Madam Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the people in my riding of LaSalle—Émard and tell them how it feels to be away from my riding to discuss issues that are very dear to me. I would imagine that every member in the House feels the same way. I want to repeat how incredibly proud I am to be part of a team that is standing up to protect the fundamental rights of workers.
The legislation put forward by the government, Bill C-6, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services, could, in the short term, achieve the goal of getting postal service back on track. But the long-term impacts of passing this legislation are still unknown. The reason the members of the official opposition are so vehemently opposed to this bill is that they believe it will have far-reaching long-term consequences.
What bothers me about this bill is that the conditions of the new collective agreement have been decided in advance. The government is putting shackles not only on the workers, but also on the employer and on the arbitrator who will have to decide the matter. What worries me about this bill are the long-term effects of the conditions being imposed, a concern that has been raised articulately and exhaustively by my colleagues. The conditions being imposed will lead to reduced incomes and a lower standard of living for the middle class. And that includes working conditions and future pension benefits.
In the long term, this measure will jeopardize the economic recovery that is so important to the current government, as well as Canada's future economic stability. Even more troubling is the fact that this lockout and this bill will only serve to poison labour-management relations. These conditions create a two-tier system of new hires versus existing employees, something that goes against the values of fairness that Canadians hold so dear.
Canada Post is part of our daily lives. It is a public service that ensures mail delivery to every community across this beautiful and vast nation of ours. Unfortunately, the lockout and Bill C-6 send mixed messages. The job actions taken by Canada Post management—service interruption on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the lockout—were a draconian response to the rotating strikes initiated previously. The government responded by introducing Bill C-6.
What message is the government sending to Canadians? First of all, they are being subjected to the effects of a lockout, and small and medium-size businesses are suffering financially. Unfortunately, the long-term impact of this government's actions will be the erosion of the very notion of public service. Why do we need public services like Canada Post? Because they provide an affordable service that meets the needs of all Canadians, regardless of where they live across the country, from coast to coast, from the far north to the south.
The Public Service is also a large employer, one that offers interesting working conditions for its employees and provides them with a standard of living such that they can help the country's economy to flourish. It is also important for us to remember that as Members of Parliament, we are part of the Public Service, in that we serve all Canadians, regardless of where they live.
I am disturbed by the fact that this government is trying to turn us into a society where the legitimate right to collective bargaining to secure attractive working conditions will be denied and where collective rights will take a back seat to economic interests.
I am proud to be part of a team that stands united in its opposition to Bill C-6, which threatens the right to freely negotiate a collective agreement.