These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Grain Handlers Walk Out

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the walkout of grain handlers at the port of Vancouver has been going on for over two months. Now picket lines at Prince Rupert have completely shut down the movement of grain out of the west coast. Due to the drought, this is one of the worst years that farmers in western Canada have ever had. Now the government will not even ensure that their meagre grain crops can be shipped to customers.

Why will the government not help powerless farmers caught in the middle of this dispute?

Hon. Claudette Bradshaw (Minister of Labour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am quite concerned about the dispute and the farmers. On this side of the House, I had a meeting with several ministers today on that account.

Our conciliators are meeting with both sides. We urge both sides to go the table so they can create a good collective agreement. That is what democracy is all about.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, is this situation not just hunky-dory? We have farmers who are locked up and grain workers who are locked out.

Farmers cannot afford to have the Prince Rupert port closed down. Producers view this lack of action as just one more example of the government's inattention and disregard for western Canadian farmers.

When will this member of the government step in and use final offer arbitration as a means of solving this dispute?