laid down, it makes for a better, longer relationship than it does by something being enforced and imposed.

Who wants the will of someone else to force a settlement? Imagine buying a car or a house and being forced into a settlement, not having a choice at the end of the day. Nobody likes that. Nobody likes that imposition. If later on there is agreement to go to binding arbitration, that is one thing, but to use the powers of Parliament right here and right now and choose this moment against the men and women in Montreal is unbelievably brutal.

There is no doubt not everybody is going to agree with this position, but they have this collective right, which is part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It has been part of successful negotiations that have ended major grievances against working people and have uplifted many people across this country, whether it be about time off work, proper pay or safer working conditions.

As I mentioned, today is the National Day of Mourning. According to 2019 stats, the last stats available to us, just under 1,000 Canadians went to work that year and never came home. They never got a chance to say goodbye. They went to work and never came home, leaving children and loved ones and estates not settled, just for trying to put food on the table.

Today of all days, there should be recognition by the government. If it has any ounce of credibility with regard to this issue, it should actually apologize to the people of CUPE and other labour organizations for using PPE as a tool in this dispute over how to be best compensated. At the end of the day, everybody wants a successful solution. Making people do things with a piece of paper is not it. I ask the government to rescind and go back to having honest brokered negotiations and a settlement that will be lasting not only for the people of the Port of Montreal but all of our country.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member probably knows what my question is going to be. It is going to be very simple and I would really appreciate a direct answer because no NDP member has given a direct answer on this.

Is there a threshold by which the NDP would support legislation like this? Is there ever an opportunity that NDP members would and, if so, what is that threshold? If the answer is no, that the NDP will never, ever support it, that is fine but I would just like the member to say that. Will the member ever support this type of legislation, or not?

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question is a hypothetical. I am supposed to come up with an answer to a broad-ranged hypothetical. What hypothetical child care plan do the Liberals have? What hypothetical pharmacare would they ever support?

What we have right now, in our situation, in the palms of our hands, is a piece of legislation that would make men and women in the Port of Montreal go back and have to work. We would force them to do that.

I am supposed to respond to some improbable hypothetical question of all kinds of unlimited situations and scenarios. It is immature in terms of the actual question in itself. It is really not genuine to the issue here and it is disrespectful to the men and women of CUPE where we have very particular and very specific information about them. That is what is at stake here.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I heard a lot today certainly about the minister being the daughter of a steelworker. I also come from a family and a father who were in strong support of unions, who taught me not to be a scab, not to turn our backs on workers fighting for their rights. This seems to be a pattern with the current government.

I will give an example: 2018, the postal workers, and putting in emergency legislation to force them back to work. Now we have the port. It is the same behaviour. The current government is demonstrating that it does not respect workers and when they are not toeing the line the Liberals will just abuse their rights, throw a rickshaw on our Constitution and impose emergency back-to-work legislation.

I wonder if my hon. colleague could respond to that.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:30 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, my father was a marketing and incentives manager for Chrysler, in management. That is part of who I am, but is it relevant to this debate here today? It is generally a shield that is used at different times to justify a position.

The reality is we have the facts in front of us from the Port of Montreal and CUPE, and we have all the facts about what the government wants to do here. They do not add up to being a good situation in what is taking place. Instead of diversions like that, what we need to do is focus on whether this bill is the right thing to do for those individuals and also our country; and it fails on both tests.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:30 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am upset. I cannot believe that this government has issued formal notice this past Sunday on its intention to force through expedited legislation to force the workers at the Port of Montreal back to work before they even begin to strike.

The motion before us is an act to provide for the resumption and continuation of operations at the Port of Montreal. This back-to-work legislation would force workers back to work who had just commenced their general strike on Monday. As if it is not enough that this government is using back-to-work legislation, it is attempting to ram it through. The motion states that if the bill is adopted here at second reading, it shall be deemed as passed at all stages in the House.

As background on this, CUPE 375 represents 1,100 employees, and those employees are working for several different employers in the Port of Montreal who are represented by the Maritime Employers Association. Negotiations have been ongoing now for about three years to obtain a new collective agreement. From the employees' perspective, the objective of these negotiations is an improvement of working conditions, what I would call work-life balance, particularly in terms of working hours, the right to disconnect and job security for new workers. The previous collective agreement for these workers expired in 2018.

Fast-forward to April of this year. After good-faith negotiations on behalf of the workers, the employer undermined the negotiation process by suspending the job security regime provided for in the collective agreement. Despite the fact that negotiations were continuing, and both sides were seemingly happy with the mediation process, the employer decided to give a 72-hour notice of its intention to not honour job security provisions in the collective agreement. In response, the union launched a partial strike, particularly because the Maritime Employers Association abolished the job security regime, which was acquired in 1970 and constitutes a pillar of their collective agreement.

The union made it clear that the workers would not strike if the employer reverted back to the working conditions applicable before April 10, 2021. The union gave the employer the opportunity to bring down the temperature, stop the pressure tactics and come back to the table to continue negotiating in good faith.

However, instead of respecting the workers' right to free collective bargaining, the Liberal government is introducing a bill that would force employees on strike back to work. From then on, the employer no longer has any incentive to negotiate in good faith, because the government has just sent the signal that negotiations are coming to an end.

The NDP has always defended the interest of unions and workers, and the Liberal government's back-to-work act is a serious denial of the right to strike. On January 30, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada released a landmark labour law decision in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan. The Supreme Court ruled and concluded that the right to strike is a constitutional right.

The minister, on Sunday, said on Twitter that “...a work stoppage is causing significant economic harm to Canadians.” It is very important to note that the general strike had not yet commenced. It was not until 7 a.m. the next day that the workers walked off the job. Now, I suppose the minister could have been referring to the action taken by the union to refuse overtime and weekend work, which was in response to the notice of suspending the job security provisions.

The first thing I would like to say about the impact of the refusal to work overtime and weekends in this general strike is that there will undoubtedly be disruptions. This is the very nature of how strikes work. For a government that proclaimed itself as being friends of labour, I would expect it to understand this. If governments applied back-to-work legislation every time a workplace went on strike, there would be no strikes. This kind of attempt at justification leads to a clear and sweeping disregard for the right that all workers are supposed to be afforded under the charter.

Second, if the Minister of Labour feels that she is in some sort of unprecedented situation where the impacts of a disruption would be so severe that she has to remove a charter right for strikes, then I would expect that she would have the data to back it up. For a government that says it believes in science and repeatedly talks about an evidence-based decision-making approach, I would surely hope that the minister had data and objective impact assessments before her when she deliberated on whether she would pre-emptively give notice for back-to-work legislation before these workers started their general strike.

I think, given the importance of this debate, all members should be afforded the data and information the minister had before she brought forward this motion and bill. I would ask that the minister table here in the House all the data and information she received before taking the significant step of fast-tracking back-to-work legislation, as part of an attempt to provide what I have heard the minister of fearmongering refer to as medicine and personal protective equipment that will not be able to get through. Again, if she has specific information to corroborate this, she can please share it with the House.

The minister, just one day after the general strike commenced, said, “The work stoppage we are seeing right now is causing harm.” She did not go on to cite any data whatsoever to support that claim. How could the government have collected data on the impacts the day after the strike started? This is one of many illustrations of the government trying to rationalize with speculations in order to explain away a decision to introduce this back-to-work legislation long after the decision has been made.

I also want to talk about what the Conservatives are saying in the chamber. The following is a quote from the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent:

It is not a victory for workers, for the employer, or for the business people and companies dealing with the problems resulting from the dispute, and it is certainly not a victory for parliamentarians.

It is important for Canadians to know the Conservatives appear to be planning to become complicit in this whole affair. They have made it very clear that they will be supporting this legislation.

I am happy to see the Bloc will not be supporting this legislation now, and it is in line with what I am saying: that the minister is fearmongering. My Bloc colleague from Thérèse-De Blainville called out the minister with the following:

The minister was saying that drugs will not get delivered. That is not true and it ignores the facts, because essential services are still being provided. All medical equipment...[is] being handled.

I have some understanding that if the minister believes otherwise, she should provide any related data or facts to the House.

I want to go on. I could go on forever about this, but I want to make an amendment.

I move:

That the motion be amended by replacing paragraph (d) with the following:

(d) if the bill is adopted at the second reading stage, it shall be deemed referred to a committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported with the following amendment:

That Bill C-29, in Clause 11, be amended

(a) by replacing line 39 on page 4 to line 10 on page 5 with the following: “such matter, hear the parties on the matter, arbitrate the matter and render a decision in respect of the matter; and”;

(b) by deleting lines 15 to 17 on page 5; and

(c) by replacing lines 25 to 36 on page 5 with the following: “(4) every decision of the mediator-arbitrator under paragraph (1)(b) must be worded in appropriate contractual language so as to allow its incorporation into a new collective agreement.”

that this be deemed concurred in at report stage as amended, and be deemed read a third time and passed.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The amendment is in order.

The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I asked a question of the previous speaker, the member for Windsor West, about whether there was any situation in which he would support such legislation. He responded to that by refusing to answer, because he insisted it was a hypothetical question.

It is not a hypothetical question. This is a question of whether or not someone supports the ability of a government to do this at any juncture in time. They either support the process of doing it or they do not.

My question to this member is the same. Is there ever a scenario in which he, or the NDP, would deem it necessary? If there is, what is that scenario? If not, that is fine, too. The member could just say no, there is no such scenario and that he will always refuse to support legislation such as this.

I am looking for a clear answer on this. I have not gotten it in the seven or eight times I have asked it of NDP members. Maybe this member could help me out.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am going to give the member the same answer everybody has been giving him.

It is a hypothetical question. However, for me, personally, it is a constitutional right, done by the Supreme Court of Canada, so I do not think we have the right to eliminate anybody from striking in a labour dispute.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent speech and the amendment. The NDP is endeavouring to right what has been a most egregious siding with big, multinational billionaire corporations rather than with the workers at the Port of Montreal, who have been so dedicated.

I note, as many of the NDP speakers have, that today is the Day of Mourning. It is particularly egregious that the Liberals have brought in this draconian legislation on a day when we should be mourning the nearly 1,000 Canadians who die each year due to unsafe workplaces. Often, the labour movement has made the difference in putting in place health and safety regulations that help to address that.

I know the member comes from the shop floor. He has a keen understanding of what the women and men, the workers who have built this country, are subject to. I have a simple question for him.

Why has the government intervened so clearly on the employer's side, with big billionaire corporations? How and when did it signal to the employers that it was going to take their side in this dispute?

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:45 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an excellent question. The signal that it gives them is absolutely wrong, and it is disappointing that any government would go forward and take away the right of a union even before a strike has happened. That is deplorable and it is unconstitutional, but, from the letters that I have received, this has been going on for a couple of months. The employer has sent letters to the minister, basically asking the government to do something. It looks like the Liberal government has bent and given that upper hand to the employer and taken away 1,120 employees' rights to bargain in good faith.

I am really disappointed in the way the company has handled this. That is because there was a resolution done yesterday, but it still refused that. The company does not want to bargain in good faith. It has no intention of bargaining in good faith, and it knows that it has the Liberals in its back pocket to exercise their big muscle and do away with any of the employees' rights.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:45 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to speak on behalf of Davenport residents on Bill C-29, which would require employees and employers at the Port of Montreal to resume operations. There is currently a work stoppage due to a long-standing dispute between the Montreal longshoremen's union and the Maritime Employers Association. Unfortunately, this bill is urgently needed.

The Port of Montreal is the second-largest container port in Canada. Every year it handles around 40 billion dollars' worth of goods. The current work stoppage is causing dire economic impacts in Montreal and across the country. It has health implications, and it is threatening the viability and reputation of the port. These reasons and more are why it is important to pass this bill immediately.

I know the Minister of Labour introduced this bill with a very heavy heart. She is the daughter of a steel worker, and I know she felt it was her last option. I also know it was our government's least favoured option. We believe in the collective bargaining process. We believe in our workers' right to strike. In the heart of my own riding of Davenport, which is mostly composed of working-class communities and has many first-generation Canadians, many constituents are part of a union. Unions protect them, ensure safer and better working conditions, and ensure fair pay for their valuable working contributions.

To this day, Davenport continues to be home to working people. I, myself, am the daughter of working-class immigrant parents. I grew up appreciating the value and dignity of labour, and the need for fair, safe and healthy workplaces. There are many unions in my riding that are active. They are pillars of the community in Davenport. I want to thank them now for everything they do to protect the rights and interests of our workers.

In the case of the Port of Montreal, our government has demonstrated our commitment to the collective bargaining process. In this case, through over two and a half years of mediation, CUPE Local 375 and Maritime Employers Association have been at the table since September 2018. Our federal government has supported the mediation process since October 11, 2018.

Our government provided significant support in making our top mediators available to them to help them reach a new collective agreement, and this amounted to 100 days of mediated bargaining. Very little progress has been made. Both parties remain far apart, and there is now a work stoppage with enormous implications. The broad economic and health consequences of the current work stoppage have left us with no choice but to take this step.

I want to echo something the Minister of Labour said when she introduced this bill. When a work stoppage impacts only the workers and the employers in question, there is no justification for the government to intervene, but in this case, the dire, long-lasting impacts to the economy of Quebec, eastern Canada and the entire country are so severe that the government must protect all the other jobs that are at stake.

Let us talk numbers. Right now, the current strike is halting the flow of around $270 million per week. Economic modelling puts the cost to our economy between $40 million and $100 million per week. The port has experienced a 10% decrease of container volume, estimated to be worth $30 million per week for the month of March 2021, compared to the previous year. The volume of containers arriving at the port bound for the Canadian market has declined by 9% year over year, while the volume of containers bound for the U.S. market has declined by 19%.

The work stoppage is paralyzing the port, forcing companies to reroute their supply chains and incur significant additional costs in the process. In addition, this is happening during a pandemic when our businesses are already under enormous economic strain and stress. This only adds additional, unwelcomed pressure at a time when too many companies are just trying to survive.

Let me bring it back to my own riding and the people I have the absolute honour of serving. My riding of Davenport in downtown west Toronto is home to many Portuguese speakers, including those from the Brazilian-Canadian community. They, and many stakeholders specifically from the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce, have raised with me over the past year the issue of the disruption of trade between Canada and Brazil and the impact it is having on many small businesses here in Toronto and the broader GTA.

There are so many other stakeholders who are being impacted in Canada, including farmers, who have been waiting for seeds and fertilizer, which they need to arrive on time. It impacts their livelihoods. It impacts our food supply chains and business contracts.

There are 19,000 direct and indirect transportation jobs at the Port of Montreal that are being impacted, including rail and trucking jobs. As well, there are 250,000 jobs in Montreal and another 273,000 manufacturing jobs in Ontario that are also very much impacted.

Other industries in Canada also depend on the goods that flow through this port. Many, as I have mentioned before, are already struggling to adapt and recover from the COVID recession. The diversion of ships to other ports, including those in the United States, could permanently change shipping routes and cut Montreal out of important supply chains for the long term. Canada's reputation as a reliable trading partner is at risk, and the reputation of the Port of Montreal is at risk as well.

The work stoppage also has implications for the health of Canadians. As the minister has mentioned a number of times, right now there are ships waiting that are holding life-saving medicines and medical equipment, some of which is COVID-related. I understand that the minister has heard from many who have said that this strike has life-and-death implications as many hospitals are waiting for medicines and medical equipment.

Let me touch on the key things the bill would do. It would extend the expired collective agreement until a new collective agreement comes into effect. It would prohibit any other work stoppages until the extended agreement expires. It would require the minister to appoint a mediator-arbitrator, one who is jointly approved by the parties or, failing that, a neutral person of the minister's choice. It would refer all disputed matters to the mediator-arbitrator, and it would require them to attempt to resolve the dispute within 14 days.

It would also empower the mediator to resolve outstanding issues to arbitration if mediation fails. It would provide for the new collective agreement to become binding for the two parties when the mediator-arbitrator reports back to the minister. If, on the other hand, the parties reach a new collective agreement before the mediator-arbitrator reports back, that new agreement would be binding instead.

There have been a number of objections raised over the course of our discussion yesterday and today, and one of them is that the government has not done enough. I think that the minister and many of my colleagues from all parties have pointed out, particularly colleagues from my side of the House, that we have spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to make sure that we have offered every available tool to allow the two sides to come together. We have offered our best mediators, and they have accumulated over 100 hours of mediation time. We have also offered whatever other tools are available that could be at their disposal. Unfortunately, the two sides are still too far apart.

Some may also say that this legislation takes away bargaining powers from the parties. I would say that, on the contrary, the parties are still negotiating now. The minister has strongly encouraged them to reach an agreement before this legislation is passed because that is the best way to actually reach an agreement. We know that the bill also contains several key provisions to keep the collective bargaining process going.

The bill creates a clear path to finally resolve the dispute in a way that is fair and that is neutral. We do not want to disrupt the collective bargaining process. Our government believes that both sides getting together to reach an agreement is one that is good for both of them without the government getting involved. To us that is absolutely the very best outcome. Hopefully that is where it will end up.

If circumstances were different, our government would not be intervening. We would let the bargaining process continue, but in this case, unfortunately, the cost of the work stoppage to other Canadians is too great. Therefore, our government is introducing the bill to mitigate those harms to other Canadians, workers and businesses, and to give the parties a pathway to a new and fair collective agreement.

I trust that my colleagues in all parties will agree that these dire circumstances leave us no choice but to introduce this bill in this House. We have to have this debate and this vote. We are asking for all sides to say that this is a reasonable step for us to be taking at this point, as we have exhausted all other options.

We are coming to the end of my time. I think I probably have about a minute left. Is that right, Mr. Speaker?

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

You have 10 minutes.

I will ask you to wait one moment. We have the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands rising on a point of order.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Does this not end at 8 p.m.?

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

For the final speech, the hon. member who is presenting can continue until the end of his or her speech, so whenever the hon. member is ready, she can stop and we will continue from there.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, will there still be questions and comments?

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

No, that is it. After 8 p.m. there are no questions. She can finish her discourse, and then we will have the vote.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the point of order from my hon. colleague, as well as your clarification, as I am not sure I have enough speech for another 10 minutes.

I will conclude. The Port of Montreal is an economic hub. It is very much critical to the economic well-being of Canadians across this country, particularly in Quebec and eastern Canada. The current work stoppage at the port is unfortunately causing significant long-lasting impacts to Quebec's economy and Canada's economy. It is adding a lot of stress to the supply chains that are already under significant strain due to COVID-19.

For over two and a half years, our government has provided extensive support to help both sides, to the Montreal longshoremen's union as well as the Maritime Employers Association. We have provided extensive help to try to get them to reach an agreement. That help includes over 100 days of mediated bargaining. However, despite substantial support and multiple work disruptions in the past, both parties remain far apart, and there is a new work stoppage under way.

That is why we have put forward a bill that would end the economic harm to the Canadian economy, ensure the safe resumption of operations at the port and establish a neutral mediation arbitration process to finally resolve the parties' disputes and conclude a new collective agreement. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-29.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

8 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It being 8 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of Government Business No. 5 now before the House.

The question is on the amendment.

If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division, or that the amendment be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and so indicate to the Chair.

The hon. member for London—Fanshawe.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

8 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP requests a recorded division.

Proceedings on a Bill Entitled An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Operations at the Port of MontrealGovernment Orders

8 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #100