Harper government signals plan to push through legislation to end CP Rail strike

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The Canadian Press

OTTAWA: Labour Minister Kellie Leitch says federal legislation to force an end to the Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) strike is vital because the work stoppage threatens the economy.

The House of Commons is currently debating the process that will see the back-to-work legislation rushed through once it is formally introduced later today.

Leitch says the strike would cost the economy $205 million in GDP every week and the effects will ripple through many industries.

She says it will hit everyone from commuters in Montreal to resource companies and farmers.

The proposed legislation comes a day after 3,300 locomotive engineers and other CP train workers walked off the job following failed contract talks.

The minister said the two sides have had plenty of time to reach an agreement.

“We are experiencing a work stoppage at Canadian Pacific Railway that will significantly impact our Canadian economy,” Leitch told the Commons as she formally signalled the government’s plan to intervene.

“Canadian employees, members of the public, international trade and our national economy will suffer.”

A number of issues are still on the table, she added.

Teamsters union president Douglas Finnson says the government’s intervention is disappointing and premature, but CP Rail supports the move.

No new contract talks are scheduled.

In 2012, the federal government passed legislation to force an end to a nine-day strike by some 4,800 striking members of the Teamsters union and CP Rail employees.

 

© 2015 The Canadian Press