This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was post.

Topics

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to what my colleague from Quebec had to say. I myself practised labour law for more than 20 years, acting on behalf of both employers and unions.

We are luckier in Quebec than people in the rest of Canada because we have laws that clearly protect the right to negotiate and the power relationship between the parties. As everyone knows, what counts in negotiations is this famous power relationship.

What I find very tiring and what will help me feel very comfortable in voting against this bill forcing a return to work is the fact that they are completely changing the power relationship and infusing everything with this argument about the economic recovery. What I find very tiring is that they are not giving the parties a chance to arrive at a real negotiated agreement. I want to review the timeline of these events. Just last June 2—not two or three years ago—there were some rotating strikes, but most Canadians in contact with me did not even know because the union was careful to deliver the mail. On June 14, Canada Post claimed it had suffered financial losses of $70 million since June 3.

In reply, though, to a question from journalists, the labour minister said that return to work legislation was unnecessary for Canada Post because these were rotating strikes. On the evening of June 14, Canada Post declared a national lockout, and the morning of June 15, the minister said she had received very few complaints about the rotating strikes at Canada Post. Is there someone on the other side of the House who can tell me what changed so much over the space of three hours?

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Gatineau for her question.

I would like to remind her, as I said in my speech, that this dispute has been bogged down for more than eight months and our Minister of Labour has made every effort since January to get conciliation and mediation processes going. Even so, we find ourselves in a situation where Canada is paralyzed by a postal strike.

I would like to quote an email I received from a businessman late this morning. He too spoke about the rights and responsibilities we have as parliamentarians toward the people we represent. This is what he said:

What are you doing about the rights of small and medium-sized businesses that are waiting for payments mailed to them by customers? Who will pay the charge for exceeding my credit line? Who will protect the rights of my 32 employees who are facing financial danger because we have not received our payments from customers and the bank might cancel our credit facility?

We also have a responsibility as parliamentarians to protect the rights and responsibilities of people who are waiting for postal service to resume.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs for the good work he does for Canadian veterans.

This debate is really about our constituents. I received a letter from one of my constituents named Anne, who stated:

This whole situation has been an nightmare for our Chilliwack family. My husband delivers parcels for a group who are subcontracted to Canada Post, and since the lock out, he too has been locked out and had no work....We have two Elementary school age children, and find it hard to make ends meet as it is. So far my husband has already lost a week's worth of wages, which we depend on...

This is just one family in my riding that has already lost a week of wages because of this dispute. Could the minister explain the urgency of acting quickly to ensure this is not repeated across the country?

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon for his question and also congratulate him on his election to this House. I hope that he has a brilliant career, just like his father.

The hon. member is completely right. Across Canada, whether back home in Bellechasse and Les Etchemins, in Lévis, or British Columbia, folks expect this House to live up to its responsibilities. It is clear that the bargaining process is getting bogged down. Several million dollars are lost every week. What is most damaging right now is that people are leaving Canada Post behind. We want a strong postal service in Canada, and yet with every day, the long-term interests of Canada Post are being jeopardized. We want to give Canada Post—its workers and its management—an opportunity to resume service. That is why we need this bill.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to know if the member will at least take note of or recognize that the root cause of the labour dispute, the impasse we are debating today, finds its origins in the fact that successive federal governments have used Canada Post as a cash cow and have demanded dividends from it in terms of hundreds of millions of dollars of dividends that go into general revenue.

There would be no shortfall in the pension plan of the workers of Canada Post if the Government of Canada was not harvesting revenue. The mandate of Canada Post is supposed to be to deliver mail to a maximum number of Canadians for the least amount of money, not to generate revenue for the government.

The government, in imposing this back to work legislation, is adding insult to injury in that it is the root cause for the impasse because it is gouging Canada Post of all this revenue and milking it like a cash cow instead of putting it into delivering mail.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that the role of this House is not to play negotiator, to take sides, or to get behind management or labour. The role of this House is to meet its responsibilities in a dispute that has been bogged down for over eight months and is preventing people from having access to a quality postal service.

What I can tell the hon. member is that salary increases are provided for in this document. It is crucial that an arbitrator be appointed, who will opt wisely for the most beneficial proposal. That will be his role. Our role is to live up to our responsibilities and put an end to this labour dispute under the leadership of our Minister of Labour.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is my 11th year here and that is one of the funniest things I have heard during my time here; that the government did not take sides in this legislation. I did not hear the knock-knock before, but that was a funny thing.

It is egregious that the government set out parameters around the salaries. That was wrong in this case. It is very rare to see this in legislation. How did the government arrive at salaries that were lower than what was on the table for the workers in the first place? Canada Post made an offer, but the government felt obliged to offer the workers less in the legislation. What drove the government to make that decision?

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

An arbitrator will decide between the proposals submitted to him: one by management, the other by labour. The arbitrator will then make a well-informed decision.

I remind members that we found ourselves in a similar situation in 1997. A bill was passed at the time, which brought pressure to bear and ensured that a negotiated solution was reached. We strongly hope that the parties are able to reach an agreement and that a negotiated solution can be found. But one thing is certain, we will not allow Canada’s economy to be paralyzed by a dispute between management and labour.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Before we continue, I will let the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour know that I will be interrupting his initial speech at around 2 p.m. for statements by members.

The hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that in the interventions by members opposite, we have had examples provided to the House of their constituents and of small businesses harmed by the decision of Canada Post to lock out its employees. By bringing this legislation to the floor, what the Conservatives have done is bring the hammer down on the employees. I do not understand the logic to that.

Why did the Conservatives not bring legislation in to end the lock-out, perhaps, or to fire every one of the senior executives of Canada Post for having imposed that kind of hardship on the citizens of our country? If they have such evidence of the harm that Canada Post has done to the citizens and small businesses of our country, why have they come down on the backs of the people who actually do the work for Canada Post?

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services LegislationGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member will have 19 minutes left to conclude his speech after question period.

Students in the Riding of Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-ChaudièreStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, Sunday evening, I had the privilege and honour to be with some young graduates from Charny and their families.

Again this year, active and dynamic students in Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière are reaping the rewards of their efforts as they receive their Secondary 5 diploma.

They are undoubtedly destined for success, since our region will be needing many more people in the labour force in the years to come. For some of them, their diploma will give them access to the labour market; for others, it will lead them to vocational or college programs. Each of them is a proud member of the next generation in a field that will excite them and will lead them to actively participate in our society.

I wish all of the graduates in Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière success and I encourage you to follow your dreams!

Infrastructure ProjectsStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, when I attended the NDP convention in Vancouver, I travelled on the SkyTrain, an efficient and non-polluting method of transportation that is the envy of many Montrealers, who are still waiting for a shuttle like that to connect the airport with downtown. Montrealers deserve to also have this kind of public transit incorporated into infrastructure projects like the bridges spanning the St. Lawrence River.

At present, the partial closing of the Mercier Bridge has literally imprisoned residents of my riding of LaSalle—Émard.

I hope that this government will demonstrate leadership when it comes to infrastructure projects and that, in cooperation with the government of Quebec, we will be able to provide alternatives worthy of the 21st century.

As science and technology critic for the official opposition, I will consider it my duty to ensure that we achieve these objectives.

HockeyStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, today it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the Ontario Hockey League champion Owen Sound Attack on its spectacular season. Our boys finished the regular season with a franchise record of 47 wins.

The Attack players had an outstanding playoff season. First they manhandled the London Knights, trampled the Plymouth Whalers and outclassed the 2010 Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires. Then they defeated the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in a dramatic come-from-behind overtime win in game seven. This earned them the title of OHL champions and secured them a spot at the Memorial Cup.

To top off a successful season, coach Mark Reeds was named the OHL coach of the year and Dale DeGray was named the OHL executive of the year. Congratulations to both of them.

The Attack have by far the best fan support in the OHL. I have been a fan and a proud supporter of the Owen Sound Attack from the beginning. I can hardly wait for next season to start. Go Attack go.

University of Prince Edward IslandStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to acknowledge the University of Prince Edward Island's outgoing president, Wade MacLauchlan.

Mr. MacLauchlan has been president of UPEI for 12 years and in that time frame he has transformed the university and in so doing enriched our community.

More than $70 million has been donated to the university since Mr. MacLauchlan took office in 1999, a tremendous sum for a smaller university.

His other achievements include seeing UPEI rated tops among all universities in Canada for growth in research, realizing a 40% increase in student enrolment, and securing substantial new investment into buildings and programs.

Wade will be ending his term next month, a poignant moment for both the UPEI community and for him. A proud native islander, Wade has effected very real, permanent and positive change to Prince Edward Island.

On behalf of the constituents in my riding of Charlottetown, I am proud and grateful to recognize and thank Mr. Wade MacLauchlan for his hard work, dedication and love for Prince Edward Island and its university.

Stephen Leacock Memorial MedalStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, June 11, the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour was presented at a gala reception at the YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre near the city of Orillia in my riding.

Each year the Leacock Medal is awarded for the most humourous book published in Canada the previous year. Its winners have included literary icons like Farley Mowat and W.O. Mitchell and contemporary humorists like Terry Fallis and Will Ferguson.

This year, the Leacock Associates have awarded the medal and its $15,000 prize, courtesy of TD Bank Financial Group, to Trevor Cole of Hamilton, Ontario for his recent book, Practical Jean.

I invite members to join in congratulating Mr. Cole for this great achievement. He brings us a work that recalls Leacock's own words on the subject, “Humour is essentially a comforter, reconciling us to things as they are in contrast to things as they might be”.

I congratulate Trevor.

World Choral FestivalStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this first occasion I have had to rise in the House, I want to thank the voters in the riding of Alfred-Pellan for placing their trust in me. Thank you to all the volunteers, citizens, friends and family members who put their shoulders to the wheel during the election campaign.

Quebeckers spoke and they chose the NDP to represent them in Parliament. I will work tirelessly to represent their interests and the interests of all Canadians.

Since June 17, all of Laval Island has been moving to the beat of the music of the World Choral Festival. Created by Gregory Charles, this internationally known festival is now in its seventh season.

The vocal ensemble À ContreVoix can be heard next Saturday in the chapel of the Soeurs missionnaires de l'Immaculée-conception in Vimont, and it will be quite a show.

Best of luck to the 2011 edition of the World Choral Festival!

Hunting, Trapping and FishingStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to advise all members of my intention to introduce a private member's bill that would establish a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

Many of my hon. colleagues will recall that in the past I have attempted to pass such a bill twice. Mostly recently, in the 40th Parliament, Bill C-465, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, died on the order paper in the Senate after being passed by this House and referred to the appropriate Senate committee.

Hunting, trapping and fishing are some of the oldest practices in Canadian society, from the first nations to the coureur des bois, and the Inuit peoples of our north, hunting, trapping and fishing have played a vital role in the sustainability of past and present communities.

This bill would give Canadians a day to honour those who have contributed so greatly to our society, history and economy.

I would encourage all of my hon. colleagues to support my bill when it is introduced here for a third time.

International Indian Film Academy AwardsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, the International Indian Film Academy Awards come to Canada this week. The IIFA awards will showcase Indian culture and cinema, with Bollywood stars.

Being held for the first time in North America, the show is expected to be seen by a billion people worldwide.

Canada is the home to a vibrant, over one million strong Indo-Canadian community that plays a vital role in economic and cultural landscape. Under our government, Canada and India enjoy excellent bilateral creative relations and are further strengthening ties across a wide range of sectors, including education, energy, science and technology, culture, agriculture and the environment.

The IIFA awards are an excellent opportunity to reflect on the tremendous contributions that the Indian diaspora have made to our country's rich and diverse heritage.

I ask all members to please join with me in extending best wishes to IIFA for a successful and entertaining event.

National Aboriginal DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Tremblay NDP Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the people of Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord for placing their trust in me on May 2. I promise them that I will do my very best and that I will fight the undemocratic practices of previous governments and those of the current government in particular.

The dukes and duchesses of the Conservative carnival are so good at reading the lines that are dictated to them from on high that they forget that they are responsible for representing their constituents, a mistake that I will not make. It is time to give power back to the people and repair the image of our elected officials in Ottawa.

On this National Aboriginal Day, let us resolve to represent all the people. The current government and its predecessors seem to purposely forget that the greatest poverty in the world can be found on our native reserves.

I extend my hand to the government and urge it to work with and listen to the members who received another clear mandate on May 2, the mandate for change and non-partisan politics.

Stanley CupStatements by Members

June 21st, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a young man from South Shore—St. Margaret's, a hockey hero, and a Stanley Cup winner, Brad Marchand.

I had intended to get on the record earlier but, frankly, all my colleagues from British Columbia had used up all the oxygen in this place bragging up Vancouver.

I do recognize a great effort by the second place team in the league but in Nova Scotia and, in particular, in South Shore—St. Margaret's, the Boston Bruins are number one.

Brad Marchand's career includes two gold medals for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships and now, at 23, he has a Stanley Cup ring.

I congratulate Brad and his family.

The only this could have been any better is if Glen Murray, another Boston Bruins player from South Shore—St. Margaret's, had not retired. Then, we would have had the Stanley Cup visiting in two communities in South Shore—St. Margaret's, not just one.

National Aboriginal DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank my constituents, the people of Louis-Saint-Laurent, who have entrusted me with the mandate to represent them in the House of Commons.

Today, June 21, is National Aboriginal Day, a day to celebrate the cultures, heritage and important contributions of first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples to Canadian society. I would like to say a special hello to the Innu, Attikamek and Naskapi people who live in my riding and, of course, to the Wendat people, since the riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent is home to the only Wendat community in Canada.

I would also like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to come to the beautiful, natural amphitheatre in Wendake, where a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, directed by Robert Lepage and portraying relationships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people, will run from July 1 to 30.

Yelena BonnerStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in tribute to a woman of outstanding dignity and courage. Yelena Bonner was one of the leading advocates for human rights in cold war era U.S.S.R..

Risking her own well-being to further the human rights cause, she fought fiercely for the fundamental freedoms and rights that so many people around the world still demand.

Ms. Bonner was married to Nobel Peace Price winner Andrei Zakharov. When he was sent into exile for his activism, it was Ms. Bonner who made sure his writings were published.

Arrested and exiled herself in the mid-1980s, she later made it to the United States where she passed away this past weekend after a long illness. She was 88 years old.

Ms. Bonner was an outspoken critic of the Stalinist system and the regimes of Communist Russia. She worked tirelessly for reform and, until the end, advocated changes in Russia that would put people first.

I would like to convey on behalf of all hon. members and all Canadian our condolences to Ms. Bonner's children and our sincere expression of continuing respect for her work.

National Aboriginal DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I join with my colleagues in celebrating National Aboriginal Day.

As we honour and celebrate the contributions of aboriginal peoples from coast to coast to coast, we must also remember that much work remains to be done in order to achieve a more prosperous, healthy and sustainable future for first nations, Inuit and Métis communities across the country.

We must commit not only in word, but also in deed by actively co-operating with the first nations to promote their success.

The universal provision of adequate housing, safe drinking water and educational opportunities for first nations, Inuit and Métis, this is the standard that the Government of Canada must be measured against.

National Aboriginal Day is an occasion to celebrate and to reaffirm our commitment to equality and to closing the gap in health status, the true measurement of success.

Canada DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to take note of the work that goes on every day in Canadian embassies and consulates around the world to promote Canada and our international interests.

Canada Day is a perfect opportunity to remind our many international partners and friends of the contribution that Canada makes to global security as well as global trade and the great example we provide as a stable and growing economy.

In cities across the world, our representatives will be working to raise awareness of Canada and all it offers as we celebrate our 144th birthday.

In New York city, for example, on June 30 and July 1, the Empire State Building will shine in red and white, reminding our neighbour that Canada is a reliable and strong partner in trade, security and energy. Lighting the Empire State Building is one of the many ways that our representatives are raising awareness of Canada's valuable presence in the world.

For all of us at home and for all our representatives from New Delhi to Moscow, from Beijing to Washington, Canada Day celebrations will be an opportunity to reflect on how blessed we are and highlight to the world this great country, Canada.