I hope that enough Liberals and Conservatives will vote for Bill C-257 to pass it on March 21. However, Stephan Dion and his labour critic have announced that they will not support it because the Speaker ruled their essential-service amendments inadmissable.
The Canada Labour Code already protects essential services during labour disputes. Workers in federally regulated industries are permitted to go on strike only if they maintain essential services to the Canada Industrial Relations Boardâ€™s satisfaction. It is, therefore, quite misleading to argue that replacement workers are needed to maintain essential services during strikes.
While the Liberal amendments may have been well-intentioned, they were substantively unnecessary and procedurally out of order. Their function has been to allow Dion to oppose Bill C-257 while claiming to support anti-scab legislation in principle.Â This episode must be assessed with reference to Dion’s stances on other economic issues and previous opposition to anti-scab legislation.