Law enforcement is a critical shield against unlawful labour disruptions that can undermine employee rights and property rights. The experience of last year’s blockade at the Port of Vancouver exposed the vulnerability of employees and others who were restricted from working due to illegal job actions. Law enforcement agencies at the time adopted a non-intervention approach.
The possible threat of another unlawful labour disruption spurred the Coalition to take some proactive and preventative measures.
The Coalition convened a meeting of interested businesses and associations to forge a common policy position and to develop a strategy to compel governments and police agencies to enforce the Criminal Code and not stand on the sidelines when property is damaged and employees are threatened with violence. Information-exchange meetings were held with the provincial Attorney General, Solicitor General and the RCMP Labour Liaison.
The Coalition respects the right of unionized workers to engage in lawful strikes or legal means of protesting or disseminating information, and also respects the rights of owner-operators (or other small sub-contractors for that matter) to withdraw their services for whatever reason, subject only to contract law. When laws are broken, however, the Coalition and other British Columbians expect police to protect employee rights and property rights.
The Coalition is monitoring developments at the ports and working with provincial and municipal authorities and police agencies to develop a reasoned policy approach that enhances the rule of law.