Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stephane Dion Liberals stop anti-replacement worker legislation from passing

Stephane Dion and Liberal MPs vote against anti-replacement worker Bill C-257 despite earlier support, killing the legislation.

So much for the "progressive" or "centre left" federal Liberal Party under Dion.

Despite most Liberal MPs earlier supporting Bill C-257 - which would have blocked the use of scabs during strikes or lockouts - after Dion spoke out against it in a caucus meeting Wednesday the bill was doomed.

This afternoon it was defeated by a vote of 177 to 122 on third reading.

New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois MPs voted in favour, while most Conservatives and a majority of Liberals voted against, according to Canadian Press. A vote breakdown by MP is not yet available.

“The bill does not clarify enough the situation of the essential workers,” Dion said. “If there is a strike in a port, an airport, bank, the effect on the Canadian economy would be very huge.”

But Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti denounced a "campaign of fear" by corporations against the legislation and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe blamed Dion for the loss.

“It's a shame, it's a shame,” Duceppe said. “We were going to win for the first time, but Dion was influenced by big business.”

Bill C-257 would only have affected federally regulated employers. BC and Quebec have had legislation banning replacement workers for many years and supporters of the federal bill pointed out that the dire predictions of disaster from national business organizations had failed to materialize in those two provinces.

Dion claims his party will introduce its own bill with provisions to exempt essential services from a ban on replacement workers.


BC Mary said...

The British Columbian -- and Canadian -- electorate has been taking an awful beating the last while.

I didn't see or hear much background to Stephane Dion's strange anti-worker position ... could it have been blacked out by our strange anti-worker Big Media?

No, I'm grasping at straws. But what a shock to go 50 years backward in labour legislation. Just like that.

I hope for an early election, both provincial and federal. I really want to hurt somebody with a big black X.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks Mary - there was minimal reporting on the anti-scab legislation except in the National Post, which featured repeated attacks on the legislation.

Dion caved in last week after repeated entreaties from national business organizations to oppose Bill C-257.

So much for the "progressive" Liberal Party.