Danielle Smith says parliament must return to end B.C. port strike

Alberta’s premier is calling on parliament to reconvene and bring in back-to-work legislation to end the B.C. port workers strike.

Danielle Smith is meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday and says she’ll be bringing up the subject if the strike isn’t over by then.

“Parliament isn’t scheduled to return until September, and from what I’ve seen, the two parties seem to be moving further away rather than closer together,” she said at an announcement on Tsuut’ina Nation Wednesday. “This would be devastating for Alberta.

“Alberta had, as I understand, in 2021, $12.4 billion of goods go through British Columbia ports.”

More than 7,000 dockworkers walked off the job Saturday before negotiations over wages, automation, and contracting out hit a deadlock.

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Smith says Ottawa needs to act.

“Our request has been that parliament needs to return to end this and to order people back to work. It is an essential service and it is massively disruptive to our economy and the economy of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan has also weighed in,” she said.

“So there’ll be some conversations over the coming days. But, this can’t drag on for weeks or months — we need a resolution.”

Many industry groups have said something similar.

The head of the Canadians Manufacturers and Exporters Trade Groups says the strike will hurt small and medium-sized businesses more, since they have fewer resources and less leverage to lean on.

Rail company Canadian Pacific Kansas City is also calling for a swift resolution to the job action.

The major North American Railway has placed “temporary embargoes” on export traffic to the port of Vancouver while the strike is on.

The west coast ports handle 16 per cent of the country’s total traded goods.

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