Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question because the issue of final offer selection has been raised as a possible solution for this impasse and others.
I have quite a bit of close personal knowledge of final offer selection. I have actually used it in my own negotiations. It was law in the province of Manitoba for a number of years. It was chucked out by the Tories when they got in. They thought it was weighted too much in favour of the union, which was not really true.
The thing one really needs to know about final offer selection is that it is not very effective unless both parties stipulate themselves to it, that both parties are willing participants. In other words we cannot legislate final offer selection by telling them they are going to settle their impasse by final offer. That puts a disadvantage.
It is also very difficult to use final offer selection for complicated matters other than strictly monetary issues. For instance, if rules of work or the organization of the workplace have some part in the impasse or the strike which is taking place, then it is very difficult because we cannot weigh apples to apples. When one party is asking for a 5% raise and the other one wants the washroom moved closer to the lunch room, how do we compare those two and how does the arbitrator make a selection?
Suppose it is Roger Maris dealing with his baseball team. Final offer selection originated with pro ball. If it is only about money and the company is offering $1 million and the player wants a $1.5 million, the arbitrator does not have that difficult a time. Both parties then try to temper their demands with reason, one would hope, and get closer to the centre until they are not that far part so that there are no real losers.
Those are my comments on final offer selection. It has its place. There is nothing precluding people from using it now if both parties stipulate themselves to it.