House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:50 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I make no claim to fully understand the intentions behind the bill, but I know that in the present situation the workers are indeed trying to defend their pensions, their wages and their needs. For them, it is very important to be able to have access to these tools.

When we look at the Supreme Court’s decision, we can clearly see that it underscores that workers must have the right to organize and the ability to work with the tools at their disposal. The bill now being studied will prevent postal workers from doing this. That is why the NDP is opposed to it.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:50 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Madam Speaker, I find the decorum in the House at this moment is preferable to what it was earlier this evening, and I hope we can continue in this way for the rest of this debate. We owe it to Canadians to show one another respect and to show them we are serious about getting to the root of this problem that is affecting a wide range of, if not all, Canadians in this country.

For me, Canada is the greatest democracy in the world. I think we are a model for democracies, both established and western industrialized nations, but also emerging democracies. I think the way we perform in this House, the way we respect one another and debate back and forth, is a message that we send not just to Canadians but around the world.

I am new to this House, but sometimes I am quite disappointed in what I see here. I hope we can return to positive debate and to being respectful of one another.

In terms of this issue, from my perspective we are facing a regular policy problem. It is a large problem, a national problem, but it is still just an issue of public policy, so it is perhaps best to approach it this way.

To solve any public policy problem we have to understand the root of its causes. We have to come to grips with the problem we are facing, especially when it is government. We have to say we have taken a critical look at it and we understand what the problem is, and we have to explore a number of options and pick the one which is going to best solve it.

I have been sitting in this House for hour upon hour, and I have heard eloquent speeches and good questions on both sides of the House. The facts seem to be that we have a crown corporation that is critical to the well-being of Canada and that has locked out its employees. That does seem to be the problem at hand. The problem for the government is how we address this.

I will admit that the other side has made some good points. It has said that the lockout may have been prompted by an ongoing labour dispute, that it may have been prompted by what has been described as a series of relatively harmless rotating strikes. But now we have a lockout. It is important to keep this in chronological order. We have a dispute. We have rotating strikes. Now we have a lockout. That is the problem for the government to address.

Members can dispute my position because I am a member of the NDP and the opposition. However, I do not think the evidence and the other sources backing up this claim can be disputed.

The CBC, a national broadcaster of international reputation in radio and television, calls it a lockout. CTV calls it a lockout. Every article that has been written about this in the Globe and Mail calls this situation a lockout. Global TV calls it a lockout, and my favourite morning reading, National Post, also calls it a lockout.

If members do not believe our national media, they can look at the international media. When we are checking our stock options in the morning, we might look at Bloomberg. It says it is a lockout. Probably one of the most irrefutable sources in the world for quality news, the New York Times--

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:55 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please.

On a point of order, the hon. Minister of State.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:55 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I apologize for interrupting my colleague, but I wonder if you could clarify this. About 12 hours ago the member was giving a speech, and I was in the House. I believe it is almost exactly the same speech.

I wonder if the Chair would confirm whether members are allowed to give the same speech over again. I know they want to filibuster, and I am okay with that, but I need some clarification.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:55 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I thank the hon. member for his comments. Without the blues I am not in a position to determine if that was the case. I am sure the hon. member will consider your comments.

On the same point of order, the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:55 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, on Thursday, in question period, the industry minister read the same prepared response five times consecutively in the House. I am certain the Conservatives cannot give us any lessons on--

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:55 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I believe we are getting into debate. I will ask the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas to pursue his comments.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:55 a.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I suggest, when we look at these sources, the fact is irrefutable that we are facing a lockout, that the government is facing a lockout, and that is its public policy problem that it has to deal with.

It is critical to recognize the policy problem, because until we recognize what that is, we are not going to be able to solve it. As with any medical disease, we have to understand what we are dealing with before we solve it. I can guarantee that I have a little bit extra that the members opposite may be interested in. Here are some policy alternatives. I will start with what is least intrusive into the homes and lives of Canadians.

The least intrusive measure that the government could pursue is to leave the parties alone and let them work out this labour dispute themselves. The government could stay out of it.

The second measure could be, as the government did in 2008, to get a blue ribbon panel together and let it look at the situation to say, “We have a better solution for this; we think we can help to solve this”.

A third measure, if the lockout is due to lack of revenue, would be to allow Canada Post, for example, to increase its postage rates.

The fourth thing we could do would be to provide more tax revenue to Canada Post. If it is indeed in so much trouble that it has to lock out its employees because it is bankrupt, we should consider increasing tax revenue.

Another option that has not been considered by the government to deal with this lockout would be to place Canada Post under the direct control of the minister. That has been done in the past. I am sure it will be done in the future. It is an option that the government could pursue.

The final and most dramatic option the government could take to resolve this lockout would be to fire the management, to replace the management if Canada Post is making enough revenue in the corporation. From what I can see in the Canada Post 2009 annual report, the corporation has had 15 consecutive years of profitability. It does not seem that to be facing a profit shortage, so it must be managerial incompetence—

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:55 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I regret to interrupt the member.

On a point of order, the hon. member for Kenora.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2:55 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Madam Speaker, I apologize to the member for the interruption because he was speaking.

I have a concern in tonight's debate and I have let it go as long as I could. I am actually referring to pages 612 and 613 in the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, O'Brien and Bosc, concerning displays, exhibits and props:

Speakers have consistently ruled out of order displays or demonstrations of any kind used by Members to illustrate their remarks or emphasize their positions.

I have been a member in the House for two and a half years and I can say that fairly, whether it has been the Olympics or some cause usually centred on a statement in the House, there has been discretion on the part of the Speaker to permit and tolerate it. To a certain extent I even applauded a more neutral kind of exhibit that promoted civility in this House which, as is known by all, I firmly support.

That said, there has been a real problem over the past couple of days and heading into further debate. There are members in the House right now who are wearing blue buttons that actually have CUPW printed on them. I guess the members support CUPW.

The thrust, intellectually and as a practical matter and as a matter of the substance of their debates, is to stake out a position for these specific persons. That is simply not permitted. In fact, the rules point out that these props, specifically those on their lapels, are not permitted.

The fact is that the members are representing constituents who may not agree with the particular position of members. Certainly if one checks any number of sources one would find, as the member said in his speech, there are people on both sides of this debate. It appears that the majority of folks want this legislation in place, but that said, this is unfair to their constituents. I have members of this particular organized labour group in my riding, but I do not think it is appropriate that I make representations specific to them in this House, because in my constituency there are also small business persons and first nations people living in isolated communities who are not getting their mail. There are a host of different reasons why I cannot make representations on my person for a constituent's explicit or specific benefit.

I am asking, with the greatest of respect, that the Speaker rule on this. These buttons are more than explicit and stake out a claim and appreciably advertise whose position is being taken by members. I will let future electors decide whether they think that was a good idea at the time. It is very clear who the members represent and who they are supporting in this particular argument.

For these reasons I am asking the Speaker to make a ruling and I hope it will be found that these particular buttons, in the host of ones we have seen certainly over the past couple of years, are inappropriate and out of order and that they will be removed.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 3 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Madam Speaker, with all due respect, I have two things to say.

First, we are beginning to see another sort of filibuster. If you let them speak this long on a point of order, it amounts to a second filibuster. That may be part of the strategy.

Second, I do not see why we should not have the right to wear a button when we have the right to wear a ribbon on special days. I think this is a spurious debate and not a point of order.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 3:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. If you do rule, Madam Speaker, I ask that you take into consideration the many times that I have personally worn various ribbons. I have worn them for the cancer society, for Alzheimer's disease, for dementia. I have also worn the prostrate cancer tie.

There were some members of the Conservative Party who supported the Vancouver Canucks in their recent hockey games, and I give them credit for that, even though some of my constituents are Boston Bruins fans or Montreal Canadiens fans. There are all types of fans. Did I wear a hockey sweater to indicate my preference for the Montreal Canadiens or over another team? No, I did not.

If you do rule, Madam Speaker, I ask that you go to the historical nature of what we are doing here and understand that what we are wearing is small and respectful. It is an honourable thing for all of us to do in support of the workers of this country.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 3:05 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

On the same point of order, Madam Speaker, I am certain you would be able to see through that. Clearly, those are honourable things to do, and we are not debating those issues.

The issue is that members opposite came to Ottawa to fix an apparently broken Ottawa, and they are wearing a prop in complete violation of the rules.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 2011 / 3:05 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Denise Savoie

I have heard enough comments, unless there are new arguments to bring to this point of order.

The hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act
Government Orders

June 25th, 3:05 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to point out that there are a lot of precedents on this matter.

In 2006, we Conservatives had run on lowering the GST. Shortly after having been elected, we wore blue buttons that spoke about lowering the GST. We had a button that said “7% to 6% to 5%”. We had another one that said to cut the GST. They were ruled out of order and we had to remove those buttons.

We are simply asking for the same application of the rules and procedures here tonight.