Mr. Speaker, the question of Canada Post is of great importance to me. I have a mixed constituency of suburban and rural residents who value the mail service, though they are increasingly part of the worldwide trend toward electronic forms of communication.
I find it interesting that the NDP has taken a sudden interest in the well-being of Canada Post customers, because it was the NDP that supported the union drive that ultimately led to a work stoppage and declining use of Canada Post by Canadians.
Within that corporation we have one of the most radical unions in the entire country, a union that, at a time the corporation is losing money and is forced to make difficult decisions, demands that it receive funds from the corporation, owned by the Canadian people, to travel down to a Brazilian beach town to attend a conference that, among other things, promoted the release of a convicted and confessed murderer from the Middle East. I do not know what the link is between a conference in Brazil on liberating a confessed murderer from the Middle East and the services the Canadian people receive in their mailboxes.
I also realize that in this increasingly competitive world of communications, Canada Post must run a focused operation or face a whole series of very unpleasant decisions. That is exactly what we have to demand of that corporation if we want it to be viable and avoid it having to impose major costs on Canadian taxpayers, who are its owners.
Unfortunately, this union has made it next to impossible for the company to operate in a competitive fashion. It has imposed stifling demands and made it difficult for workers to perform to their highest potential. Moreover, the costs that this union imposes on Canada Post are passed on either to its customers or the taxpayers who, it turns out, are the very same people.
If is to continue to favour the costly and unaffordable demands of union bosses, the NDP must decide where it will get the money from, because Canada Post does not have billions of extra dollars sitting around waiting to be spent. In particular, if the member across wants to make new demands for service, which will inevitably come with new expenses, she will have to indicate from whence that money will come. Will taxpayers need to pay a bigger subsidy through higher taxes? Will customers be forced to pay higher fees for stamps? Will Canadians who use the postal service have to make some other sacrifice? I do not know because I am not the one making the proposals that the NDP and the union bosses consistently put forward.
My view is that we need a competitive postal system that operates within its means and respects the workers who do the job, the taxpayers who own the company, and the customers for whom the service has always been intended.