House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mines.

Topics

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, strike in 1987, legislation; strike in 1991, legislation. Now we have a strike in 1997. The cost is thousands of layoffs with Christmas coming, a one hundred million dollar a day cost to business, an erosion of Canada Post Corporation and the ultimate loss of jobs for CUPW.

How many strikes is it going to take before this government recognizes the need to protect Canada's 30 million people and bring in a permanent no strike, no lockout solution to Canada Post disputes?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated previously to the House, I am bringing in legislation to bring Part I of the Canada Labour Code up to date.

There were consultations over the last two years and one thing that neither labour nor management pushed for was to take the collective bargaining rights away.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister was firmly opposed to special legislation to force people back to work at Canada Post. He said, and I quote:

—there is a strike because the Parliament of Canada has given the right to strike to this union. That is in the law and we have to respect the law of the land by giving the two parties a chance to find a negotiated settlement.

Yesterday, however, the minister responsible for Canada Post was talking about bringing in special legislation.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister tell us whether the government will go with the Prime Minister's option of respecting the bargaining process, or that of the minister responsible for Canada Post, who spends his time threatening special legislation?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague is well aware, I have not indicated anything about back to work legislation.

What I have tried to do is let the system work. I ask my hon. colleague to do the same, to let them get back to the table and come up with an agreement that will be better for all Canadians.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would really like to believe the Minister of Labour, but the fact is that his colleague, the minister responsible for Canada Post, has constantly brandished the threat of special legislation.

I ask the minister responsible for Canada Post if he realizes that, by his actions, he has hurt negotiations, which could lead directly to an impasse.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, there are many things stated during negotiations but, quite simply, we have a process in this country. Under Part I of the code, it is my responsibility to see that the process is let work.

There are a number of stages in the process and that is what we are going through. Let the system work.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, since August we have known that the situation at Canada Post would worsen, because the minister responsible accidently announced his plan for a special bill, long before the employees decided to strike.

Does the government not realize that it is entirely responsible for the mess Canada Post is in for having taken two different positions, with the Minister of Labour saying he wanted negotiations to take their course and the minister responsible for Canada Post promising special legislation for the past three months?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated previously, I have offered the services of a mediator to both parties to let them get back to the table and come up with an agreement. Why not let CUPW and the post office use a mediator and come up with an agreement that will be better for all Canadians?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, did the minister not simply serve postal employees up to Canada Post Corporation with a promise from the start to deprive them early on of their right to strike with special legislation?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I have made no promises. All I have done is agree to follow the law of this country, and Part I of the Canada Labour Code happens to be part of the law of this country. I am going to see that it is followed. There are a number of stages. We are in this stage at the moment.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Labour was promoting a negotiated solution to the dispute at Canada Post. He even acknowledged that back to work legislation would hinder negotiations. However, the minister responsible for Canada Post is now threatening to impose special legislation.

Why does the minister want to sabotage negotiations rather then allow the talks to take their course?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, if there is anyone who did not sabotage the negotiations it is I. I made sure that the collective bargaining system had a chance to work in this country. I made sure that we followed the laws of this country and I am going to make sure that we do follow the laws of this country.

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, now we are seeing the good cop and the bad cop routine being played out on the floor of the House of Commons.

The labour minister was told earlier today that without government meddling Canada Post and its employees could reach an agreement within 72 hours. Earlier in question period this minister acknowledged that without interference the parties could negotiate an agreement.

Will the labour minister reaffirm his commitment to a negotiated settlement by insisting that the planned back to work legislation be put on ice?

Canada Post
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is the one who is bringing up the subject of back to work legislation. What I have indicated is that I offered the services of a mediator from the labour program. What I am trying to do is assist the process. I am trying to assist CUPW and the post office to come to a collective agreement.

We should let them do their work. We should let the mediator do his work.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

November 24th, 1997 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Dubé Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government announced on Friday that it would be reducing EI premiums by only 20 cents, from $2.90 to $2.70.

Business leaders all over the country agree that EI premiums could be reduced by 60 cents to 70 cents. Even the actuary for the EI account says the fund could be sustained if premiums were reduced by 90 cents.

Why did the Minister of Human Resources Development choose to put the interests of the Minister of Finance ahead of giving Canadians the tax relief they need, especially in view of the $11 billion tax hike—