I don't know about other Canadians but I find it a bit strange that a bill can be passed through parliament and then in effect ignored by the government! The defeat of the anti-scab legislation by many Liberals voting with the Conservatives shows how little federal power organised labor has. Some provinces already have anti-scab legislation.
MPs back Martin's bill to resurrect Kelowna pact
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | 8:18 PM ET
MPs voted on Wednesday to support former prime minister Paul Martin's private member's bill calling on the government to resurrect the $5.1-billion Kelowna Accord on First Nations health care, education and housing.
All three opposition parties voted in favour of the bill by Martin, MP for the Montreal riding of LaSalle-Émard. But the Conservatives were uniformly opposed and have indicated they will ignore the measure. A private member's bill cannot compel the government of the day to spend money.
The vote came just two days after Stephen Harper's government introduced its 2007 budget, which has been criticized for including few new programs for Canada's First Nations communities.
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has said that with more than $9 billion a year already dedicated to native affairs, more federal cash is not the answer.
"It did not deal with the underlying issues, the systemic reforms that need to be undertaken so that we can start to make progress," he said. "This is not simply about pouring more money into the top of the funnel."
Prentice said the key is to help aboriginal people become more financially independent and the federal budget contains new measures to help people on reserves to buy homes and get jobs.
But aboriginal leaders have said what they really need is more money.
Replacement worker's bill rejected
Also on Wednesday, MPs also voted down a private member's bill that would have made it illegal for employers to hire replacement workers while their own employees are locked out or on strike.
Bill C-257, which was introduced by Bloc MP Richard Nadeau, was defeated 176-124.
The Conservatives and most Liberals opposed the bill, while the Bloc and the NDP supported it.
The Liberals withdrew their support for the bill earlier this month after essential services amendments proposed by party labour critic Mario Silva were ruled inadmissible by House Speaker Peter Milliken.
Those opposed to the bill said it would have crippled industry and made it harder for thousands of small businesses across Canada to survive.
But the bill's supporters dismissed such claims, citing similar legislation that exists in B.C. and Quebec.
Labour groups accused business lobbyists of waging "a campaign of fear" for several months to force MPs to question their support for the bill.
Business advocates warned that key infrastructure, such as transportation and telecommunications, could halt completely in the event of a strike or lockout.
Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said his party will introduce a similar bill with safeguards for essential services.
With files from the Canadian Press