House approves bill to end Montreal port strike

The House of Commons early on Thursday morning approved Bill C-29, the legislation to put an end to the strike at the Port of Montreal.

The minority Liberal government garnered the support of the Conservatives to pass the bill by a vote of 255-61. Three Liberals, as well as Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Green MPs, voted against it, news reports said.

Port de Montréal
The Senate on Friday will deal with the back-to-work legislation regarding the Port of Montreal strike. (Photo: Port of Montreal)

Montreal, one of Canada’s busiest ports has been shut after 1,150 dockworkers struck work on April 26.

The legislation must still be passed by the Senate, which is scheduled to deal with the bill Friday.

During late-night debate on the bill Wednesday, labour minister Filomena Tassi said if the strike is allowed to drag on it would cost the economy $40 million to $100 million per week, directly threatening 19,000 jobs and indirectly affecting hundreds of thousands of other jobs across the country.

After Senate approval, the longshoremen would be forced to return to work. 

The legislation would extend their previous collective agreement until a new one is negotiated and prohibit any strikes or lockouts in the meantime. If negotiations fail again, the bill would impose a mediator-arbitrator on both parties.

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