Bill C-257, a law to ban scab labour at the federal level, was voted down in the House of Commons today. The vote at second reading was 167-101 in favour. However, at third reading, parliamentarians rejected the bill by a vote of 122-177, with the entire BQ and NDP caucuses voting in favour.
Corporate Canada's massive lobbying effort paid off and the majority of the Liberal caucus showed their true colours.
How did prominent Liberals vote on Bill C-257?
What about the Conservatives?
Only one Conservative MP supported the bill, Jeff Watson from Essex.
As expected, the Tories overwhelmingly opposed the bill (although a handful did support it at second reading). It is interesting to note that St. Catharines MP, Rick Dykstra, one of the few Conservatives who supported the bill at second reading, decided to vote against it at third reading. Dykstra had assured local unions in Niagara that he would be supporting the bill. Organized labour in Niagara is unlikely to forget this flip flop. When Dykstra came out in support of the bill originally, many trade unionists were pleasantly surprised. Dykstra likely supported the bill to appease or neutralize the labour movement in St. Catharines, which has some political clout. Having won the St. Catharines seat by only a couple hundred votes in 2006, Dykstra was looking to make friends. However, someone with more political savvy may have informed him that organized labour was not exactly fertile ground for new Conservative votes. He clearly was pressured into changing his vote by the corporate lobby. The political fallout from Dykstra's flip flop is likely going to be significant. Why? Because unions are more willing to fight over something they had and then lost rather than something they never had in the first place. In other words, if Dykstra didn't want anti-scab legislation, he should have voted against it from the start. By extending an olive branch to unions and then using instead to beat them over the head will surely raise the ire of organized labour.
For more background info click here, here, and here.